Herbs: Basil, Borage



Subject: Basil

Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 23:20:46 +0100 ***

COMMON NAME (English/German): Basil/Basilikum
LATIN NAME: Ocimum Basilicum
TYPE OF PLANT: Annual--leafy, aromatic

SYMBOLISM: In Italy, basil is a symbol of love.

MYTHS/LEGENDS: Some say it is the food of the basilisk, a legendary or mythological reptile who could kill with a glance or a breath. (And who sometimes resides in the Chamber of Secrets!)

MAGICKAL: In India, it is a sacred herb dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna.
MEDICINAL: good for digestive complaints (cramps, vomiting, constipation). An after dinner cup of basil tea (1 tsp. dried leaves steeped in a cup of boiled water) aids digestion and gas problems.
bath: stimulating
cosmetic: can be used in lotions, shampoos, and soaps; adds luster to hair

EDIBLE: Best to use fresh leaves, cooked or raw, with veal, lamb, fish, poultry, white beans, pasta, rice, tomatoes, cheese, eggs; with veggies: zucchini, squash, eggplant, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, spinach. Blends well with garlic, thyme, lemon. If using it to flavor vinegar, use white vinegar.
    Note: If freezing pesto, leave out the garlic until you are ready to use the sauce, because it will turn bitter.


HARVESTING AND STORAGE: Cut sprigs when flower buds form and before they have opened. Basil can be dried and stored in tightly sealed containers. It is best stored in an oil, vinegar, or frozen paste. Note that if you are freezing pesto, omit the garlic until you're ready to use the sauce, because garlic may become bitter after three months.

ETC.: Lemon basil and opal basil are good for potpourri. Sweet basil or purple basil can be added to fresh flower bouquets for both attractiveness and scent.

Subject: Journal: Borage

Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 23:21:11 +0100 ***


COMMON NAME (English/German): Borage/?
LATIN NAME: Borago officinalis
TYPE OF PLANT: annual--tall (2-3 ft) with beautiful blue flowers


MYTHS/LEGENDS: Ancient warriors preparing for battle drank wine flavored with borage to give them courage. Pliny (the Roman Elder) believed borage to be an anti-depressant. Sir Francis Bacon wrote: "The leaf of Burrage hath an excellent spirit to repress the fuliginous vapour of dusky melancholie." According to an old wives' tale, borage was sometimes smuggled into the drink of prospective husbands to give them the courage to propose marriage.

MEDICINAL: Generally held to relieve fevers, bronchitis and diarrhea. Cooling, soothing poultices relieve external swellings and inflammations. Diuretic.

EDIBLE: Fresh leaves can be used like spinach, stems like celery; enhances cheese, fish, poultry, most veggies, green salads, iced beverages, salad dressings and especially soups. Blends well with dill, mint or garlic.

CULTIVATION: Readily reseeds itself year after year and grows like a weed.

HARVESTING AND STORAGE: Borage is unacceptable when dried and frozen. The only way to store it for the long-term is in a flavored vinegar.

ETC.: Only useable when fresh. Attracts bees galore.

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***Excerpted from my original contributions to an online discussion graciously sponsored by Dracona Pagan Web. {back}