Friday, August 13, 2010

Smell here the aromatic Sweet Basil!

In my school age days I was sent by my sister to buy Sabza seeds at groceries shop. She used the seeds to reduce her body heat. She soaked them in water overnight before drinking it on the next morning. I used to peep into the tumbler to see the wonder that the water in it had disappeared and that the seeds then had a white mucilaginous covering. The seeds also became sliding on the tongue and palate! I later found that these seeds are that of the Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum, 'Thiruneetrupatchai' or 'Karunthulasi' in Tamil).

Unlike the Holy Basil ('Thulasi' in Tamil), it is not found here near farmlands. But it is found in forests, growing dense in groups. When I was trekking up the hills of 'Mahalinga Malai' to worship the God Siva, I identified this plant. I plucked a leaf of it and pressed it between finger tips and smelt. The aroma reminded me that of the camphor-smelling holy ash given at the Siva temples to wear on the forehead! Yes, the plant's leaves contain many aromatic chemicals in different proportions to give different scents - like that of cloves, cinnamon, lemon, anise, camphor and so on!
The plant is perennial and tropical, and is sensitive to cold weather. Clusters of flowers are seen on stalks that attract bees. The leaves are also used in the treatment of respiratory illnesses and pimples.
Sweet Basil is a wonder plant that is having both medicinal and aromatic properties to remember about in all of our lifetime!

Click on to read a related article in this blog:
The Hill of the Supreme Being!

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