Ocimum basilicum L.
Basil also known as French Basil or Sweet Basil or Tulsi is an erect glabrous herb, 30-90 cm high is indigenous to India. The leaves of basil have numerous oil glands with aromatic volatile oil. The herb bears cluster of small white lipped flowers in racemes. The freshly picked bright green leaves turns brownish green when dried and become brittle and curled. The major types are American Basil, French Basil, Egyptian Basil and Indian Basil.
ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION
It is indigenous to the lower hills of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and is cultivated throughout India. It is also cultivated in Southern France, Egypt, Belgium, Hungary, and other Mediterranean countries and also in USA.
The dried leaves and tender four sided stems are used as spice for flavouring and for extraction of essential oil. Apart from flavouring numerous foods, it is used for seasoning in tomato paste products. The sweet basil oil is widely used in perfumery compounds. It has application in areas of medicine and also used as an insecticide and bactericide.