Basil is one of the oldest herbs known to the mankind, a member of the mint family is revered for its strong medicinal and healing properties. One can still see basil plants outside many Indian households. The parts of the plant that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.
It is a good source of Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, and Iron, and is used for stomach spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, kidney conditions, fluid retention, head colds, warts, and worm infections. It is also used to treat snake and insect bites.
There are significant botanical differences in various types of basil plants. The many varied species of basil include: sweet basil, lemon basil, Italian or curly basil, holy basil, Thai basil and lettuce-leaf basil. The smell and flavour of basil vary upon the concentration of essential volatile oils present in the herb, which is mainly used as a flavoring agent in various types of dishes in the world. Although it is originated in India, basil is mainly used in the Italian cuisine. People in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia also incorporate basil into their cooking. Leaves of basil have a pungent and strong taste.