Common Name: Basil
Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum
Family Name: Lamiaceae
The most common use of basil is for cooking, such as in tomato sauce, pesto, or vinegar. But it also can be sprinkled over salads and sliced tomatoes, either whole or chopped. To make oil for salads, pound the fresh leaves and mix with a good salad or vegetable oil.
Various practitioners of traditional medicine have used basil as an antimicrobial agent, and some scientific research supports this use. In 2017, researchers analyzed the anti-inflammatory properties of two preparations of sweet basil essential oil. A 2011 review reported on findings that a sweet basil extract briefly reduced high blood pressure, possibly due to the extract’s eugenol content. Eugenol can block calcium channels in the body, lowering high blood pressure.