A prolific number of basils are available to use as an herb in cooking, and it is one of the most well-known herbal ingredients in the United States. While many may be familiar with traditional sweet basil or Thai basil or even holy basil (more on this in another post), one of our more recent tea offerings features African blue basil (Ocimum 'African Blue') as the star component in a refreshing and calming Perennial blend.
It was not always this way, but over the years I have trained my palate to meet the needs of the rest of my body. May favorite taste this time of year offers an antidote to a winter of sweet, fat and salt: Bitter. The bitter flavor stimulates a chain reaction of metabolism in which the digestive system is mobilized to secrete enzymes, mucus, acids and bile to most effectively digest food and eliminate waste.
A primary way in which humans can benefit from the gifts plants offer is in adjusting to seasonal change. As of this writing, my part of the world is experiencing the depths of winter. While not as cold and dark as it may have been in the earliest part of January, we are still greatly dependent on supplemental heat and experiencing the kinds of symptoms that most anyone in the northern hemisphere can relate to during winter: dry skin, chapped lips, fatigue, in some cases malaise and in more severe cases depression. It is during these times, when my body struggles to maintain balance in the midst of environmental changes that I have come to depend on herbs for support.