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The magical properties and benefits of basil

The magical properties and benefits of basil

Everything you need to know about the benefits of basil. With over 5000 different varieties, basil is one of the most popular herbs in the world. Thai basil, Marseille basil, Genovese basil: each variety has its own unique taste! Find out more about its history, uses and benefits

The history of basil

Ocinum basilicum is a member of the large botanical family Lamiaceae, which also includes sage, thyme and lemon balm, and it’s been used and enjoyed for centuries. Its name comes from the Latin “basilicum” which means “royal”, itself derived from the Greek "basileús" meaning "king." Basil has long been dubbed the “royal herb”. In fact, it is considered a sacred plant in India, where this aromatic plant has been used for more than 4000 years. Used by the Egyptians, it arrived in Europe with Alexander the Great, who brought it back from his conquests in 330 BC. The herb has since gone on to flourish throughout the Mediterranean Basin, particularly in Italy. It’s also common in South-East Asia, where it takes on very different flavours: lemon, aniseed and even pepper. Some basils can even taste like cinnamon or mint.

Common basil works wonders in many recipes and has long been used as a traditional medicinal plant. Infusions are often made out of its dried leaves, too. In fact, the ancient Egyptians used basil during the mummification process due to its antibacterial properties that aided preservation.

Uses for basil in the kitchen

Cooking tends to remove the delicate taste of basil, so it’s best not to heat it. This is why it’s added to tomato-based sauces once they’re removed from the heat and Italian pesto is mixed straight into freshly cooked pasta. Its delicious flavour tastes great in a Provençal Summer Soup. Fats naturally enhance its flavour, and it works particularly well with olive oil. As aromatic oils can also be used as a garnish, the using basil oils (whether Marseille basil, Genovese basil or Thai basil) is always a great idea. It offers the perfect final touch to tomato salad, goat’s cheese, or Thai curry...

where to buy good quality basil oil?

to make good basil oil, you need two ingredients: premium olive oil and fresh basil picked when its leaves are at their juiciest! A l’Olivier combines these two ingredients to give you the intense, fresh taste of basil all year round. To create our delicious basil oil, we use no less than 85 g of basil per litre of olive oil. You’ll find the best basil oil on our website!