The ancient Egyptians and Greeks believed Basil would open the gates of heaven, so placed a sprig of basil in the hand of the dead to insure safe journey and open passage.

pesto2Basil is incredibly fragrant. The smell is vibrant and refreshing; tinged with earthiness and a little hint of spice. Smashing a little bit of basil between the fingers and inhaling can uplift the mood in a matter of seconds.


Interestingly, the taste of flavor is less intense than the smell so full enjoyment of basil depends also on the retronasal effect. Most people are familiar with basil because of pesto but there are many, many types of basil that are popular in other ethnic cuisines. One of my favorites is Thai purple basil; which has a slightly citrus taste to it.


From a culinary perspective, basil is an awesome addition to dishes both savory and sweet.  Basil can be chopped and added fresh to salads, sprinkled over eggs, pizza, and sandwiches. It can be pureed and added to soups, stir frys, and other dishes. I especially love basil in the summertime and tend to add it liberally to foods for refreshing flavor.


Basil is as packed with nutrients and phytonutrients as it is with flavor. It is really high in Vitamin K, A, and C. It’s also a great source of magnesium, manganese, calcium, and iron.


Research suggests that volatile oils from basil provide cellular protection against oxidation and intra-cellular inflammation. Basil is also has great anti-microbial qualities. Studies also show that Basil is helpful for increasing cardiovascular health.