Scientific name: Ocimum basilicum

Basil has been used throughout time for digestive and nervous system issues, from stomach cramps and gas to indigestion, preventing vomiting, and killing intestinal worms. With some sedative properties it’s also been effective treating depression, exhaustion, and much more.


  • Vitamin K, A, C
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Omega 3s
  • Magnesium
  • Volatile oils
  • Flavonoids (protect cell structures from radiation and oxygen-based damage)

Health Benefits

  • Antibacterial properties (due to its volatile oils)
  • Antidepressant
  • Anti-inflammatory: can give symptomatic relief of inflammatory health issues like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions
  • Antiseptic
  • Stimulates the adrenal cortex
  • Prevents vomiting
  • Expectorant
  • Soothes itching

Cooking Tips

Most often used in pesto, this is a fragrant herb used for seasoning foods. Aim for fresh leaves over dried because they’re far more flavorful.

It’s best to add it to your dish near the end (last 5-10 minutes) to retain as many nutrients and flavor as possible.

  • Infuse basil leaves into hot water for 8 minutes for basil tea.
  • Chop fresh leaves with garlic and olive oil and use on pasta and salmon.
  • Puree basil, olive oil, and onions in a food processor and add to tomato soup.

Quick Remedies

(consult a doctor if experiencing any serious conditions)

  • Bug bites: rub fresh leaves on the bites to reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Ringworm and itchy skin: mix basil juice with an equal amount of honey and use as an external wash.
  • Head cold: pour boiling water over fresh leaves and inhale the steam.
  • Exhaustion, mental fatigue, melancholy: add 5-10 drops of an essential oil into a bath.

How to Grow


  • Sensitive to cold
  • Well drained, moist soil; neutral pH
  • Partial to full sun (6 hours per day is best)
  • Grows well in a container near a sunny window
Put em in the ground
  • Plant seeds 6 weeks before the last frost
  • Seedlings will need ground temperature of at least 70 degrees F so at least 2 weeks after the last frost
  • Cuttings will root within one short week when placed in water before the plant flowers. Cut just above where 2 large leaves meet.


  • Add some compost to the soil when planting
  • Harvest only up to 2/3 of the plant
  • Cut directly above where 2 large leaves meet
  • Flowers are edible, but pinch them off if you want more leaves to grow
  • Avoid root rot by keeping in a well drained area or pot
  • Occasionally bothered by aphids, slugs, and Japanese beetles
    • Remove beetles by hand
    • Spray insecticidal soap onto the leaves
    • Neem oil is a natural repellent that may keep many of these pests at bay