One of the most popular cooking herbs is basil, which is very popular in Italian and Southeast Asian cooking. The name comes from the old Greek word for “royal” or “kingly” plant and even in modern day it is known as a royal herb or the king of herbs. There are a couple different types of basil, from the sweet basil that generally appears in Italian cooking, to the Thai and lemon basil which appear in Asian recipes. As an annual plant, gardeners who want to add basil to their garden will have to replant the herb each year. Culinary wise, the fresh leaves are the best to use in cooking, including in pesto (my mom makes it every year) because the dried leaves lose much of their signature flavor.
While there are many different breeds of basil, all the different species have the same medical properties. Similar to medical marijuana and oregano, basil acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and the same chemical components help with arthritis and bowel inflammation. Doctors also prescribe basil to help with diabetes, infertility, and allergies. Since basil contains cinnamic acid, it helps stabilize blood sugar, help respiration, and increase circulation. When basil is turned into an extract or an oil, it’s already high antioxidant amount gets even more powerful. Antioxidants help right back against the effects of aging, skin problems, and even some form of cancers, so adding basil into your diet will help promote a long, healthy life.
In the witchcraft community, basil is used to bring in love, healing, and protection into homes and spells. It’s especially used in spells to provide protection against evil spirits and negative energy and is associated with the holiday of Candlemas. Since it drives off evil spirits, if you carry the leaves with you, it’ll drive away fear and confusion, bringing positivity into your life. The leaves also bring good luck when interviewing for jobs and attract money and success in general.