Become Friends with Basil

Also known as: Ocimum basilicum, Saint Joseph’s Wort

Likes: Warm, sunny days, light and fresh pastas, spicy stir fries

Dislikes: Frost, overwatering

Hobbies: Sun bathing with the other herbs, veggies and flowers in the yard

Find her: In many an Italian or Thai dish, from dressing up a simple Margherita pizza to complementing the fire of chiles in a curry

She’s tall and leafy with a sweet perfume that leaves food lovers and gardeners alike savoring the air with closed eyes and slow deep inhales.  She’s Basil, the timeless herb found in gardens and spice cabinets around the world.  Basil is a cousin to Mint and is most recognizable when she’s dressed in green leaves with white flowers as her “Sweet” self, but she can also be found in various flavors, such as lemon and cinnamon, and colors, such as purple.  She’s native to India and Asia (don’t ask her about her 5,000 year history there….it would be impolite) but, with an eye on the warm climates she loves, she long ago became a staple in Italian food, as well.

You may think that Basil’s just a pretty herb to brighten up your favorite pasta or the garden walkway, but there’s so much more to her than that!  This verdant leafy green herb packs a punch of vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes and magnesium for muscle function.  Some studies have also shown that, like Cilantro and some other garden herbs, her oil may have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.  

So order up your some Thai basil chicken next time you go out or start a plant in your window garden for the freshest of pesto with a side of health benefits any time.