sPOTLIGHT iNGREDIENT: bASIL
tODAYS sPOTLIGHT iNGREDIENT - bASIL
Originally native to India, basil may actually be best known as a seasoning in Italian cuisine. There are several varieties and hybrids of basil cultivated worldwide, with Ocimum basilicum being one of the most common species used. Sweet basil, or common basil, has a sweet and slightly pungent flavor imparting herbaceous, savory notes to soups, sauces, stews, and pasta dishes. Basil leaf can also be infused in herbal tea blend.
The varieties of basil are nearly endless, with different cultivars providing a slightly different product within the same species due to hybridization and growing conditions. Generally speaking, the herb is sweet, slightly minty and slightly peppery. Basil grows best outdoors in a warm, sunny environment as a garden herb, and can also be potted and grown in a window with plenty of sun. Basil is sensitive to cold and will grow as an annual in regions that frost during the winter. Due to its environmental sensitivity, the herb should be planted in late spring or early summer after the risk of frosting has passed.
Basil is well known for its sweet aroma and the fresh, delicious flavor that it lends to food. Basil is traditionally used to spice up pasta, proteins, soups and sauces. It is the key ingredient of pesto sauce, where it is mixed with hard cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil. As a flavoring agent, basil is best added at the end of cooking as the intense heat will quickly deteriorate its characteristic taste and aroma.
Aiding its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, basil helps prevent acne. Basil is also an excellent pore cleanser since it contains natural oils that help act as a natural cleanser and remove surplus oil and impurities. It also soothes and calms the skin, swelling and pain that may come with acne.
Holy basil prevents hair loss by strengthening the hair follicles. It also treats dandruff and itching and prevents premature graying of hair.
Basil leaf is extremely beneficial to speed up hair growth. The use of basil leaf improves scalp circulation, that stimulates hair follicles and promotes the production of new healthy hair all over again.
- Danielle Lasit