50 Fun Facts About Basil (A Comprehensive Guide​​​​​​​)

Basil is a common herb in the kitchen. It’s used to add flavor and aroma to food, but it also has many other benefits. Basil can be used for natural beauty treatments, cleaning purposes, and medicinal purposes. This article will detail 50 fun facts about basil, so you know how versatile this plant really is!

  • Order: Lamiales
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Genus: Ocimum
  • Species: O. basilicum
  • Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Flower Color: Small White Flowers
  • Height: 12 – 36″ inches.
  • Width: 12 – 36″ inches.

Description: Basil is an annual herb that grows best in full sun and moist soil with plenty of organic matter such as compost or manure. The basil plant grows from 12 to 36 inches tall. The leaves are oval shaped and have a smooth texture with a serrated edge, and can grow up to four inches long. ​​​​​​​

50 Fun Facts About Basil

  • Basil has been cultivated for at least 5,000 years.
  • The word “basil” comes from the Greek word “Basileus” meaning king or royal.
  • Basil’s scientific name is Ocimum Basilicum, and it belongs to the Lamiaceae family of plants.​​​​​​​
  • Basil originated from India.
  • It was introduced to other countries by travelers and traders.
  • Ancient Egyptians used it as part of their embalming process.
  • Romans added basil to wine as a preservative and flavoring agent.
  • In ancient times, it was believed that basil could cure epilepsy.
  • There are over 150 varieties of basil, that exist around the world today, with most being native to Asia. 
  • Basil can be grown indoors or outdoors, but it does best when planted outside during the summer months.
  • Basil should be harvested before it flowers because its flavor will diminish once the plant starts to flower. 
  • In some regions of India, basil is called tulsi because it was traditionally held to be sacred to the Hindu god Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi.
  • There are so many types of basil out there, but most people have probably heard of Sweet Basil. This type is used as an ingredient in Italian dishes such as pasta sauces and pesto sauce. 
  • Basil plants are easy to grow from seed, but the plant needs a lot of water and light. It also needs rich soil with compost mixed in it.
  • It has been found to have medicinal properties such as being an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory agent, sedative, digestive aid and diuretic.
  • The ancient Greeks believed basil had powers of fertility when eaten with honey or applied topically on one’s skin.
  • Basil has been shown to kill bacteria that cause food poisoning and diarrhea, and it can also reduce inflammation.
  • Basil leaves are used for culinary purposes in many countries around the world, particularly Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Morocco. 
  • Basil can be eaten raw or cooked, and it tastes best when served fresh with other ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • It’s considered good luck to give someone a sprig of fresh basil when they’re sick or on their birthday.
  • Basil is also used as an insect repellent, with its smell proving to be too strong for bugs to stand up against.
  • Basil was once thought to be an aphrodisiac.
  • Some people put fresh leaves under their pillowcase, because it was believed that it would help them sleep better at night.
  • Basil’s use as a medicinal plant dates back to ancient times. In Europe, it was thought to be helpful for stomach problems such as ulcers and spasms. It was also used to treat snakebites in the Middle East and scorpion stings in India.
  • Early recipes for basil sauce call for boiling chopped leaves with wine vinegar, sugar, salt, olive oil and garlic.
  • Basil contains antioxidants which protect against heart disease and cancer.
  • It has been used as an antiseptic for thousands of years due to its antibacterial properties.
  • Basil is a plant with leaves that have a flavor similar to anise, clove, and mint.
  • It’s most commonly used in Italian cuisine, as well as Indian and Thai dishes.
  • Basil has been shown to aid in the treatment of stomach ailments such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dysentery. It also helps maintain healthy skin by preventing breakouts and reducing redness from rosacea.
  • The herb contains many nutrients including iron, Vitamins A, C, K, and B6.
  • Basil was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
  • It can be found on almost every continent except Antarctica.
  • Basil leaves contain an essential oil that can be found in perfumes.
  • Basil has been traditionally associated with wealth and good fortune because it was often grown around European monasteries.
  • It can be grown year round indoors with the proper lighting. 
  • It’s great to use with pasta, tomatoes, and chicken. Basil also can be made into pesto sauce or sprinkled on pizza!
  •  A teaspoon of basil contains about 1 gram of carbohydrates.
  • Basil contains high levels of manganese, iron, magnesium and copper – making it a good choice for anyone with anemia or thyroid problems. 
  • Basil -can help with weight loss -has been known to lower cholesterol levels -improves moods by releasing serotonin -reduces inflammation in joints -helps to fight off colds and the flu -acts as a natural antibiotic against bacteria.
  • Basil is an annual herb which means it will die if the conditions become too cold for it to survive (basically anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit).

Basil Grow Tips

Basil is one of the most popular herbs in cooking. It’s also very easy to grow, and many people love to garden with basil. Here are some simple steps for growing your own basil plants indoors or outdoors.

Growing Outdoors: If you are planning to grow your basil outside, you will first want to make sure it is in a location where it has plenty of sunshine. You can either plant your basil in an ornamental pot or directly into the ground. If planting directly into the ground, you will want to plant the herb in full sun and cover with about two inches of soil.

Basil should be watered regularly, but do not over water because this could cause root rot. Soil needs to be kept moist but not soaking wet. You can either direct sow or start seed indoors and transplant once the weather is warm enough.

Related Post: Caring for Basil plants outdoors

Growing Indoors: Growing basil indoors is fairly easy, and you can enjoy the wonderful aroma all year round. You will want to start with a small pot and fill terracotta pots about halfway with potting soil. The next step is to carefully take out your small plant from the nursery and gently place in the soil. Once you have planted your basil, you will want to water it in well and then place it in a sunny location.

If it’s too cold outside for them to grow or if you don’t have a lot of direct sunlight in your home, use full spectrum light bulbs (a common one people use is a plant grow bulb). This type of light can be found at most garden centers or hardware stores. You can either start your plant inside or transplant into a larger pot once you are ready to grow it.

If you are growing basil indoors, the best time to start seeds is in early spring. You can also start your basil indoors in late summer and transplant it into the larger pots. Make sure all your plants are not over-watered because over watering may cause root rot.

The important thing with planting basil is to make sure they get plenty of sunlight during the day and water them regularly, so they do not dry out completely.

Related Post: How to grow Basil at home?


  • Vince S

    Hello, I'm Vince, and I bring over 25 years of dedicated experience in the world of herb gardening. From cultivating fragrant basil to nurturing hardy rosemary, my journey as a passionate herb enthusiast has allowed me to explore the wonders of these versatile plants. Through diyherbgardener.com, I'm thrilled to share my knowledge, tips, and insights to help you embark on your own herb gardening adventures. Let's grow together!