August 11, 2008

Basil ~ Materia Medica and Unconventional Usage

Mmmm, basil :) I planted a lot of basil this year (too much?) and am now fully involved, as Shawna said, in "sexually frustrating my basil." I hate wasting those fragrant blossoms, and the tiny leaves that come with them. So, I have been cooking with basil flowers, and adding them to really awesome teas. By themselves, they are divine, and as a compliment, they are unequaled. Today's tea is simple - basil blossoms muddled slightly in my mortar and pestle, add hot water. Wow.

Let's see, I promised unconventional uses, didn't I? In Belize, Rosita taught us the magic of Spiritual Bathing. That's one of the reasons I planted so much basil, actually. For my spiritual baths. The Maya call Basil Ca-cal-tun, and it is used in baths "to cure spiritual ailments such as susto, envy, grief and evil magic." Basil, Rue and Marigold are a powerful combination for this kind of therapy. Their gifts go deep, and I find them to be invaluable allies.

I have more plans for those lovely flowers. On the docket are: infused oil, infused vinegar and tincture. I have visions of using the oil in a lovely bug repellent recipe next year.

Watch at the market for fresh snipped basil to put in your pasta!

Ocimum basilicum; Labiatae

Common names ~ Basil, sweet basil, garden basil

Part used ~ aerial parts

Dosages: Tincture ~ 10-30 drops, Tea ~ standard infusion

Vitalist Actions and Energetics ~ spicy, warm

Meridians / Organs affected ~ lungs, stomach

Clinical Actions (properties) ~ diaphoretic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, carminative, stomachic, galactagogue, aromatic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic

Biochemical Actions ~ antimicrobial, choleretic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic

Primary uses

Internal ~ fevers, colds, flu, stomach cramps, vomiting, indigestion, intestinal catarrh, constipation, enteritis, whooping cough, headaches and menstrual pains, loss of appetite, nonulcer dyspepsia, minor inflammations of the GI tract, genitourinary tract, and upper respiratory tract. flatulence, colic, nausea, nervous irritability, fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety, epilepsy, migraine

External ~ as mouthwash or gargle for inflammation of the mouth and throat, as mouthwash or chewing for bad breath, as wet compress, poultice or ointment for wounds and as a hair rinse for hair loss, insect repellent, insect bites

Cautions ~ not to be used during pregnancy or lactation

Arvigo, Rosita and Balick, Michael ~ Rainforest Remedies
Chevalier, Andrew ~ Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine
Tierra, Michael ~ Planetary Herbology
Skenderi ~ Herbal Vade Mecum

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