Ocimum basil, commonly known as basil, is an annual herb that belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. It is a popular culinary herb with a sweet, slightly peppery taste and an aromatic fragrance.
Basil has green, fragrant leaves that are somewhat oval or lance-shaped, and its flowers are usually white or purple.
Basil prefers warm weather and is typically grown as an annual herb. It needs plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil to thrive. The optimal temperature for growing basil is between 70-80°F (21-27°C). Basil can be grown from seeds or cuttings, and it germinates in about 5-10 days. It's important to keep the soil moist during the germination process.
Basil can be harvested when the plant is about 6-8 inches tall. It's best to harvest the leaves in the morning, after the dew has evaporated but before the sun gets too hot. Harvesting the leaves regularly encourages new growth.
Basil is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium.
Basil is commonly used in Italian and Southeast Asian cuisine. It's often added to sauces, soups, salads, and pasta dishes, and it's also used as a garnish.
Basil has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. It may help improve digestion, reduce inflammation, lower stress, and improve heart health.