Energetics of Basil: A World of Flavor

Sweet Basil

 

Basil has been used historically as a token of love, an icon of hospitality and as a passport for the deceased to enter paradise. In the Hindu culture, basil is seen as sacred because it is thought to be a favorite food of the Gods.

 

 

 

 

Varieties

Cinnamon Basil

Basil is in the mint family. There are several varieties of basil.

Sweet Basil: The Italian classic for making pesto and for making Caprese salads.

Sweet Thai Basil: Intensely rich aroma and is great with curries, fish, and salad.

Holy Basil: This basil has a hint of mint and is often served on top of noodles.

Cinnamon Basil: Used for making tea and potpourris.

Lime Basil: Has a tangy citrus taste and is favorited in Asian cuisine.

Best Way to Store and Choose

Thai Basil

When shopping for fresh basil or picking from your own garden, look for vibrantly colored leaves.  Avoid leaves with dark spots or yellowing.

For storing fresh basil, wrap the basil in a damp paper towel and place it in the warmest spot in the fridge (top shelf or the door).  It will keep like this for up to 5 days. If you want to store for a longer time, place basil in an ice cube tray and fill with water or stock, then put it in your freezer.  These cubes can then be easily added to any dish, especially soups and stews.

For dried basil, it should always be kept in an air tight glass container in a cool, dark, dry place.  If stored properly, the dried basil will keep for about 6 months.

Nutrition

Basil conta8ins flavonoids, such as orientin and vicenin, which have been found to protect cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.  Basil is considered anti-inflammatory since the volatile oil, eugenol, has been found to block the activity of the COX enzyme.  Many over the counter pain medicines also work by inhibiting the same enzyme.  Basil is also a concentrated source of energy-producing iron; bone-building calcium; heart-healthy potassium, magnesium and fiber; and free-radical-scavenging vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese.

Basil has been shown to exhibit antibiotic properties by restricting bacteria growth.  This is thought to happen to due basils volatile oils such as eugenol, mycrene, limonene and others.

Energetics

Warming and Pungent. Basil stimulates circulation, clear obstructions and improve liver function, moistens the kidneys affecting fluids in the entire body, improve digestion, and reduce mucous conditions, and expels parasites. Used in the treatment of coldness, especially cold-type asthma.  Basil can help calm and focus the mind.

Basil Dill Coleslaw

Ingredients

  • 6 cups shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dill weed
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, basil and dill. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients until blended. Drizzle over cabbage mixture; toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.

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