basil leaves on a basil plant
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Basil: A Complete Guide

Is basil the King of Herbs? That's what they say! But why? What makes it so great? I have been gardening for years and have grown basil many times. Let's dive into basil and talk about the history, some benefits, and some helpful growing tips.

The History of Basil

Basil is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, and is believed to have originated and is a native to India. While investigating the history of basil I found that, Ayurvedic medicine, the ancient Indian medical system, recognized basil as having medicinal properties. Basil became more well known and began to proliferate to other countries like Greece and Rome. The Greeks and Romans used basil in their culinary practices and basil quickly became an important herb in Italian cuisine. Basil grew to have a cultural and symbolic meaning in many countries. In older Jewish traditions, basil was thought to bring strength whilst fasting. However, in ancient Greece, basil was a symbol of hatred. Basil has been associated with different meanings and beliefs throughout its ancient history and origins.

basil plant in a pot

The Health Benefits of Basil

Basil has oils that make it extremely useful and helpful. Basil, a member of the mint family, can be used to settle the stomach. Just steep a few leaves in some boiling water and add honey. This concoction can also be used for a sore throat! Basil also proves to be very valuable in treating headaches. This special herb has special properties that when crushed and rubbed onto a bug bite or sting it helps to soothe the itching, and to draw out the poison. This spectacular wonder herb is a beautiful aroma and scent and is made into essential oils readily available for daily use. It is no wonder that they call basil the King of Herbs!

Growing Basil

  • Choose the location – basil likes at least 6 hours of sun daily, so put it in a warm, sunny place
  • Prepare the soil – basil likes soil that is rich in organic matter and is well-drained, adding perlite or sand will provide drainage
  • Plant the basil – you can direct sow into your soil or start seeds indoors; If planting seedlings, prepare a hole that's about twice as wide as the root ball. Cover the roots with soil and press down gently to firm up the soil around the plant.
  • Water the basil – basil likes water, but not too much, only water if the plant needs it
  • Watch it grow and harvest as you need it! Some basil can just grow crazy big! So make sure you pick it and either use it or dry some for future use.
  • Basil can try and go to seed early, if you see white flowers forming, pinch them off so you can yield more basil for a little while longer. Basil should be picked when available to avoid the plant going to seed.

There you go! That is all there is to planting and enjoying basil! If you have questions or want additional help, check out my Facebook Group, Beginner Gardeners Start Here!

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