Freshly chopped basil elicits wonderful memories of casual al fresco dinners while on vacation in Italy. What is not to love?? As one of the most aromatic and healthy herbs, basil is known and enjoyed the world over. There are more than 150 varieties, each differing in height, colour and taste. Basil is native to India, Asia and parts of Africa with each region having different historical uses. In India it was revered as a symbol of hospitality. From here it was introduced to Europe and it held such symbolic uses as to ensure safe journey for the deceased into the next world. It has also long been known for its medicinal values too. Ancient Romans used basil to remedy poisonings, relieve gas, as a diuretic and also to stimulate breast milk production.
Today, basil is primarily used as a culinary herb. It is such a versatile herb that it’s uses are many. It can be used to make pesto, added to salads, soups, stir fries and pasta. It can also be muddled into beverages or infused into teas.
Nutritionally speaking, basil is one of the healthiest herbs. It is packed with vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin K (which plays a role in blood clotting), vitamin A (which contains the antioxidant beta carotene), iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. Studies have shown basil’s antibacterial properties, DNA protecting flavonoids and ability to reduce sugars and free radicals in the body.
Be inspired and incorporate this delicious leaf into a meal this week!