Aromatic plants were used before the use of salt. Plants have always surrounded people. Almost no effort is required to obtain seeds, roots, leaves and fruits. A Stone Age man added aromatic herbs to improve the taste and smell of dishes. Much of the modern arsenal of aromatic plants was known to the ancient Greeks. The unsurpassed culinary activity and art of ancient Rome meant the application of various herbal blends of essential oils and herbal spices. Numerous combinations of essential oils in combination with food products create a delicious and aromatic harmony that enriches and strengthens food. Practically all essential oils are very effective preservatives, i.e. they have a powerful bactericidal and antifungal effect. Many aromatic plants have medicinal properties because they contain organic acids, essential oils, glycosides, tannin, alkaloid, phytoncides, vitamins and other useful substances that give an intense aroma and taste. Proper use of aromatic herbs benefits health, creates a good mood, which relieves the heart and blood circulation. Digestion is a great burden for the body, but with the right choice of plants, that burden is reduced.
Aromatic plants have odors in fruits, roots and leaves that contain aromatic substances. Over 200 species of plants are known (horseradish, parsley, celery, sage, mint, rosemary and others). All herbs have a beneficial effect on the stomach and stomach. Herbal spices can be used fresh, powdered, ground, in dishes, to improve health and decorate dishes. For example, basil is a great spice for tomato sauce that soothes tension and excitement at the same time, prevents bloating and facilitates digestion. We can add mint to beans, which improves the taste of the stew and stimulates the secretion of glands that participate in digestion.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – a favorite folk flower. It is an annual herbaceous plant native to India. The tree is up to 50 cm high, the branches are placed crosswise and upright. The leaves with stalks are elongated and ovate. They are serrated around the perimeter. The flowers are white or pale pink with short stalks in groups of 6-10. They form long paniculate bouquets that end twigs. It blooms from May to August. Basil is grown as an ornamental, spice and medicinal plant. It is used in religious rites. The leaves and the whole plant have a pleasant smell. The taste is bitter and aromatically spicy. The above-ground part of the plant in flower (Basilici herba) is harvested. It is dried in the shade in a windy place. It is propagated by seeds that are sown in the garden or in a pot in March. Two young plants each transplanted together in May. During the vegetation, it is necessary to constantly dig and water with water. Chemical composition: contains essential oil, tannin, saponins and bitter substances. The amount of essential oil is 0.4-0.8%, although the plant has a strong odor. The essential oil contains tarragon or methylcavicol, linalool and cineole and other antiseptic substances that serve as a preservative. They prevent the development of many microorganisms and destroy them. This may explain why basil is carried to the cemetery where the deceased is adorned and carried to the seriously ill and makes sure that the “Epiphany water” is not spoiled. According to folk legends, basil was given as a means of love, a symbol of family happiness and longevity.
Medicinal effect: people use basil as a means to calm the excited nervous system, against bloating and pain in the stomach, digestive organs, as a spice or tea after a meal. Together with garlic, basil is used for intestinal parasites, for more abundant urination, better appetite, to increase the amount of milk in young mothers, against inflammatory processes of the kidneys and the regulation of menstrual cycles in women. In medicine, basil is used for sore throats, for compresses and stomach ailments. It is used against vomiting, stomach ulcers, headaches and rheumatism. Basil tea rinses the eyes in conjunctivitis. Tea compresses heal wounds that are difficult to heal. Basil has been used successfully in influenza epidemics. Strengthens blood circulation, improves the work of the digestive system. Fresh juice from the squeezed plant protects against pregnancy. It stimulates clarity of mind and strengthens nervous tissue. Fresh juice from basil leaves is used against fungal infections of the feet.
Basil essential oil has antibacterial properties. It works against pain and relaxes the smooth muscles of the stomach and uterus. The combination of basil, lavender and coriander has the greatest antibacterial effect. It is used for toothache, pelvic inflammation and urinary bladder. It helps with cough. In Bulgaria, basil leaf tea is recommended for some skin diseases (itching, inflammatory processes, etc.). In India, especially in Ayurvedic medicine, it is used for respiratory diseases, colds, flu, emphysema and cough. It is used for snake and insect bites. In India, basil is considered a sacred plant second only to lotus. Basil according to belief from India opens the heart and mind, provides energy of love, devotion, strengthens faith, compassion and gives clarity of mind. In the East it is called “cold grass”. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, skin irritations and for nerve diseases. Folk medicine recommends basil for inflamed kidneys as a tea a mixture of equal parts of basil and birch leaves: one small spoon for one cup of tea, drink 2 to 3 cups a day in sips and unsweetened.
Kitchen application: fresh and finely chopped leaves are added to fish and meat soups and dishes. In the preparation of fresh cucumbers, a little basil can be added. Basil has the strongest aroma in the leaves at the beginning of flowering.
Use of basil to treat animals: Earlier, horses were rubbed with basil brandy during a spasm attack. Basil is an excellent food for bees, so a lot of basil should be planted around beehives. Basil tea sweetened with honey is placed in front of the hive in small pots because it is a valuable drink for bees. Bees thus remain healthier and more resilient. The honey to sweeten the basil bee tea should be from another beehive.
Note: Basil essential oil is not recommended during pregnancy.