Basil is native to tropical regions from Central Africa to South-East Asia. All basils are part of the mint family, species of basil include: sweet basil, lemon basil, Italian or curly basil, holy basil, Thai basil, African blue basil (see image beneath) and lettuce-leaf basil. Basil was considered a cure for the deadly venom of the basilisk, a mythical creature hatched by a snake from a chicken's egg.
Eugenol present in basil leaves has anti-inflammatory properties, working in the digestive tract, this means it is a good treatment for a bloated feeling. The anti-inflammatory properties of basil may also help reduce risk of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions. Consumption of basil could also soothe fever, headache, sore throat, a colds, a cough and the flu. Basil also helps restore the body's proper pH level.
Basil is also used as a skin treatment. Pastes made from the leaves are said to be good for cleaning blocked pores and for treating oily skin. The essential oil from basil is said to be good for depression and anxiety and research with animals has further supported this. Basil is good for your liver, helping to reduce build up of fat, basil is also good for those with diabetes as it can slow the release of sugar into the blood and can cut down triglyceride and cholesterol levels.