Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sweet Basil

One of the most satisfying activity that I find lately is gardening, especially when you looked at the fruit of your labour. Sweet basil, as I understand the name is, in English, is a really sweetie plant. Malaysians call it Selasih. So far, it is quite easy to maintain and I have harvested it more than once during the Raya festive season as a garnishing for one of my delicasies.

And recently, I was suprised to find some small seedlings sprouting all over the plant on the ground. Initially I thought it was some weeds, but as I pinched a leaf, it smells fragrant just like the basil plant. Wow! There were at least a dozen of these seedlings. Apparently, the flowers germinate itselves into these seedlings.
I learned from a site that you're not supposed to let this plant flower as it will stop producing leaves and will eventually die. So the flowers must be cut off. But really, they just looked so lovely, I don't have the heart to chop it off. Especially when the plant itself looked so healthy. Maybe I will wait and see, and do damage control once it starts to happen. (I really hope it'll not happen). Anyway, if its any consolation, the seedlings may replace the parent?

Another thing about the flowers, they can actually turn into a drink. We normally have it in a syrup drink. I am yet to try it out, with my own plant. Also, I am yet to learn how.

Naturally, the next step is to either let the sprouts grow there on the ground, but they were randomly scattered all over. So I scooped up the bigger plants, and place them into a nursey pot from my old cactus, and I can give it away for anyone interested to grow it in their backyard!

Tips online:

Basil has been known for many years as an herbal remedy for diseases of the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and the bladder. It is primarily a digestive and nervous system aid. Infuse basil and use it as a tea for indigestion. Inhale basil tea to relieve cold symptoms. Basil has uplifting, energizing, anti-depressant properties.

The dried leaves are used as snuff to relieve headaches and colds. Basil is also used as an insect repellent. Place a pot of basil outside your door to repel flies. Use basil essential oil on a bee sting (use only one drop, more than one drop may irritate the skin) or crush the leaves and rub on cuts, insect bites and stings.

Some of the ailments basil can treat are: anxiety, concentration, indigestion, respiratory problems, colic, tight coughs, asthma, nervous headaches, migraines, muscle tension, nerve pain, memory loss, insomnia, infection, a stuffy head, colds, sinusitis, sore throats, bronchial congestion, appetite loss, gas, diarrhea, and nausea.

Use basil flowers and leaves for an invigorating bath. Basil adds luster to hair: brunettes, add it to a rosemary rinse, blondes, add it to a chamomile rinse. Combine basil essential oil with other essential oils to make perfumes and toilet water. Blends well with: Bergamot, geranium, hyssop, neoili, marjoram, melissa and lavender.

Basil is very aromatic. Add dried basil to potpourri and sachets. Lemon basil and opal basil are good choices.

Use basil as an ornamental; not because of its beautiful flowers, but because it has beautiful shiny leaves that can offset other flowering plants.

Last but not least, basil is very compatible with tomatoes. Basil is known as the tomato herb. Use sweet basil in your pesto and tomato sauces. Sprinkle dried or cut fresh basil over salads and sliced tomatoes. Basil also goes well in soups, salads, eggs, fish and meat dishes.

* The information in this article should not replace the advice of your medical practitioner.


cakapaje said...

Salam ydiana,

OK. Now I know what Selasih is in English, thanks. But when you want to mix it in syrup, do make extras for your guests and whatnot. Maybe, Minty would want to try it out too :)

U.Lee said...

Hi Ydiana, wow! Can see your gardening really taken off. And it with certain soups, especially with Thai tom yam or Vietnamese noodles.
Have a nice day, Lee.

Ydiana said...

Salam Shah

Ooops...sorry I overlooked this comment.

When I have enough seeds, yes of course. Except I still don't know how. But this morning, I saw the seed when I steep the flower in my hot tea. That's one step closer. :)

Ydiana said...

Hi Lee

Yes, so far so good. Except this morning I noticed some bugs eating the leaves and some leaves doesn't look too healthy. I am surfing all over to find the causes and solutions. Gotta find it fast.