Family: Labiatae (Lamiaceae) mint family
Parts Used: All aerial (leaves and blossoms)
- Sinus and bronchial congestion.
- Dissolves phlegm and mucous.
- Cold and flu.
- Increase milk flow in nursing mothers.
- Mild sedative.
- Fatigue, clears the mind.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Cleanses and tones the digestive system.
- Upset tummy (any digestive complaint).
- Nausea, vomiting, gas.
- Stomach cramps
- Soothes insect bites and stings (use fresh as a poultice).
- Repels flies and insects.
- Purifies the air.
Methods of Use
- pesto, use liberally in cooking dishes
- herbal tea
- herbal tincture
- vinegar tincture
- herbal infused oil
- herbal honey
- herbal butter
- herbal sprinkle
- bath and foot soak
- herbal sachets
- basil essential oil
In The Garden
- If starting from seed, start indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Keep in a warm, sunny location. Basil loves it warm.
- Transplant outdoors 12” apart in full sun after the last frost. You can sow seeds directly into the garden after the last frost also, it will take 7-10 days to sprout.
- Water regularly.
- Pinch back stems regularly to keep your plant full, bushy and producing all season. Once the plant flowers it will go to seed and be done for the season.
- Companion plant next to peppers and tomatoes.
- To harvest cut leaves off the top of the plant throughout the growing season. At the end of the season cut the entire plant down to preserve for winter use. Basil is an annual so it will have to planted each spring.
Freezing: There are two methods for freezing basil, first wash the leaves, dry with a towel and freeze them whole, wrapped in paper towels. You can also chop the leaves, place in an ice cube tray and pour water over the top. Freeze, then pop out the cubes and store in a freezer bag.
Pesto: My favorite method for preserving and eating basil is by making pesto. I make big batches and freeze in ice cube trays. I use this all throughout the winter for a fresh from the garden basil taste and with all the medicinal properties of both the basil and the garlic.