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King of Herbs pesto

March 22, 2010

Well, where do I start? Basil, this wonderful herb that grows so easily and so abundantly has some lovely stories about it in Shipard’s How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life? For a start, if you want to grow very strong and fragrant basil then the ancient Greek tradition was to shout and swear when sowing the seed! Other cultures have used basil as a token of love, of faithfulness, as a test of the pure of heart, as a way of warding off evil and attracting prosperity. Its proper name ‘basilicum’ is an abbreviation of basilikon phuton, Greek for kingly herb.

Some practical uses: for headaches, indigestion, bad breath, inflammation and joint pain, eczema, ringworm, bites, constipation, nausea, cramps, vomiting, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, diarrhea, to dispel intestinal worms, normalise the menstrual cycle, strengthen the brain, relieve fevers, cleanse the kidneys, bladder, spleen, and blood.

Basil tea is good for calming nerves and clearing tension and is a great remedy for use in times of shock or stress. I think I’ll start adding a few leaves to my evening lemon grass and geranium tea! Here’s a cold and flu remedy : strong basil tea (6 chopped leaves steeped in boiling water) with a little lemon juice, 1 tspn honey, a pinch of cinnamon and cloves to bring on a sweat, release mucous, and reduce fever and joint pain. For a headache, rub the leaves on your temples and a footbath can relieve or prevent a migraine. Crush a leaf and rub on a bee or wasp sting.

Basil is valued as an adaptogen, meaning that it increases your body’s natural resistance to stress and disease, and strengthens the immune system. Basil oil is valued in aromatherapy as a nerve tonic, to create alertness and concentration and to relieve respiratory-tract problems, digestive disorders, nausea and vomiting and headaches. So next time you’re reaching out for a panadol, head out into the garden and reach for a basil leaf instead – you never know, it might just work!

My sister has a forest of basil growing in her garden at the moment and we’ve got 4 strapping young soccer players from Japan staying with us so the kids and I made good old pesto tonight and it was devoured by all.

Here’s what we put it in:

a whole heap of basil leaves

lots of organic Australian garlic

ground up almonds (soaked and dehydrated to improve digestibility and activate the enzymes)

lots of good quality extra virgin olive oil

parmesan cheese
– we buy imported Italian Parmigiano Reggiano (brand Wattle Valley) from Coles because Italian cheese is made from raw milk. Not only does it taste gorgeous but you’re getting all the benefits of raw milk cheese. For me the benefits of raw milk take precedence over food milage.

sea salt

Blend it all up and voila! you have a beautiful enzyme rich dinner made from lots of raw ingredients. Delicious and healthy.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2010 6:58 am

    mmmmmmmmmmmmm I love pesto

  2. March 23, 2010 7:11 am

    mmmmmmm pesto is so good. sasha’s all-time favourite. we like it on sandwiches, toast, topped on risotto, everywhere!

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