Oh Basil (Ocimum basilcum)… one of my favourite culinary herbs! I have a weak spot for italian food so having a supply of fresh, pungent basil around is a dream. We currently have it growing as a companion plant to our tomatoes because it supposedly enhances their flavour and keeps away certain insects. Ancient lore seems to have attributed basil to a mix of qualities. In Italy basil signified love; in Greece it meant courage; in Jewish lore it was said to bring strength during long fasting; and in India basil was sacred to the Gods Krishna and Vishnu and pots of it were put in many gardens in their honour.

Taken internally, Basil is an excellent tonic for the nervous system, relieving tension, relieving tension and anxiety and lifting spirits. It clears the mind and improves concentration and memory, and makes a good remedy for stress related symptoms such as headaches, nerve pain, indigestion and muscle tension. Taken hot, basil tea acts as a decongestant, meaning it can clear nasal and respiratory passages. It also has a relaxing effect in the digestive tract, relieving cramps, nausea and constipation. It can be cooked with too of course, it’s wild to me how simply adding herbs to our dishes for flavour is also adding medicine to our meals!  

By Angelica Fisher, Intern with OUR Ecovillage, Instagram: @angel_fish254