Basilic : A Priceless Uplifter

"The smell of basil is good for the heart, it taketh away sorrowfulness, which commeth of melancholy and maketh a man merry and glad". (John Gerard)

History of Basil

The history of basil is shrouded in a kaleidoscope of age-old stories and legends. Basil derived its name from the Greek word word basileus, which means King. Back then, basil was extremely precious to the Greeks and it may have been used in its oil form to anoint kings. For that, basil has earned its reputation as the King of all fragrant plants. In the 16th century, Basil was grounded into powder form to be inhaled as a kind of tobacco. This was believed to cure ailments such as headaches and flu. The French were the earliest to distil basil into essential oils and this breakthrough was even recorded in the Lance Victor articles.

The legend surrounding basil is even more mysterious and interesting. A close observation of the Hindu God Vishnu will show basil held in its hand. Indians believe that basil was a gift which God bestowed on them and basil was thus regarded as a sacred plant that provided spiritual and physical protection to anyone who wore it. In fact, basil has its origins in India and spread to Europe in the 12th century. The Indians and Italians, who adore basil till today, use it as their favourite accessory to liven up the atmosphere during celebratory occasions. Indians also believe that growing basil in all corners of the house will bring much joy to the family. The juice of basil is also widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for its antiseptic properties and is suitable for meditation.

On the mystical side, Haitian merchants sprinkle their stores with basil soaked in water to chase away bad luck and attract customers.

In China, Basil is known as Luole and is used for stomach and kidney ailments. Ancient kun dramas in China refer to it as Jinbuhuan, which can be literally translated to mean "even gold can't exchange for it". During the Ching Dynasty in China, basil was an extremely rare herb reaped under incredibly barren conditions. For that, basil became so priceless that "even a thousand pieces of gold can't buy it". This was how basil also became popularly termed as "Thousand Layers Pagoda".

Ecology of Basil

Basil is an annual aromatic plant grown wild in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It has thin bushy stems that grow to about 30-60cm in height and the plant itself can grow to 20-50cm in length. Its leaves are ovate, entire or toothed and are purplish hued. The two-lipped flowers vary in color from white to pink.

The climate and environment variations in different countries has influenced the growth conditions of basil, resulting in over forty kinds of basil throughout the world today, all possessing various unique shapes, sizes, colours and smells. Some smell of a lemon fragrance whereas others exude a whiff of clove. Basil produced in Taiwan are categorised into those with purple stems and those with green stems. The most common leaf species is green in colour and emanates a rich flavour when crushed.

The truth is that basil also acts as a good interior plant. Many families in Europe and the United States like to place a few pots of basil at their windows. This is believed to drive away parasites and, since basil also doubles up as an indispensable supplement for various cuisines throughout the world, it undoubtedly comes in handy when one wishes to whip up a few dishes in the kitchen.

Basilic Health Notes

Basilic essential oils are distilled from the flower crowns or the leaves and are yellowish in colour. The refreshing smell of basilic is like a concoction of peppermint, thyme and licorice, which rejuvenates the mind and increases mental alertness. This is ideal to ease those suffering from depression, headaches, and migraines. With its piercing qualities that liken it to peppermint, basilic is useful as an expectorant to clear sinus congestion, coughs and asthma.

According to a well-known reference book on Chinese herbs, besides offering the main functions of eliminating bad temper and promoting good appetite, basilic is also an excellent remedy when it comes treating external and internal injuries, injuries from sports and ailments deriving from the muscle and bone system. Women may find basilic useful as it mimics natural estrogens and therefore can help regulate periods. With such an array of benefits, it comes as no surprise that basilic is a popular herb since ancient times. Modern science has also proven that basilic has the multiple functions of soothing nausea and digestive problems, curing various stomach ailments like cramps, gastric, vomiting, intestinal catarrh and constipation, killing germs, aiding in blood circulation, which is good for relieving muscle injuries and aches, purging perspiration and lowering the body's uric acid level to reduce cases of gout and arthritis.

Basilic oil can be applied to insect bites to soothe the wound and can at the same time double as an insect repellant, especially for mosquitoes.

Long-lasting Royalty-like Fragrance

From the past to the present, basilic has been the perfect health companion in our everyday life. The good news is that basilic is no longer a herb that "even a thousand pieces of gold can't buy". Bel'Air's basilic essential oils are extracted from the essence of the basil plant and have the additional elements of eucalyptus and peppermint, thus emanating a long-lasting royalty-like fragrance which is useful for soothing discomfort in the respiratory system and enhancing the functions of the heart and the lung. Using basilic essential oils frequently can aid in metabolism and adjust your physique such that you feel great! The benefits will be even more obvious when you use it together with Bel'Air bio-tech vapourisaton methods.

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