Most people are familiar with basil’s ability to impart delicious flavor to food; its sweet scent is also unmistakable. But not everyone knows that there are many different varieties of basil, each with antibacterial properties and stomach-settling abilities. A little crushed fresh basil takes the itch out of an insect bite, too.
Parts Used: Leaves
Precautions: Do not use during pregnancy.
Identifying/Growing: You probably won’t find basil growing wild, but you can usually find it in the produce department at your local supermarket. Since fresh basil is strongest, and since the plant is very easy to grow, this is one herb that you may want to consider cultivating even if you lack a green thumb. Basil thrives in the garden or grows just as happily in a pot on a sunny windowsill. It needs lots of light and prefers full sun. It also needs to be watered frequently so the soil stays moist. Harvesting the uppermost leaves will encourage growth and prevent the plant from going to seed.