Basil is a very fragrant plant with bitter taste. Its scent is similar to the scent of carnation or nutmeg. We use fresh or dried leaves of basil. Recently basil has become very popular in Latvia.
Basil contains 1,5% of essential oils, 6% of tannin, glycosides, and saponines. The essential oils of basil are known to have a bactericide effect. In folk-medicine basil is used to cure meteorism, inflammation of urinal bladder or to rinse wounds. It can be added to herbal bathes.
This spice has a very wide range of use. It can be added to vegetable dishes, fresh salads, pastas, soups, sauces, pizzas, egg dishes, and to cucumber and marrow marinades. Fresh leaves are used as garnish or vinegar flavouring. Basil is extensively used in Italian cuisine.
Basil is a basic spice in the cuisines of Southern Europe, India and the United States.