Fresh basil is used primarily as a fresh herb in cooking. When served with tomatoes, it develops its characteristic flavor. However, it is also used as a medicinal plant. Basil not only promotes digestion, but also calms our nerves and helps relieve migraines.
From Wikipedia: “Basil (Ocimum basilicum), also called great basil or Saint-Joseph's-wort, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints). It is also called the "king of herbs" and the "royal herb". The name "basil" comes from Greek βασιλικόν φυτόν (basilikón phutón), "royal/kingly plant".”
“The various basils have such different scents because the herb has a number of different essential oils that come together in different proportions for various breeds. The strong clove scent of sweet basil is derived from eugenol, the same chemical as actual cloves. The citrus scent of lemon basil and lime basil reflects their higher portion of citral, which causes this effect in several plants including lemon mint, and of limonene, which gives actual lemon peel its scent. African blue basil has a strong camphor smell because it contains camphor and camphene in higher proportions. Licorice basil contains anethole, the same chemical that makes anise smell like licorice, and in fact is sometimes called "anise basil." ”
See the link above for other chemicals that help to produce the scents of many other types of basils.
“Basil is most commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. In general, it is added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor. The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. The dried herb also loses most of its flavor, and what little flavor remains tastes very different, with a weak coumarin flavor, like hay.
Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto—a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce. ... The leaves are not the only part of basil used in culinary applications, the flower buds have a more subtle flavor and they are edible.”
“As a medicinal plant, it is known as Basilici herba (lat.: of the basil herb or plant). Basil is also used in folk medicine, in particular, in the Mediterranean region, to treat loss of appetite (stomachicum) and bloating and gas (carminative), and is sometimes also used as a diuretic, lactagogue, and for gargling in cases of pharyngitis.
The essential oil has anthelmintic (deworming) and antiphlogistic (anti-inflammatory) properties and inhibits the development of stomach ulcers.*”
“Basil is possibly native to India, and has been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. It was thoroughly familiar to the Greek authors Theophrastus and Dioscorides. It is a hardy annual plant, best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in Southeast Asian cuisines of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Taiwan.”
“Basil has religious significance in the Greek Orthodox Church, where it is used to sprinkle holy water. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Macedonian Orthodox Church and Romanian Orthodox Church use basil (Bulgarian and Macedonian: босилек; Romanian: busuioc, Serbian: босиљак) to prepare holy water and pots of basil are often placed below church altars.
In Europe, basil is placed in the hands of the dead to ensure a safe journey. In India, they place it in the mouth of the dying to ensure they reach God. The ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks believed it would open the gates of heaven for a person passing on.”
Note (italics): * = Translation from a German Wikipedia entry
|Nutritional Information per 100g||2000 kCal|
|Saturated Fats||0.04 g||0.2%|
|Carbohydrates (inc.dietary fiber)||2.6 g||1.0%|
|Protein (albumin)||3.2 g||6.3%|
|Cooking Salt (Na:4.0 mg)||10 mg||0.4%|
|Essential Nutrients per 100g with %-share Daily Requirement at 2000 kCal|
|Vit||Vitamin K||415 µg||553.0%|
|Min||Manganese, Mn||1.1 mg||57.0%|
|Min||Copper, Cu||0.38 mg||39.0%|
|Vit||Folate, as the active form of folic acid (née vitamin B9 and B11)||68 µg||34.0%|
|Vit||Vitamin A, as RAE||264 µg||33.0%|
|Min||Iron, Fe||3.2 mg||23.0%|
|Vit||Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)||18 mg||23.0%|
|Elem||Calcium, Ca||177 mg||22.0%|
|Elem||Magnesium, Mg||64 mg||17.0%|
|Prot||Tryptophan (Trp, W)||0.04 g||16.0%|
The majority of the nutritional information comes from the USDA (US Department of Agriculture). This means that the information for natural products is often incomplete or only given within broader categories, whereas in most cases products made from these have more complete information displayed.
If we take flaxseed, for example, the important essential amino acid ALA (omega-3) is only included in an overarching category whereas for flaxseed oil ALA is listed specifically. In time, we will be able to change this, but it will require a lot of work. An “i” appears behind ingredients that have been adjusted and an explanation appears when you hover over this symbol.
For Erb Muesli, the original calculations resulted in 48 % of the daily requirement of ALA — but with the correction, we see that the muesli actually covers >100 % of the necessary recommendation for the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Our goal is to eventually be able to compare the nutritional value of our recipes with those that are used in conventional western lifestyles.
|Essential amino acids||2000 kCal|
|Tryptophan (Trp, W)||0.04 g||16.0%|
|Threonine (Thr, T)||0.1 g||11.0%|
|Isoleucine (Ile, I)||0.1 g||8.0%|
|Leucine (Leu, L)||0.19 g||8.0%|
|Phenylalanine (Phe, F)||0.13 g||8.0%|
|Valine (Val, V)||0.13 g||8.0%|
|Lysine (Lys, K)||0.11 g||6.0%|
|Methionine (Met, M)||0.04 g||4.0%|
|Vitamin K||415 µg||553.0%|
|Folate, as the active form of folic acid (née vitamin B9 and B11)||68 µg||34.0%|
|Vitamin A, as RAE||264 µg||33.0%|
|Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)||18 mg||23.0%|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||0.16 mg||11.0%|
|Vitamin E, as a-TEs||0.8 mg||7.0%|
|Niacin (née vitamin B3)||0.9 mg||6.0%|
|Riboflavin (vitamin B2)||0.08 mg||5.0%|
|Thiamine (vitamin B1)||0.03 mg||3.0%|
|Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)||0.21 mg||3.0%|
|Vitamin D||0 µg||< 0.1%|
|Essential macroelements (macronutrients)||2000 kCal|
|Calcium, Ca||177 mg||22.0%|
|Magnesium, Mg||64 mg||17.0%|
|Potassium, K||295 mg||15.0%|
|Phosphorus, P||56 mg||8.0%|
|Sodium, Na||4 mg||1.0%|
|Essential trace elements (micronutrients)||2000 kCal|
|Manganese, Mn||1.1 mg||57.0%|
|Copper, Cu||0.38 mg||39.0%|
|Iron, Fe||3.2 mg||23.0%|
|Zinc, Zn||0.81 mg||8.0%|
|Selenium, Se||0.3 µg||1.0%|