Basil, Ocimum basilicum Latin, is a condiment plant native to India and Southeast Asia, cautious, which is grown only in the summer and in the ground or in pots.
This annual plant belonging to the family Labiatae (Lamiaceae or) measuring between 30 and 90 cm high, has a rower stem bears small oval leaves and exudes a scent of nutmeg, anise and clove.
Read : Culture and basil maintenance
Basil: for the record
It goes way back ... the story of basil. The Hebrews used it as antispasmodic when Pliny the Elder recommended him against theepilepsy. For Dioscoride it would calm the pain of scorpion stings.
Later, in the thirteenth century, some conferred on him the virtues against the mania and melancholy. Obviously we were not there to check ... But now?
Basil and its health benefits
Nowadays, it is much more interested in the culinary properties of basil that its medicinal properties. However ...
- Basil is an excellent antispasmodic : Its fragrant infusion is undeniably effective against gastric spasms, colic and flatulence.
- It is used to prevent nausea and vomiting.
- One recognizes him sedative properties So who do recommend against insomnia and anxiety and in case of dizziness and headaches of nervous origin.
- Basil is also a good anti-inflammatory, there is sudorific and aids digestion.
- Finally, basil disinfects ... (Arabs used it as a mouthwash to treat mouth ulcers).
Did you know?
Basil can be used for internal use (infusion) or external (decoction).
Infusion : 3 to 5 grams per cup after each meal. Against spasms, as a digestive and calming.
Decoction 100 grams per liter, gargle against canker sores. Other alternatives: chew the raw leaves of basil.
To push correctly, basil needs a rich, light, well drained humus and above. He can not stand temperatures below 10 ° C and thrives on a hot sunny exposure. If you wish to use fertilizer, you should know that nitrogen fertilizers grow the amount of foliage at the expense of the perfume.
To maintain basil, it is advisable to keep the soil moist at all times but be careful not to wet the leaves, they rot!
To encourage bushy growth, remember to pinch the flowers and shoot tips. One word of warning: if you pinch basil, leave at least two pairs of leaves on the stem because most often, those who are close to the base dry out.
And September, you will stimulate a new growth by folding the half plant.
If you want multiply basil, it happens in March-April, terrine and under heated shelter (18-20 ° C). When the seedlings have two leaves, it's time to transplant basil in pots, before installing it on the outside, under glass or plastic tunnels.
- Read : Cultivate and maintain basil
Species and varieties of basil
There's something for everyone:
- "Balconstar" in tiny green leaves, it forms dense round and stews.
- "Monstrous Mammoth" with giant leaves, very blistered.
- "Lemon Basil" lemon scent.
- 'Purple Ruffles' with purple leaves, toothed, slightly blistered and very fragrant.
- "A lettuce leaves" very large corrugated sheets, scented.
- "Marseille" oval leaves, very fragrant.
- "Green Fin" with narrow leaves and subtle fragrance.
- "Rubin red": dark purple.
Basil in the kitchen
It was in the summer harvest basil is done, over water, as needed. Leaves and young shoots can be used. You can freeze your basil or dry but know that it will lose its flavor.
As for how to taste it ... It is almost at will as you like! Raw, in salads, on tomatoes, fish, pasta, sauces and omelettes. Add it always at the last moment He loses some of its flavor when cooked.
- Read : all our recipes with basil
Basil small leaves is more fragrant. If you want to use in your recipes winter, freeze the leaves, stems and use them to make pistou and which tracks (crushing) basil with garlic and olive oil. This is the best way to store basil: remember that it does not cook!
Some synonyms of "basil" to shine in society ...
"Royal Grass", "herb sauces", "pesto", "balico", "Roman basil", "orange of savatiers".