Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Aromatic herbs - Holy Basil & Lime Basil

There are two different varieties of plants in my backyard that grow by themselves and have aromatic leaves in common. Both of them have medicinal properties and are very popular in India. What are they?
Holy Basil and American Lime Basil. Yes, they have also some different and distinct properties.

Holy Basil ('Thulasi' in Tamil, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Ocimum sanctum) is a perennial herb growing up to one foot on rain fed grounds and to about two feet on watered lands. If you pluck a leaf and smell it gives a strong aroma at summertime but lesser at monsoon. The flowers are small and white with a purple tinge. Seeds are minute. It grows better and easily from transplanted twigs rather than from its seeds. Entire plant is used for its medicinal properties. In ancient scripts it is said to have elixir of life for promoting longevity. It has been now found to contain antioxidants that could repair the cells damaged by radiation exposure. The plant is important for Hindus worshiping Lord VIshnu (Vaishnavas). It is grown in each of their home and worshiped.
American Lime Basil ('Pachillai' in Tamil, Ocimum americanum L) is an annual herb. It is seen to have grown fully with much foliage at monsoon season. Its leaves are larger and have lime-like aroma all throughout its life. Flowers are white and are borne in inflorescence. They produce black seeds that are larger than that of the holy basil. These seeds can be separated out by crushing the brownish inflorescence between palms. They can be seen to swell up in water with a thick white slimy outer coating. This basil's seeds are called 'sabja' (in market) and are useful in the treatment of indigestion and for menstrual regulation. The leaves of the herb are also used in the treatment of a variety of illnesses.

These two medicinal herbs are the
wonder plants in the Nature that are remembered well with their aroma that gives us fresh mind each time we smell!

Related post in this blog:
Smell here the aromatic Sweet Basil!

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