The Sweet Life Gardener: Basil

By Alisa Murray

Hey Sweet Lifers! Of all the herbs for cooking, I am most in love with basil. Known as the the “king” in Greek and “holy” in India, this herb offers way more than just a little taste of summer to your life. It has, as I say, “all the things” you’d want out of an herb.

First of all for centuries, basil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to alleviate fatigue, stimulate hair growth, clear adrenal glands and combat nausea. It is also a powerful healer of colds, lowers blood glucose levels, assists in healing from insect and snake bites and because of its anti-aging properties, it is also shown to prevent skin from drooping and sagging. As if all that wasn’t enough to make you want to grow it in your own garden, here’s the last thing…it improves your love life!

Crushed, dried, emulsified and infused basil is versatile both as a healing apothecary herb and delicious on just about everything. Basils are organized into two categories. The culinary ocimum basilicum (sweet) and the tea basil ocimum sanctum (holy). I use the sweet in cheese balls and butter rolls, as well as in my bread-making, pasta-making, sauces, salads and jellies. It’s a wonderful treat sprinkled on vanilla ice cream and makes strawberries and tomatoes more vibrant. I dry the leaves and flowers of the holy to make teas and grind them to a paste with olive oil to treat my ant bites, of which from gardening I have quite a few!

One of my earliest videos that I made in 2020 was how to make my basil pesto, and it’s a staple here in the Sweet Life Kitchen. Click below to watch

Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow and a great addition to any garden. Just remember to keep pinching them back so they do not bolt (flower) with our Texas sunshine. That way they’ll keep making leaves for you to enjoy all sorts of goodies all summer long!

Keep on Growing!