Basil Facts

Basil (Ocimum basilicum), also called great basil or Saint-Joseph’s-wort, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints). It is also called the “king of herbs” and the “royal herb”. It is a hardy annual plant, best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in Southeast Asian cuisines of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Taiwan. The king of herbs basil herb is one of the ancient and popular herbal plants brimming with notable health-benefiting phytonutrients. This highly prized plant is revered as “holy herb” in many cultures all around the world. Basil is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia. This bushy annual herb is especially grown for its medicinally useful leaves and seeds. Besides being popular as spice, basil contains essential oils which are used in medicine and chemical industry. Basil is also often cultivated for ornamental purposes. Basil is grown for its fragrant tasty leaves that can be added raw to salads, sandwiches or used in cooked dishes such as the ever popular pasta with tomato and basil sauce. In addition to its culinary uses, basil is also used in perfumes, soaps, shampoos and dental preparations.

Name Basil
Scientific Name Ocimum basilicum
Native Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia.
Common/English Name Great basil or Saint-Joseph’s-wort
Name in Other Languages Urdu & Punjabi: Tulsi
Chamorro: Atbahakat
English: Basil
Tongarevan (spoken): Mili
Fijian: Tomole
Hawaiian: Kī ‘a‘ala
I-Kiribati: Te marou
Mangarevan: Tamore miri
Tahitian: Miri
Italian: Basilico
Maori (Cook Islands): Mili
German: Basilienkraut
Niuean: Momili
Palauan: Rur a ked
Tuvaluan: Mili
Pukapukan: Mili
Chinese: Luo le
Spanish: Albaca
Oriya: Dhalatulasi
Tongan: Akau pāpālangi
Arabic: Reihan
Samoan: Lā‘au sauga
French: Basilic
Nauruan: Dementsi
Japanese Rōmaji: Me-bōki
Portuguese: Alfavaca
Swedish: Basilika
Hindi: Tulsi
Tamil: Thulasi
Malayalam: Sivatulasi
Telugu: Tulsi-chettu
Gujarati: Sabje
Bengali: Kalotulsi
Marathi: Tulasa
Plant Growth Habit Hardy annual or short-lived perennial herbs
Growing Climate Grows best under warm, tropical climates. Does best in warm environments that receive about six hours of sun each day.
Soil Prefers fertile, well-drained loamy soils rich in organic matter. Most soils in Utah are well suited for basil production. Choose sites that have good air circulation around the plants.
Plant Size 100 cm in height
Stem 100 cm in height
Leaf Ovate to elliptic-ovate, 3-6 (-11) cm long, 1.3-3 (-5) cm wide, both surfaces copiously dotted with sessile oil glands, upper surface puberulent, lower surface strigose on veins, margins subentire to remotely crenulate, apex acute, base cuneate, petioles 1-2 cm long.
Flower Quite large, white or purple, arranged in terminal spikes.
Flavor/Aroma Strong, pungent, often sweet smell.
Taste Taste somewhat like anise
Varieties/Types
  • Christmas Basil
  • Cinnamon Basil
  • Dark Opal Basil
  • Holy Basil
  • Lemon Basil
  • Lime Basil
  • Spicy Bush Basil
  • Purple Ruffles Basil
  • Round midnight Basil
  • Sweet Thai Basil
  • Sweet Basil
  • Greek Basil
  • Spicy Saber
  • Genovese basil
  • Cardinal Basil
  • Green Ruffles (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Boxwood basil
  • Summerlong Basil
  • Amethyst Basil and many more…
Major Nutrition Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 99.6 µg (83.00%)
Manganese, Mn 0.276 mg (12.00%)
Copper, Cu 0.092 mg (10.22%)
Iron, Fe 0.76 mg (9.50%)
Vitamin A, RAE 63 µg (9.00%)
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 4.3 mg (4.78%)
Calcium, Ca 42 mg (4.20%)
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 16 µg (4.00%)
Magnesium, Mg 15 mg (3.57%)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.037 mg (2.85%)
Health Benefits
  • Insect Bite
  • Eliminates Kidney Stones
  • Relief from Headache
  • Helpful In Quitting Smoking
  • Helps Protect from Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
  • Can Act as a Natural Aphrodisiac
  • Prevents Acne
  • Helps Alkalize the Body and Improve Digestion
  • Relieves Cough
  • Gum Disorder
  • Supports Liver Function and Helps Detoxify the Body
  • Promotes Cardiovascular Health
  • Eye Disorder
  • Fights Depression
  • Contains Antibacterial Properties
  • Healing Properties
  • Fights Cancer
  • Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
Calories in 1 cup (24 gm) 6 K cal