Bush Basil (Ocimum minimum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Bush Basil
Ocimum minimum
Labiatae

An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is used as a food flavouring and in perfumery, dental applications etc[46, 57, 61, 105, 171, 238]. An average yield of 1.5% essential oil is obtained from the flowering tops[7]. When applied to the skin it makes a good mosquito repellent[7].

The growing or dried plant is an effective insect repellent. It is a good plant to grow in the home, where it repels flies, or in the greenhouse where it can keep all manner of insect pests away from nearby plants[14, 20, K]. It has been used in the past as a strewing herb[201].

  • Medicinal Use

    Bush basil has a milder action than sweet basil and is used mainly in the treatment of flatulence and griping pain in the digestive system[254].

    The leaves and flowering tops are antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, digestive, galactogogue, stomachic and tonic[7, 14, 21, 178, 218]. They are taken internally in the treatment of feverish illnesses (especially colds and influenza), poor digestion, nausea, abdominal cramps, gastro-enteritis, migraine, insomnia, depression and exhaustion[238]. Externally, they are used to treat acne, loss of smell, insect stings, snake bites and skin infections[238]. The leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and are used fresh or dried[238].

    The seed is said to remove film and opacity from the eyes[218].

    Extracts from the plant are bactericidal and are also effective against internal parasites[218, 238].

    The seeds are said to be a cure for warts[4].

    The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Clearing'[210].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves and flowers – raw or cooked[4, 21, 27]. Used as a flavouring or as a spinach[14, 61], they are used especially with tomato dishes, pasta sauces, beans, peppers and aubergines[238]. The leaves are normally used fresh but can also be dried for winter use[21]. A very pleasant addition to salads[K], the leaves have a delightful scent of cloves[4].

    A refreshing tea is made from the leaves[21].

    The seed can be eaten on its own or added to bread dough as a flavouring[183]. When soaked in water it becomes mucilaginous and can be made into a refreshing beverage called ‘sherbet tokhum’ in the Mediterranean[183].

    An essential oil obtained from the plant is used as a food flavouring in mustards, sauces, vinegars etc[57, 105, 183]

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow mid to late spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually free and quick, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing basil outdoors, plant out after the last expected frosts.
Prefers a rich light well-drained to dry soil[1, 27, 238]. Requires a sunny sheltered position if grown outdoors[52]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5 – 8[238]. Bush basil is commonly grown for its edible leaves in warm temperate and tropical climates. A perennial plant in the tropics, it is frost tender and is grown as a half-hardy annual in temperate zones[142]. It is a very good plant to grow in the house or greenhouse, its aromatic foliage helps reduce problems caused by insect pests[K]. It requires a good summer in Britain if it is to do well outdoors. This species is considered by some botanists to be no more than a form of O. basilicum[132]. Bush basil is a good companion plant for tomatoes but it grows badly with rue and sage[14, 18, 20, 201]. When grown near raspberries it can retard their fruiting[201].
Tropical Asia?

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.