A refreshing tea is made from the leaves. The seed can be eaten on its own or added to bread dough as a flavouring. When soaked in water it becomes mucilaginous and can be made into a refreshing beverage called 'sherbet tokhum' in the Mediterranean.An essential oil obtained from the plant is used as a food flavouring in mustards, sauces, vinegars etc
The leaves and flowering tops are antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, digestive, galactogogue, stomachic and tonic. They are taken internally in the treatment of feverish illnesses (especially colds and influenza), poor digestion, nausea, abdominal cramps, gastro-enteritis, migraine, insomnia, depression and exhaustion. Externally, they are used to treat acne, loss of smell, insect stings, snake bites and skin infections. The leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and are used fresh or dried. The mucilaginous seed is given in infusion in the treatment of gonorrhoea, dysentery and chronic diarrhoea. It is said to remove film and opacity from the eyes. The root is used in the treatment of bowel complaints in children. Extracts from the plant are bactericidal and are also effective against internal parasites.The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Clearing'.
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Sweet basil is commonly grown as an aromatic culinary and medicinal herb in warm temperate and tropical climates. There are a number of different constituents that make up the essential oil in basil, and the proportions of these vary considerably between plants growing in different regions of the world. From this variety many named varieties with differing flavour characteristics have been developed. Basil is a perennial plant in the tropics, but it is frost tender and needs to be grown as a half-hardy annual in temperate zones. It is a very good companion plant to grow in the house or greenhouse, its aromatic foliage helping to reduce problems caused by insect pests[K]. It requires a good hot summer in Britain if it is to do well outdoors[K].Sweet basil is a good companion plant for tomatoes but it grows badly with rue and sage. When grown near raspberries it can retard their fruiting.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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