Basil {Herbs for Hunger and Health}

Today's herbal post is about Basil. (We are talking about herbs this week, check out harvesting and using, making gifts from them and The One who gave them to us.) Not to long ago I didn't think I liked Basil all that much, I still used it in Italian foods but I didn't want to taste the flavor very strongly.

  My dislike for it happened I believe when I was pregnant with Megan and I had a bunch of basil and I decided to try to use some up in some tortilla roll-ups. I put way to much in and with my stomach feeling pretty queasy I decided I really didn't care much for basil. :-)

  This summer however my ideas changed. I still planted basil because I wanted a little but it has always grown pretty prolifically for me so I again was faced with the question: "How do I use all this up?" (Because if you know me, you know I hate to waste!) I shared some of my basil with others but still had quite a bit and then I happened to run across this post. In it she shares a recipe for frugal pesto. I have long been curious about pesto but I had never tasted it much less made it. However I had all the ingredients on hand and so I decided to give it a whirl.

I love it! On fresh bread it was oh so yummy! I also enjoyed in on pasta and in tomato soup. I made enough to freeze for later, eat a bunch and share with my parents who also really liked it. I was wishing that I would have planted more basil! By the way her "secret" ingredient was to use sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. I haven't tried the pine nut type of pesto but I do know that this one was good. Other ingredients are Basil (of course!), Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic and a bit of salt.

  Other than pesto I basically use basil in Italian foods (spaghetti sauce, pizza, etc.). Where do you like to use basil?

And now for the really fun part! (at least I think so.) How can Basil contribute to good health? (As with most herbal remedies, these may or may not have had much testing. I am just sharing what I have read or tried, I cannot promise you that it will work in your situation.)
  • Getting rid of intestinal parasites. When I did some reading on these, it is thought that 80% of people have parasites, I would really prefer not to be one of that number so if eating some basil will help, I will be glad to do that..
  • Treat Acne. Basil oil applied to skin is supposed to help. You can make an infusion or tincture and apply it with a cotton ball to freshly washed skin.
  • Immune stimulant. Basil is supposed to stimulate the immune system by increasing production of disease fighting antibodies by up to 20%.
  • In Malaysia basil is also used to Promote menstruation.
  • Basil is thought to help with milk promotion in nursing mothers.
  • Mosquito repellent. The basil leaves should help with this, they also help when you have already been bitten.
  • Aids digestion and is antibacterial. Take an infusion.
  • Basil is a nerve tonic and eases overworked muscles when you use it as a massage oil.
  • Inhaling the essential oil refreshes the mind and stimulates a sense of smell dulled by viral infection.
  • Basil tea is said to help with nausea, gas pains and dysentery.
How to grow Basil:
Basil is an annual that grows easily from seeds. Sow it indoors in early spring or outdoors after danger of frost has passed and days are warm. Set plants 12 inches apart. Basil needs medium rich, well drained soil and full sun. Pinch off tips to promote bushiness and flower buds to maintain growth.

I am hoping to actually start some plants soon so that I can use it all winter long as I ended up not having enough to dry after my pesto making stint. :-)

   Basil works for me! What are your thoughts on Basil?