I was wondering where to start with the Herb of the week. Should I start at the beginning of the alphabet? With medicinals? With summery herbs? With common or exotic herbs? When I realized I was completely overthinking it I decided to start with what you may have in your kitchen right now. I decided to start with Basil. The beginning of the alphabet AND the beginning of our herby journey. I hope to give out some really solid basic information then we can wander into more arcane and specific info as we go along. For today, Basil...what secrets lie in our caprese salad?
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Is native to Asia and Africa, but is now widely cultivated across the world. Basil is a member of the mint family (Laminacea).
Basil has been traditionally used for centuries as a treatment for:
(as a tea) Stomach spasms; all manner of stomach complaints really, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, kidney conditions, fluid retention, intestinal parasites, the tea also has a mildly sedating effect which makes it great for anxiety.
Torn leaves can also be used to treat snake and insect bites and cuts.
Chew the leaves for coughs and colds.
Use as a facial steam for headaches.
These are just a few of the extensive traditional uses I found for basil.
Science has also been curious about basil. Basil has some pretty amazing antimicrobial actions it seems and has been extensively studied for use with antibiotic resistant strains of Salmonella spp., Escherichai coli O157, Campylobacter jejunii, and Clostridium perferingens. Who knew??(https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/life-science/nutrition-research/learning-center/plant-profiler/ocimum-basilicum.html) and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167701203000125 among others
Basil has also been studied for its anti-inflammatory effects. It seems that basil binds to a receptor that may protect against Crohn's disease and other inflammatory digestive diseases as well as rheumatiod arthritis. https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/anti-inflammatory-compound-from-cannabis-found-in-herbs/3000367.article
So how do you use this lovely and healthful herb at home? Pesto! Caprese Salads! Just toss it in some pasta for a delicious meal that is Oh so healthful! Here is a pesto recipe to get you started!
So, opt for the caprese with a side of pesto!
Here is a recipe for pesto from Simply Recipes.com:
Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
2 While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor.
Stir in some salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Toss with pasta for a quick sauce, dollop over baked potatoes, or spread onto crackers or toasted slices of bread.
from Simply Recipes ~ http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/fresh_basil_pesto/
Welcome to the Mamma Moon Blog.
We discuss Herbs, the Science of Herbs and Aromatherapy. I also draw a Card of the Day.
Grab a cup of tea or wine and enjoy. Feel free to participate. ~Mamma Moon