Among the most aromatic of herbs is the basil. One variety of this herb--ocimum sanctum--has for centuries been regarded as holy, in India. Belonging to the family 'labiatae' it is not more than 25cm to 50cm in height. Native to India, south-east Asia,Iran, and the north-eastern parts of Africa, it is widely cultivated for its oil and medicinal properties. The plant has several branches covered with fine hairs. The flowers are tiny: white with a little purple. In India it is known as 'tulsi' meaning the incomparable one. Hindus worship the plant and the epics are full of the miraculous and sacred events connected with the different species of basil. It is said that even snakes dare not enter a house which has the plant at its door!
The leaves are used for treating common colds, headaches, poisoning and stomach disorders. It also acts as a deterrent to mosquitoes, insects and bacteria. Since the leaves have antiseptic properties, a paste made by crushing the leaves, can be applied to wounds, which then heal quickly. According to Ayurvedic literature, the crushed roots applied to a snake bite or scorpion sting, brings relief to the victim and also nullifies the poison. Personally, I love the freshness of the smell that you get as you pass by the plant. The little doses of zing--on a sunny or a cloudy day-- and I have them in several pots around my yard.
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau