Basil
Basil-Basilico-Ocimum basilicum-albahaca.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Ocimum
Species:
O. basilicum
Binomial name
Ocimum basilicum

Basil (/ˈbæzəl/,[1] also US: /ˈbzəl/;[2] Ocimum basilicum), also called great basil, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints). It is a tender plant, and is used in cuisines worldwide. In Western cuisine, the generic term "basil" refers to the variety also known as sweet basil or Genovese basil. Basil is native to tropical regions from Central Africa to Southeast Asia.[3] In temperate climates basil is treated as an annual plant, however, basil can be grown as a short-lived perennial or biennial in warmer horticultural zones with tropical or Mediterranean climates.[3]

There are many varieties of basil including sweet basil, Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), and Mrs. Burns' Lemon (O. basilicum var. citriodora). O. basilicum can cross-pollinate with other species of the Ocimum genus, producing hybrids such as lemon basil (O. × citriodorum) and African blue basil (O. × kilimandscharicum).

Etymology

The name "basil" comes from the Latin basilius, and the Greek βασιλικόν φυτόν (basilikón phutón), meaning "royal/kingly plant", possibly because the plant was believed to have been used in production of royal perfumes.[4] Basil is likewise sometimes referred to in French as "l'herbe royale" ('the royal herb').[5] The Latin name has been confused with basilisk, as it was supposed to be an antidote to the basilisk's venom.[4]

Description

Timelapse of growing basil
Desiccated basil showing seed dispersal
Desiccated basil showing seed dispersal

Basil is an annual, or sometimes perennial, herb used for its leaves. Depending on the variety, plants can reach heights of between 30 and 150 cm (1 and 5 ft). Its leaves are richly green and ovate, but otherwise come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes depending on cultivar. Leaf sizes range from 3 to 11 cm (1 to 4+12 in) long, and between 1 and 6 cm (12 and 2+12 in) wide. Basil grows a thick, central taproot. Its flowers are small and white, and grow from a central inflorescence, or spike, that emerges from the central stem atop the plant.[citation needed] Unusual among Lamiaceae, the four stamens and the pistil are not pushed under the upper lip of the corolla, but lie over the inferior lip. After entomophilous pollination, the corolla falls off and four round achenes develop inside the bilabiate calyx.[citation needed]

Phytochemistry

The various basils have such distinct scents because the volatile aromatic compounds vary with cultivars.[3] The essential oil from European basil contains high concentrations of linalool and methyl chavicol (estragole), in a ratio of about 3:1.[3][6] Other constituents include: 1,8-cineole, eugenol, and myrcene, among others.[3][7] The clove scent of sweet basil is derived from eugenol.[8] The aroma profile of basil includes 1,8-cineole[9][10] and methyl eugenol.[9][11] In this species eugenol is synthesised from coniferyl acetate and NADPH.[12] Some of these are useful as insect repellents, see § Insect repellent below.

Distribution and habitat

Basil is native to India and other tropical regions stretching from Africa to Southeast Asia, but has now become globalized due to human cultivation.[3]

Taxonomy

Further information: List of basil cultivars

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The exact taxonomy of basil is uncertain due to the immense number of cultivars, its ready polymorphy, and frequent cross-pollination (resulting in new hybrids) with other members of the genus Ocimum and within the species. Ocimum basilicum has at least 60 varieties, which further complicates taxonomy.[3]

Cultivars

Most basils are cultivars of sweet basil. Most basil varieties have green leaves, but a few are purple, such as, 'Purple Delight'.

Hybrids

Similar species

Some similar species in the same genus may be commonly called "basil", although they are not varieties of Ocimum basilicum.

Cultivation

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Growing conditions

Basil is sensitive to cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions. It behaves as an annual if there is any chance of a frost. However, due to its popularity, basil is cultivated in many countries around the world. Production areas include countries in the Mediterranean area, those in the temperate zone, and others in subtropical climates.[19][page needed]

In Northern Europe, Canada, the northern states of the U.S., and the South Island of New Zealand, basil grows best if sown under glass in a peat pot, then planted out in late spring/early summer (when there is little chance of a frost); however, it can also thrive when planted outside in these climates. Additionally, it may be sown in soil once chance of frost is past. It fares best in well-drained soil with direct exposure to the sun.[citation needed]

Although basil grows best outdoors, it can be grown indoors in a pot and, like most herbs, will do best on a sun-facing windowsill, kept away from extremely cold drafts. A greenhouse or row cover is ideal if available. It can, however, even be grown in a basement under fluorescent lights. Supplemental lighting produces greater biomass and phenol production, with red + blue specifically increasing growth and flower bud production. UV-B increases the volatiles in O. basilicum essential oil, which has not been reproducible in other plants, and so may be unique to the genus or even to this species.[20]

Basil plants require regular watering, but not as much attention as is needed in other climates. If its leaves have wilted from lack of water, it will recover if watered thoroughly and placed in a sunny location. Yellow leaves towards the bottom of the plant are an indication that the plant has been stressed; usually this means that it needs less water, or less or more fertilizer. Basil can be propagated reliably from cuttings with the stems of short cuttings suspended in water for two weeks or until roots develop.

Pruning, flowering, and seeding

Female carpenter bee foraging
Female carpenter bee foraging

Once a stem produces flowers, foliage production stops on that stem, the stem becomes woody, and essential oil production declines. To prevent this, a basil-grower may pinch off any flower stems before they are fully mature. Because only the blooming stem is so affected, some stems can be pinched for leaf production, while others are left to bloom for decoration or seeds. Picking the leaves off the plant helps promote growth, largely because the plant responds by converting pairs of leaflets next to the topmost leaves into new stems.

Once the plant is allowed to flower, it may produce seed pods containing small black seeds, which can be saved and planted the following year. If allowed to go to seed, a basil plant will grow back the next year.

Diseases

Basil suffers from several plant pathogens that can ruin the crop and reduce yield. Fusarium wilt is a soil-borne fungal disease that will quickly kill younger basil plants. Seedlings may be killed by Pythium damping off. A common foliar disease of basil is gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea; it can cause infections post-harvest and is capable of killing the entire plant. Black spot can be seen on basil foliage and is caused by the fungi genus Colletotrichum. Downy mildew caused by Peronospora belbahrii is a significant disease, as first reported in Italy in 2004.[21] It was reported in the U.S. in 2007 and 2008.[22][23]

Non-pathogenic bacteria found on basil include Novosphingobium species.[24]

Uses

Basil, fresh
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy94 kJ (22 kcal)
2.65 g
Dietary fiber1.6 g
0.64 g
3.15 g
VitaminsQuantity
%DV
Vitamin A equiv.
33%
264 μg
29%
3142 μg
Thiamine (B1)
3%
0.034 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
6%
0.076 mg
Niacin (B3)
6%
0.902 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
4%
0.209 mg
Vitamin B6
12%
0.155 mg
Folate (B9)
17%
68 μg
Choline
2%
11.4 mg
Vitamin C
22%
18.0 mg
Vitamin E
5%
0.80 mg
Vitamin K
395%
414.8 μg
MineralsQuantity
%DV
Calcium
18%
177 mg
Copper
19%
0.385 mg
Iron
24%
3.17 mg
Magnesium
18%
64 mg
Manganese
55%
1.148 mg
Phosphorus
8%
56 mg
Potassium
6%
295 mg
Selenium
0%
0.3 μg
Sodium
0%
4 mg
Zinc
9%
0.81 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water92.06 g
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central
Dried basil leaves
Dried basil leaves

Culinary

Basil is most commonly used fresh in recipes. In general, it is added last, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor. The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water.

Leaves and flowers

The most commonly used Mediterranean basil cultivars are "Genovese", "Purple Ruffles", "Mammoth", "Cinnamon", "Lemon", "Globe", and "African Blue". Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto, an Italian sauce with olive oil and basil as its primary ingredients. It is also an essential ingredient in the popular Italian-American marinara sauce.[citation needed] Chinese cuisine also uses fresh or dried basils in soups and other foods. In Taiwan, people add fresh basil leaves to thick soups. They also eat fried chicken with deep-fried basil leaves. Basil (most commonly Thai basil) is commonly steeped in cream or milk to create an interesting flavor in ice cream or chocolates (such as truffles). The leaves are not the only part of basil used in culinary applications, the flower buds have a more subtle flavor and they are edible.[citation needed]

Most Asian basils have a clove-like flavor,[citation needed] that is generally stronger than the Mediterranean basils. Lemon basil has a strong lemony smell and flavor due to the presence of citral. It is widely used in Indonesia, where it is called kemangi and served raw with raw cabbage, green beans, and cucumber as an accompaniment to fried fish or duck. Its flowers are a zesty salad ingredient.[citation needed]

Seeds

When soaked in water, the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used in Asian drinks and desserts such as the Indian faluda, the Iranian sharbat-e-rihan, or hột é.[citation needed] In Kashmir, the Ramadan fast is often broken with babre beole, a sharbat made with basil seeds.[25]

Folk medicine

Basil is used in folk medicine practices, such as those of Ayurveda or traditional Chinese medicine.[26]: 33–34 

Toxicity to pests and pathogens

Insecticide and insect repellent

Studies of the essential oil have shown insecticidal and insect-repelling properties,[27] including potential toxicity to mosquitos.[28] The essential oil is found by Huignard et al. 2008 to inhibit electrical activity by decreasing action potential amplitude, by shortening the post hyperpolarization phase, and reducing the action frequency of action potentials. In Huignard's opinion this is due to the linalool and estagole, the amplitude reduction due to linalool, and the phase shortening due to both.[29]

Callosobruchus maculatus, a pest which affects cowpea, is repelled by the essential oil.[29] The essential oil mixed with kaolin is both an adulticide and an ovicide, effective for three months in against C. maculatus in cowpea.[29] The thrips Frankliniella occidentalis and Thrips tabaci are repelled by O. basilicum, making this useful as an insect repellent in other crops.[30] The pests Sitophilus oryzae, Stegobium paniceum, Tribolium castaneum, and Bruchus chinensis are evaluated by Deshpande et al. 1974 and '77.[29]

Nematicide

The essential oil is found by Malik et al. 1987 and Sangwan et al. 1990 to be nematicidal against Tylenchulus semipenetrans, Meloidogyne javanica, Anguina tritici, and Heterodera cajani.[31]

Bacterial and fungal inhibition

The essential oil of the leaf and/or terminal shoot is effective against a large number of bacterial species including Lactiplantibacillus plantarum and Pseudomonas spp.[32] The essential oil of leaf and/or terminal shoot is also effective against a large number of fungal species including Aspergillus spp., Candida spp., Mucor spp., and Geotrichum candidum.[27][32]

Culture

Isabella and the Pot of Basil, William Holman Hunt, 1868
Isabella and the Pot of Basil, William Holman Hunt, 1868

There are many rituals and beliefs associated with basil. The ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks believed basil would open the gates of heaven for a person passing on.[33][better source needed] Jewish folklore suggests it adds strength while fasting.[34][better source needed] However, Herbalist Nicholas Culpeper saw basil as a plant of dread and suspicion.[why?][35]

In Portugal, dwarf bush basil is traditionally presented in a pot, together with a poem and a paper carnation, to a sweetheart, on the religious holidays of John the Baptist (see Saint John's Eve § Portugal) and Saint Anthony of Padua. In Giovanni Boccaccio's 14th century Decameron, the fifth story of the narrative's fourth day involves a pot of basil as a central plot device. This famous story inspired John Keats to write his 1814 poem "Isabella, or the Pot of Basil", which was in turn the inspiration for two paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: John Everett Millais's Isabella in 1849 and in 1868 the Isabella and the Pot of Basil by William Holman Hunt.[citation needed]

Basil has religious significance in the Greek Orthodox Church, where it is used to sprinkle holy water.[36] The Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Macedonian Orthodox Church and Romanian Orthodox Church use basil (Bulgarian: босилек, bosilek; Serbian: босиљак, bosiljak; Macedonian: босилек, bosilek) to prepare holy water and pots of basil are often placed below church altars.[37] Some Greek Orthodox Christians even avoid eating it due to its association with the legend of the Elevation of the Holy Cross.[38]

See also

References

  1. ^ "British: Basil". Collins Dictionary. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  2. ^ "American: Basil". Collins Dictionary. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Simon, James E (23 February 1998). "Basil". Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Department of Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Archived from the original on 2 May 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Basil". Etymology Online, Douglas Harper. 2018. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012.
  5. ^ Anstice Carroll; Embree De Persiis Vona; Gianna De Persiis Vona (2006). The Dictionary of Wholesome Foods: A Passionate A-to-Z Guide to the Earth's Healthy Offerings, with More Than 140 Delicious, Nutritious Recipes. Da Capo Press. pp. 16–. ISBN 978-1-56924-395-4. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013. The name "basil" comes from the Greek word for "king" – so greatly did the Greeks esteem this king of herbs. Herbe royale, the French respectfully call it. In Italy basil serves the goddess Love; a sprig of it worn by a suitor bespeaks his loving ...
  6. ^ Lee, Seung-Joo; Umano, Katumi; Shibamoto, Takayuki; Lee, Kwang-Geun (2005). "Identification of Volatile Components in Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) and Thyme Leaves (Thymus vulgaris L.) and Their Antioxidant Properties". Food Chemistry. 91: 131–137. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2004.05.056.
  7. ^ Eberhard Breitmaier (22 September 2006). Terpenes: Flavors, Fragrances, Pharmaca, Pheromones. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 11–. ISBN 978-3-527-31786-8. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013. Acyclic monoterpenoid trienes such as p-myrcene and configurational isomers of p- ocimene are found in the oils of basil (leaves of Ocimum basilicum, Labiatae), bay (leaves of Fimenta acris, Myrtaceae), hops (strobiles of Humulus lupulus, ...
  8. ^ Md Shahidul Islam (4 February 2011). Transient Receptor Potential Channels. Springer. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-94-007-0265-3. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013. Eugenol is a vanilloid contained in relatively high amounts in clove oil from Eugenia caryophyllata, as well as cinnamon leaf oil (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and oil from the clove basil Ocimum gratissimum. While eugenol is often referred to as ...
  9. ^ a b Johnson, B. Christopher; et al. (1999). "Substantial UV-B-mediated induction of essential oils in sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.)". Phytochemistry. 51 (4): 507–510. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(98)00767-5.
  10. ^ Baritaux, O.; Richard, H.; Touche, J.; Derbesy, M.; et al. (1992). "Effects of drying and storage of herbs and spices on the essential oil. Part I. Basil, Ocimum basilicum L.". Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 7 (5): 267–271. doi:10.1002/ffj.2730070507.
  11. ^ Miele, Mariangela; Dondero, R; Ciarallo, G; Mazzei, M; et al. (2001). "Methyleugenol in Ocimum basilicum L. Cv. 'Genovese Gigante'". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 49 (1): 517–521. doi:10.1021/jf000865w. PMID 11170620.
  12. ^ Lin, Jerry; Massonnet, Mélanie; Cantu, Dario (1 July 2019). "The genetic basis of grape and wine aroma". Horticulture Research. Nature + Nanjing Agricultural University. 6 (1): 1–24. doi:10.1038/s41438-019-0163-1. ISSN 2052-7276. PMC 6804543. PMID 31645942.
  13. ^ "Ocimum minimum information from NPGS/GRIN". ars-grin.gov. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Ocimum africanum Lour. taxonomy detail from NPGS/GRIN". ars-grin.gov. Archived from the original on 13 September 2016.
  15. ^ Ocimum × africanum Lour. in 'The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species', archived from the original on 18 February 2022, retrieved 3 December 2016
  16. ^ Fandohan, P.; Gnonlonfin, B; Laleye, A; Gbenou, JD; Darboux, R; Moudachirou, M; et al. (2008). "Toxicity and gastric tolerance of essential oils from Cymbopogon citratus, Ocimum gratissimum and Ocimum basilicum in Wistar rats". Food and Chemical Toxicology. 46 (7): 2493–2497. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2008.04.006. PMID 18511170.
  17. ^ Pessoa, L. M.; Morais, SM; Bevilaqua, CM; Luciano, JH (2002). "Anthelmintic activity of essential oil of Ocimum gratissimum Linn. and eugenol against Haemonchus contortus". Veterinary Parasitology. 109 (1–2): 59–63. doi:10.1016/S0304-4017(02)00253-4. PMID 12383625.
  18. ^ "Ocimum tenuiflorum L., Synonyms". The Plant List, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Gardens. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  19. ^ Hiltunen, Raimo; Holm, Yvonne (2 September 2003). Basil: The Genus Ocimum. CRC Press. ISBN 9780203303771. Archived from the original on 18 April 2017.
  20. ^ Marondedze, Claudius; Liu, Xinyun; Huang, Shihui; Wong, Cynthia; Zhou, Xuan; Pan, Xutong; An, Huiting; Xu, Nuo; Tian, Xuechen; Wong, Aloysius (1 November 2018). "Towards a tailored indoor horticulture: a functional genomics guided phenotypic approach". Horticulture Research. Nature + Nanjing Agricultural University. 5 (1): 1–10. doi:10.1038/s41438-018-0065-7. ISSN 2052-7276. PMC 6210194. PMID 30393542.
  21. ^ Garibaldi, A.; Minuto, A.; Minuto, G.; Gullino, M. L. (March 2004). "First Report of Downy Mildew on Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) in Italy". Plant Disease. 88 (3): 312. doi:10.1094/PDIS.2004.88.3.312A. PMID 30812374.
  22. ^ Roberts, P. D.; Raid, R. N.; Harmon, P. F.; Jordan, S. A.; Palmateer, A. J. (February 2009). "First Report of Downy Mildew Caused by a Peronospora sp. on Basil in Florida and the United States". Plant Disease. 93 (2): 199. doi:10.1094/PDIS-93-2-0199B. PMID 30764112.
  23. ^ Wick, R. L.; Brazee, N. J. (March 2009). "First Report of Downy Mildew Caused by a Peronospora Species on Sweet Basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) in Massachusetts". Plant Disease. 93 (3): 318. doi:10.1094/PDIS-93-3-0318B. PMID 30764191.
  24. ^ Ceuppens, Siele; Delbeke, Stefanie; De Coninck, Dieter; Boussemaere, Jolien; Boon, Nico; Uyttendaele, Mieke (21 August 2015). "Characterization of the Bacterial Community Naturally Present on Commercially Grown Basil Leaves: Evaluation of Sample Preparation Prior to Culture-Independent Techniques". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 12 (8): 10171–10197. doi:10.3390/ijerph120810171. PMC 4555336. PMID 26308033.
  25. ^ "Traditional Summer Drinks of India: Beat the Heat with Refreshing Recipes". The Better India. 9 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  26. ^ Ambrose, Dawn C. P.; Manickavasagan, Annamalai; Naik, Ravindra (2016). Leafy Medicinal Herbs: Botany, Chemistry, Postharvest Technology and Uses. CABI. ISBN 9781780645599.
  27. ^ a b Dube S, Upadhhyay PD, Tripath SC (1989). "Antifungal, physicochemical, and insect-repelling activity of the essential oil of Ocimum basilicum". Canadian Journal of Botany. 67 (7): 2085–2087. doi:10.1139/b89-264.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  28. ^ Maurya, Prejwltta; Sharma, Preeti; Mohan, Lalit; Batabyal, Lata; Srivastava, C.N.; et al. (2009). "Evaluation of the toxicity of different phytoextracts of Ocimum basilicum against Anopheles stephensi and Culex quinquefasciatus". Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology. 12 (2): 113–115. doi:10.1016/j.aspen.2009.02.004.
  29. ^ a b c d Regnault-Roger, Catherine; Vincent, Charles; Arnason, John Thor (7 January 2012). "Essential Oils in Insect Control: Low-Risk Products in a High-Stakes World". Annual Review of Entomology. Annual Reviews. 57 (1): 405–424. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-120710-100554. ISSN 0066-4170. PMID 21942843.
  30. ^ Kirk, William D. J.; de Kogel, Willem Jan; Koschier, Elisabeth H.; Teulon, David A. J. (7 January 2021). "Semiochemicals for Thrips and Their Use in Pest Management". Annual Review of Entomology. Annual Reviews. 66 (1): 101–119. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-022020-081531. ISSN 0066-4170. PMID 33417819. S2CID 231304158.
  31. ^ Chitwood, David J. (2002). "Phytochemical Based Strategies for Nematode Control". Annual Review of Phytopathology. Annual Reviews. 40 (1): 221–249. doi:10.1146/annurev.phyto.40.032602.130045. ISSN 0066-4286. PMID 12147760.
  32. ^ a b Davidson, P. Michael; Critzer, Faith J.; Taylor, T. Matthew (28 February 2013). "Naturally Occurring Antimicrobials for Minimally Processed Foods". Annual Review of Food Science and Technology. Annual Reviews. 4 (1): 163–190. doi:10.1146/annurev-food-030212-182535. ISSN 1941-1413. PMID 23244398.
  33. ^ Nelson-Shellenbarger, Robin (25 February 2013). Family Herbal Wellness. Booktango. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-1-4689-2481-7. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  34. ^ Navarra, Tova (1 January 2004). The Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements. Infobase Publishing. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-4381-2103-1. Retrieved 2 August 2013. There is varied folklore pertaining to basil. To the French, basil is the herbe royale (royal herb); Jewish lore holds that basil offers strength during fasting. To the Italians, basil symbolizes love, and to the Greeks, hate, although the Greek word ...
  35. ^ Bill Neal (1992). Gardener's Latin. London: Robert Hale. p. 16. ISBN 0709051069.
  36. ^ "Blessing of the Waters known as Agiasmos conducted by a Greek Orthodox priest". Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  37. ^ Mercia MacDermott (1998). Bulgarian Folk Customs. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. pp. 114–. ISBN 978-1-85302-485-6. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  38. ^ The Complete Book of Greek Cooking. HarperPerennial. 1991. p. 7. ISBN 9780060921293.