Basil, also called great basil, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae. Basil is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia. It is a tender plant, and is used in cuisines
Basil is an herb in the mint family. It adds flavor to meals, and its nutrients may provide health benefits.
Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) plays a role in many Mediterranean, and particularly Italian, cuisines. It forms the basis of pesto and adds a distinctive flavor to salads, pasta, pizza, and other dishes. Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines also feature this herb.
Sweet basil is available in many grocery stores, while other varieties have different tastes and fragrances.
Another type of basil is tulsi, or holy basil (Ocimum santum). This plant plays a therapeutic role in Tamil and Ayurvedic medicines, which are predominantly practiced in Southeast Asia. This is different from sweet basil.
In this article, learn more about the health benefits and nutritional contents of basil, and find some tips on how to include it in the diet.