Botanist's Glossary

Basil - Ocinum basilicum

  • Description
    • Basil (Lamiaceae family), native to tropical Asia, known during Roman times and in the European Middle Ages, is an aromatic plant with a sweet herbaceous scent. It is grown in warm and sunny, Mediterranean or tropical climates. In our regions, basil is grown as an annual; in the tropics, it is perennial.
  • Traditions
    • A medicinal plant that has long been used in Asia, basil has antispasmodic properties (digestive tract) and is also a nervous sedative. It is used as a condiment in Mediterranean cuisine and is the key ingredient in Provencal "pistou" - a soup made with summer vegetables. There are many different varieties of basil, with a multitude of scents and flavors.
  • Properties
    • The essential oil, obtained by distillation of the leaves, has relaxing properties. It soothes the body and mind.