Scientific Name: (Ocimum basilicum)
As condiment, it can be used fresh or dried. But fresh basil is preferred as the dried herb loses much of its aroma. Fresh basil is used in soups and salads, stews with meat and vegetables, and dishes containing tomatoes, and in barbecue and sauces. It is the main ingredient in pesto and is popular in flavoring scrambled eggs, pizzas, pasta, chicken and grated cheese.
Its uses are not limited to medicinal purposes, rather, extracts of common basil can be found in cosmetics, and are mixed in liquors and fragrances as well.
For instance, in South Africa and in India, the rhizomes of the Balanoi plant are extracted and are used as mosquito repellant. This plant has also been found to aid people that suffer from various health ailments. Studies have shown that there are particular activities on which Balanoi plant extracts and oils address. For one, it serves as an anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medicine because of ethanol substance that it has. It has also been used as a stimulant, and has been found to be an effective means to remove cold sores.
In the Philippines, it is an option to alleviate pain caused by headaches, cramps, and even shortness of breath. The same goes true for sprains, and the way to do this is to rub the oil or the extract of the Balanoi plant leaves, mixed with alcohol, to the ailing part of the body. Balanoi also manifests anti-bacterial activities, in such a manner that intestinal worms are eradicated from the body when the ethanol extracts derived from it are taken in as a form of medication.
There have also been clinical experiments showing that balanoi extracts, especially its ethanol content, can be used as anti-cancer, anti-ulcer, anti-diabetic and even shows promise for the protection of humans from radiation.
Preparation of Balanoi as Herbal Medication:
There are several ways to prepare the plant for medication, depending on the nature for which it is going to be used. The amount of raw materials and extracts that are needed also vary depending on the use. When the balanoi leaves are to be used to stimulate the body, it is recommended for the individual to permeate about twenty (20) balanoi leaves with 200 grams of water, and three to four cups are supposed to be drank a day.
A combined weight of 40 grams basil leaves incorporated with 200 grams of water is to be used for gargling in order to remove cold sores. Health experts suggest that this be done three times every day, until the cold sores are gone. Now, for people who are suffering from shortness of breath, they are suggested to drink one glass of boiled balanoi leaves, consisting of twelve leaves mixed with one and a half liters of water, twice a day. Balanoi also helps regulate the women’s menstrual cycle, and if one is interested in this, they are supposed to prepare a mixture of 100 grams of balanoi leaves with a liter of water. It is recommended for people to drink four cups of this preparation several days before one’s expected period. As for its antibacterial purposes, ten grams of balanoi leaves fused with 100 grams of water should be boiled and drank a glass per day, during early mornings or when the person still has an empty stomach. Lastly, for the aid that it effects for pains caused by rheumatism, simple headache and occasional sprains, one should grind a concoction of balanoi, rosemary and ruta, in equal proportion. It should be rubbed to the ailing or throbbing part for eight days, the application of which may be continuous day and night.
Sweet Basil is belong to the family of Lamiaceae, grows to an erect length of 50 to 80 centimeters, the leaves of which are oval-shaped, and have slightly-toothed edges. The flowers are either white or purple.
Philippine Herbal Medicine