Basil for Everything

Written by Judi Singleton

Continued from page 1

Basil's folklore is as complex as its flavor and aromas. In terms of its legend and symbolism, basil has been both loved and feared. Its associations include such polar opposites as love and hate, danger and protection, and life and death.

The generic name, Ocimum, derives fromrepparttar ancient Greek word, okimon, meaning smell (21, 24, 79), which suggestsrepparttar 144258 impressive nature of basil's fragrance. The specific epithet, basilicum, is Latin for basilikon, which means kingly/royal in Greek (21, 24, 79). Henry Beston, in Herbs ofrepparttar 144259 Earth, suggests that basil was so named forrepparttar 144260 regal "Tyrian" purple color [of its flowers] (11). According to Parkinson, basil's scent was "fit for a king's house" (35). Many authors suggest that basil's negative associations stem fromrepparttar 144261 similarity of its Latin specific epithet, basilicum, torepparttar 144262 name ofrepparttar 144263 basilisk (or basilicus),repparttar 144264 mythical serpent withrepparttar 144265 lethal gaze.

According to Helen Noyes Webster's 1936 Herbarist article,repparttar 144266 first mention of basil was by Chrysippus (pre-206 B.C.E.): "Ocimum exists only to drive men insane" (78, 82). In his seventeenth-century herbal, Parkinson claimed basil could be used "to procure a cheereful and merry heart" (66). Gerard praised basil as a remedy for melancholy but also repeated Dioscorides' warning that too much basil "dullethrepparttar 144267 sight…and is of a hard digestion" (33). Culpeper and Gerard claimed basil would cure scorpion and bee stings, and Gerard mentioned that basil could spontaneously generate worms if chewed and left inrepparttar 144268 sun (19, 33). Basil was also reputed to causerepparttar 144269 spontaneous generation of scorpions and to cause scorpions to grow inrepparttar 144270 brain (19, 35). This connection with scorpions persists to this day in basil's association withrepparttar 144271 astrological sign, Scorpio (69). Culpeper sums uprepparttar 144272 disagreement among ancient writers by deeming basil "the Herb which all Authors are together byrepparttar 144273 Ears about, and rail at one another like Lawyers" (19).

Medically, basil has been used as a sedative, an expectorant, and a laxative but it is not used much in herbal preparations today. Still, adding basil leaves to food is an aid to digestion. The essential oil of basil is used to treat skin conditions such as acne. basil has a long history as a medicinal herb. The Greek physician Dioscorides prescribed basil for headache. Pliny thought it was an aphrodisiac; his contemporaries fed it to horses duringrepparttar 144274 breeding season. In modern aromatherapy, basil is used to cheerrepparttar 144275 heart and mind. The sweet, energizing aroma seems to help relieve sorrow and melancholy. Growing Basil Folklore holds that you have to curserepparttar 144276 ground as you sow basil for it to grow well, but you can foregorepparttar 144277 cussing and still grow basil successfully. Its main requirements are sun and heat.

---History---The derivation ofrepparttar 144278 name Basil is uncertain. Some authorities say it comes fromrepparttar 144279 Greek basileus, a king, because, as Parkinson says, 'the smell thereof is so excellent that it is fit for a king's house,' or it may have been termed royal, because it was used in some regal unguent or medicine. One rather unlikely theory is that it is shortened from basilisk, a fabulous creature that could kill with a look. This theory may be based on a strange old superstition that connectedrepparttar 144280 plant with scorpions. Parkinson tells us that 'being gently handled it gave a pleasant smell but being hardly wrung and bruised would breed scorpions. It is also observed that scorpions doe much rest and abide under these pots and vessells wherein Basil is planted.' It was generally believed that if a sprig of Basil were left under a pot it would in time turn to a scorpion. Superstition went so far as to affirm that even smellingrepparttar 144281 plant might bring a scorpion intorepparttar 144282 brain. Carry it in your pocket and it brings money to your business..Ahh, let's see..Plant basil on your property and it keeps goats away and keeps you from becoming inebriated...It was also thougt to be a soother of tempers...if that were true, parents of teenagers should probably have a lot of it around... and witches were suppose to drink 1/2 cup of basil juice before they took torepparttar 144283 air. For anyone out there who is a witch, this is not to make fun of your belief...It is just some things I read and thought were kind of cute ( for lack of a better word.) In Romania if a young lady offers a young man a sprig of basil, and he accepts, they are officially engaged. In Haiti, basil is thought to belong torepparttar 144284 goddess Erzulierepparttar 144285 voodoo goddess of love. In Italy, basil is thought of as a sign of love. At one time young girls would place some on their windowsill to indicate they were looking for a suitor. In Tudor times, small pots of this were given by farmers' wives to visitors as parting gifts. It is also reputed that any man will fall in love with a woman from whom he accepts some basil from as a gift. Culpepper says: 'Being applied torepparttar 144286 place bitten by venomous beasts, or stung by a wasp or hornet, it speedily drawsrepparttar 144287 poison to it. - Every like draws its like. Mizaldus affirms, that being laid to rot in horse-dung, it will breed venomous beasts. Hilarius, a French physician, affirms upon his own knowledge, that an acquaintance of his, by common smelling to it, had a scorpion breed in his brain.' If you're looking for a lot of basil recipes, I recommend picking up "The Basil Book" by Marilyn Hampstead (ISBN 0-671-50685-4). Marilyn runs an annual basil festival at her herb farm. This isrepparttar 144288 largest collection of pesto recipes that I've seen. References HarperCollins Practical Gardener: Kitchen Garden : What to Grow and How to Grow It by Lucy Peel The Medicinal Garden: How to Grow and Use Your Own Medicinal Herbs by Anne McIntyre What Herb Is That?: How to Grow and Userepparttar 144289 Culinary Herbs by John Hemphill, Rosemary Hemphill Food Folklore : Tales and Truths About What We Eat (The Nutrition Now Series) by Roberta Larson Duyff (Paperback) The Meaning of Herbs: Myth, Language & Lore by Gretchen Scoble, Ann Fiery Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (Llewellyn's Sourcebook Series) by Scott Cunningham (Paperback) Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Claire Kowalchik (Editor), William H. Hylton (Editor) (Paperback) Books: The Green Pharmacy : The Ultimate Compendium Of Natural Remedies From The World's Foremost Authority On Healing Herbs (Green Pharmacy) by James A. Duke

Judi Singleton publishes ten blogs a week if you like this article please go to and read other articles by her.

About Window Ledge Gardening

Written by Balaji B

Continued from page 1

Suitable Window Ledge Plants for a Summer Display

Here again much information can be gained by visitingrepparttar public parks in summer, and making notes ofrepparttar 143884 plants used for fillingrepparttar 143885 flower beds... from florists shops many ofrepparttar 143886 plants given inrepparttar 143887 following list will be readily obtainable. For example :

Ageratum houstonianum (mexicanum)

This is easily recognised by its compact, upright stems which bear small tufts of blue, fluffy flowers. There are numerous varieties in different shades of blue. The plants are compact andrepparttar 143888 bedding varieties range in height from 4-9 inches.

Lobularia maritima (Alyssutn maritimum)

Commonly calledrepparttar 143889 white or sweet alyssum, this plant is used extensively for edging and carpeting flower beds. The variety Little Dorrit isrepparttar 143890 most popular. It grows 2-4 inches in height and forms a compact mass of white, sweetly-scented flowers. Lilac Queen and Violet Queen are two excellent varieties of recent introduction.

For edging,repparttar 143891 variety Magic Carpet, which has a creeping habit, and forms a profusion of small blooms in many shades of colours, is most attractive.

Begonia semperflorens

For freedom of flowering and for providing a continuous display in summerrepparttar 143892 varieties of this species of Begonia are unexcelled. The plants grow about 6 inches tall and produce masses of flowers of various shades of red or pink.

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