(Editor’s note: Today we have another guest post from Mrs. TPL. Sometimes known as “Monkey Momma 5,” she home-schools the kids and has many other important duties as the domestic engineer. I like to grow herbs (like basil) to give her to cook with. She is a superior cook, and so she’s going to talk about using culinary herbs for cleaning and health as well as for cooking. The best way to get these herbs is to get them fresh, by growing them at home. So make sure you put some herbs in your permaculture food forest!)
Basil…yummy…one of my favorite herbs for cooking. I love the way my garden, hands, and kitchen smell in the summer when I have been picking my basil. I love a sandwich with turkey bacon, fresh juicy tomato and basil leaves; it makes my mouth water just thinking of it.
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Basil is also good for a number of medicinal purposes. Its healing properties include:
- stimulates the adrenal cortex
- prevents vomiting (in some cases)
- soothes itching
Studies have found it can reduce inflammation up to 73%.
Basil works to block the same enzymes that NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) do, like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). This amount of inflammation reduction is on par with commonly used arthritis medication. It makes a much more pleasant smelling sports rub, in my opinion.
Rubbing bruised leaves into fresh insect bites reduces itching and inflammation.
You can also combine the juice of the leaves with an equal quantity of honey and use for ringworm and itching skin.
Basil smells of summer and green, with clear blue-sky fresh days, it’s no wonder the plant makes such an uplifting tonic for the spirit.
Some people think it helps to “ground a restless spirit”, and to increase monogamous intimacy.
- 5 drops basil essential oil
- 3 drops peppermint essential oil
- 3 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
Add to a carrier oil and rub into sore muscles.
Similar to the above mix but uses the leaves instead of essential oils.
This is good if someone is having a hard time with a traditional digestive helper like ginger.
1 teaspoon each, finely minced:
- Basil leaves
- peppermint leaves
- Chamomile flower
Using water just off boiling, brew into a tea.
If the peppermint bothers your tummy, replace peppermint with grapefruit or lemon balm.
Mental alertness & clarity and well-being
Essential oil blend, using equal portions according to your diffuser (2-3 drops or so).
- Sweet orange
Add to a diffuser. You can play around with the ratio between oils depending on your preferences.
I love this blend during school hours.
Sweet Basil Balm
For hard-to-heal blisters and minor burns:
- 8 fresh sweet basil leaves
- 1/8 tsp apricot kernel oil
- sterile cotton gauze
- surgical tape
Rinse the sweet basil leaves under cold water, pat dry, and mince the leaves.
In a small glass bowl, combine the basil and the apricot kernel oil.
Mash to form a smooth paste.
Cut two rectangular strips of gauze large enough to cover the injury, plus an extra inch all around.
Spread an even layer of the basil paste on the surface of one of the gauze strips, leaving an inch around the edges free to accommodate the surgical tape.
Place the clean strip of gauze on top.
Fasten the poultice to the injured area with surgical tape.
Keep the balm on the injury for at least 2 hours. Remove and discard.
Re-bandage with plain gauze for the next 24 hours to keep clean.
Add 5-10 basil essential oil drops to either baking soda or epsom salts (a cup or so depending on size of your tub), before adding to the tub.
Use this bath for nervous exhaustion, mental fatigue, melancholy, or uneasiness.
Psoriasis Relief Treatment
- 1 anise, cut into pieces
- 3 cups water
- 1 Tbsp basil
- 1 Tbsp parsley
- 1 cup steeped black tea
In a blender, mix anise on medium speed until smooth.
In a small saucepan, heat water basil and parsley until boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool.
Mix liquid with anise and tea in small mixing bowl.
If you don’t want herbs in the final mixture, filter them out before using liquid.
Apply mixture with a clean cloth to psoriasis-affected areas every 30 minutes for 2 hours every night.
Cover and refrigerate. Makes 2 cups.
Discard after 5 days.
Basil is a delicious, multi-use herb that belongs in every kitchen garden. It is used to heal and calm.
Try the different varieties and flavors of basil. There’s even a chocolate basil!
If you’d like to know more ways to live better, we’ve partnered with Claire Goodall to offer the Everyday Roots ebook. It’s over 350 pages of home remedies, natural beauty recipes, and DIY household products.
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OK, that’s all folks! Do you have any questions or comments about herbs for health, cooking with herbs, sustainable homesteading, permaculture design or anything else? Ask your question down below and let’s talk! You can also use the contact form, or email me at info at thepermaculture dot life.
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