Basil is a tender annual that is highly susceptible to cold, so may be best in pots. Its strong aromatic leaves freeze well but loose their flavour when dried. It is a main ingredient for pesto and is good in salads. Basil leaves are rich in an essential oil called estragol. Basil also contains saponines, tannins, flavonoids and a great deal of calcium. Do not use the essential oil during pregnancy.
Sow seeds in early Spring in a frame or greenhouse or outdoors in late Spring.
Basil needs well drained soil and full sun. Young plants should not be placed outside until Summer is quite warm.
Make a poultice from basil by simmering the herb for 2 minutes, squeeze out the liquid and apply to wounds that are slow to heal as well as to fungal infections. To relieve the symptoms of a head cold, pour boiling water onto fresh basil leaves and inhale. To enhance the effect, position a towel tent-like over your head.
When taken internally, basil is known to ease a nervous stomach, reduce intestinal gas and alleviate constipation and bloating. Try basil for sleep disorders and headaches. A sore throat may be soothed by gargling a basil infusion.
Well drained soil.
Less than 2 percent of the insects in the world are harmful. Most are beneficial.