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Purple Basil

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Purple Basil

Growing Information:

Purple Basil


SOWING TIME: After last frost

SEEDING METHOD: Direct or Transplant





Cultivated as a culinary herb, condiment or spice; source of essential oil for use in foods, flavors, and fragrances; garden ornamental. The green aromatic leaves are used fresh and dried as flavorings or spices in sauces, stews, salad dressings, vegetables, poultry, vinegar, confectionery products, and the liqueur chartreuse. Basil extract has been reported to have antioxidant activity. Cultivars with purple foliage, such as 'Dark Opal' and var. auranascens, are grown as ornamentals, but can also be used as flavorings. The essential oils and oleoresin are used extensively, reducing the need for dried leaves in the food industry; used in perfumes, soaps, and shampoos.

Basil is cultivated for the freshmarket as a culinary herb, as a condiment or spice in the dried/frozen leaf form, and as a source of aromatic essential oil for use in foods, flavors, and fragrances and as a potted herb and bedding plant. As a fresh or dried market herb, the main type traded includes the large leaf highly aromatic French or Italian basil, though several other types which differ in leaf shape and aroma are of commercial importance in the fresh market industry (i.e. basils with lemon, licorice or cinnamon aroma).

Purple Basil

The benefits of Basil

Rich in flavonoids, basil is an herb that is effective in preventing cell damage from both radiation and oxygen. Two of the main flavonoids are "orientin" and "vicenin". Experiments have shown that these flavonoids, though, did not provide protection for tumors treated with radiation therapy.

The volatile oils of basil, inhibit bacterial growth. These oils include, estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene. The essential oils from basil have shown an ability to combat some pathogenic bacterium that have become resistant to treatment from antibiotics. A solution containing just 1% of the oil of basil can be used to rinse vegetables to kill infectious bacteria that cause diarrhea. Some dietitians recommend adding basil to salad dressings in order to help ensure safety when eating salads.

Basil also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, making it a good food to consume by people who have problems with arthritis. It does this in a manner similar to aspirin. An oil in basil called eugenol blocks the activity of an enzyme in the body called cyclooxygenase. The enzyme would normally cause swelling.

Basil is a source for Vitamin K, iron, calcium, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C, and potassium. It is good for the heart, because it helps to prevent build-up in the arteries and fights free radicals. The magnesium helps blood vessels to relax which increases blood circulation.

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