The Natural Way

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

It's kind of funny how memory works - almost every time I think of the herb basil I remember the old Sherlock Holmes movies. Basil is a terrific herb which you can buy at the grocery store either fresh or dried. You can grow it here very well, too. There are many varieties, but the one I'll describe is Ocimum basilicum. The other varieties should do pretty much the same.

The old herbalists would consider basil to be a stimulant, nervine and aromatic as well as a condiment. Stimulant here does not mean something which jazzes you up, rather something that make the system work better. The old ones would use the leaves as a tea to stop vomiting, reduce gas and restart menstruation. Because it is mildly calming the tea mixed with honey reduces the hacking from bronchitis, yet eliminates mucous. A crushed leaf makes a very good immediate remedy for insect bites and stings when placed directly on the site.

Modern science knows this herb to be high in a chemical called eugenol. The herb is very aromatic and is enjoyable in all of its varieties and forms. I use it often for itches of all sorts and my most favorite salad is tomato, basil and mozzarella with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It's a little bit of gastronomic heaven, thoroughly safe, found in your garden or grocery, good inside, outside for bites and stings, smells great and tastes good, too. Go for it, Basil...

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