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Basil: Meet Amazing Herb with Powerful Properties

Basil, the herb that stands out for its noble presence and the richness of its flavours and aromas. Among our organic herbs, basil is known for the strong character it imparts to every dish and enhances it with its outstanding freshness. Get ready for a journey into a world of taste, quality and purity through tofillo organic products.

“Discover in the following article the multiple properties and health benefits of basil, as well as its uses”

Basil is one of the most popular plants

Scientifically known as Ocimum basilicum, it is one of the most popular herbs in world cuisine. More specifically, its characteristic aroma with a specific sense of freshness offers a unique taste experience. It is an herbaceous plant, perennial with rich aromatic foliage and small flowers. It belongs to the Lamiaceae family and has its roots in India and the tropical zone of Africa and Asia.


Photo: pixabay


Its beneficial properties according to tradition

Basil is known for the wonderful aroma and flavour it imparts in cooking. But how many people know its properties? In traditional medicine, its use is to treat headaches, diarrhea, coughs, kidney dysfunction, and it also has cardiotonic effects. At the same time, since ancient times people have used it as an insect repellent besides as a tea.


What are the ingredients of basil

There are many varieties of basil and each of them differs in the size, colour and texture of the leaves, the colour of the inflorescence and the composition of the essential oils. Thus, the taste and smell vary from species to species, and so do the properties. In varying proportions, depending on the species, the essential oils of basil contain compounds such as linalool, eugenol, methyl chavicol, 1,8-cineole and myrcene. It also contains flavonoids, tannins, and vitamins A and C, offering aromatic, flavouring and medicinal properties.

The Story

Among other things, the history of the herb is very interesting. For Christians, basil is a sacred, blessed herb that takes its name from the Greek word “king”, that is, king, which in this case means Jesus Christ.

According to the Church Tradition, basil had grown in the place where the Holy Cross was buried and St. Helen discovered it thanks to its strong fragrance. At the same time, many say it has roots in India, where it was used in religious ceremonies. Later on, basil became known throughout the Mediterranean and thus took the leading role in Italian and Greek cuisine. Moreover, in English-speaking countries basil is also known as ‘St Joseph’s herb’.

Still, there are other myths regarding its origin.

Like that Alexander the Great brought the basil with him after their expedition to the Indies. The Greeks, however, did not hold the herb in high esteem. Because of its strong smell it attracted scorpions, so they considered it to be a kind of curse and a sign of death.

The Egyptians used basil, along with myrrh and frankincense, as a raw material in the embalming of dead pharaohs. For the Romans, on the other hand, it was the emblem of lovers. Dioscorides recommended the use of basil to treat dysuria, while its leaves were also suitable for treating insect and snake bites. Jewish folklore, believed to add strength, and in India, it is placed in the mouth of the deceased to ensure that it reaches God. Even today we know the age-old saying that “where there is basil, evil does not live”, meaning it brings good luck to a new household.

vasilikos dry - properties of basil - basil properties


Photo: YelenaYemchuk


Basil in cooking

In tofillo, basil is an important element of the cuisine, offering a variety of taste experiences. We use it in salads, sauces and pastes, giving it a fresh and intense character. It adds a delicious flavour to various roasts, salads, braised dishes, soups and is a great addition to sauces based on fresh tomatoes. Whether fresh or dried, we add it at the last minute to preserve its aroma and enhance our dishes. That’s why many cookery writers call it the “king of herbs”.

As for its varieties, as we already mentioned above, there are many! The ones we find in our country are mainly:

  • The sweet – flat leaf, which is the most commercial variety.
  • The Greek – thin-leaved basil, with the very small leaves that we usually see in pots and we caress the leaves for its wonderful aroma.
  • Mount Athos basil, which has dark violet-colored leaves and flowers.
  • Curly basil, with large and curly leaves.

Smelling our basil will awaken thousands of memories and scent new ones. Get the culinary herb here.

Basil’s properties : What are they?

Basil, known for its aroma and taste, is an herb with a rich history and important health benefits. Beyond its use in the kitchen, its beneficial properties include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions, making it valuable to our health.

Let’s take a closer look at its benefits:

  • Support for Digestion. Basil helps to facilitate digestion and may help to relieve digestive problems such as bloating and constipation.
  • It is a good diuretic
  • Relieves headache
  • Calms coughs
  • Helps with kidney dysfunction
  • Supports Heart Health. More specifically, some studies have shown that basil may have positive effects on heart health. This lowers risk factors such as high blood pressure.
  • Antioxidant properties. It contains antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids and phenols, which help protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. That is, essential oils of basil, such as eugenol, possess antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Thus making basil useful in the treatment of certain infections.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties. It can help reduce inflammation and pain, thanks to the natural anti-inflammatory compounds it contains.
  • It boosts mental health. Basil helps mental health by reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood and offering antidepressant and sedative properties.

Finally, through studies basil oil has shown antifungal and insect-repellent properties.


basil pesto - vasilikos dry - properties of basil - basil properties

Photo: los_angela


Basil: what’s its use?

Moreover, apart from its most famous use, that of cooking, basil can also be consumed as an aromatic herbal tea! A teaspoon of dried herb, a cup of hot water and 5 minutes is all it takes to make the perfect digestive drink. Perfect for drinking after our meal.

We use basil essential oil in perfumery, aromatherapy and also as an insect repellent.

Finally, many varieties, such as the leptophyllous here in Greece, are also available as ornamentals. Our grandmothers’ flower-filled verandas always contained a pot of basil, filling the images of our childhood with beautiful aromas!


In case of pregnancy and in women who are breastfeeding, we always recommend the advice of a doctor.


In conclusion, from its medicinal use to modern cooking, basil remains one of the most beloved herbs. We, tofillo, honour the importance and character of the herb by offering you a taste journey through our organic herbs. Discover the world of herbs here and in a unique tasting experience.

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