How Many Types Of Basil Exist?

Basil is a type of culinary herb that is native to Southeast Asia, Africa and Central America. Basil has its origins in India where it's called "Tulsi." There, it's used in religious ceremonies.

Basil is a popular herb to grow at home because it grows very easily and its leaves can be used in all sorts of dishes. Basil can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Sweet Basil

This type of basil has a sweet and mild aroma. It can be added to hot or cold drinks such as lemonade, herbal tea and iced tea. Sweet basil is used in pasta dishes, pizza, salads and pesto sauces. Basil is also used in beverages, such as lemon juice and iced tea.

Sweet Basil is also the main ingredient in a popular Italian liqueur, and it's used as part of some traditional medicines.

When using sweet basil, check to make sure that you are dealing with this type of basil because sweet basil is often referred to as "lemon basil."

Lemon Basil

Lemon basil is a cross between sweet basil and West Indian sweet basil. It has a lemony aroma, which makes it very popular in Italian cuisine. Because of its unique flavor, lemon basil is also used for teas and desserts.

This type of basil has a citrus flavor that is reminiscent of lemon. It's widely used in Vietnamese and Thai cuisines. Lemon basil has a spicy licorice aroma too, but its lemony taste makes it appetizing for meats such as chicken or fish, soups, salads and stir-fry dishes.

Lemon basil is also generally used in Italian dishes, such as tomatoes sauces, pastas and risotto. It's also used in salads to add a zesty twist. There are many different varieties of lemon basil, including variegated and purple leaved varieties.

Lemon basil adds color to your dish in addition to its unique flavor. The combination of lemon and hot pepper flakes or red chile paste is a classic with seafood. Make sure fresh leaves are added at the last minute when cooking so they don't lose their flavor or color.

Thai Basil

This type of basil is often confused with anise basil, however, Thai basil has a distinct anise flavor. The aroma is very similar to that of sweet basil, but the taste is slightly bitter and peppery.

Thai basil can be used in soups, salads, stir-fry dishes and curries. It's commonly added to seafood dishes or any dish with coconut milk for flavoring. Simply add fresh Thai basil leaves to any dish for a great taste.

Thai basil has small, narrow leaves with anise-like flavor and aroma that enhance many Asian dishes. The most common variety is what is known as Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum, also called tulsi). It's indispensable in Indian cuisine, especially in vegetarian dishes.

Thai Basil is also known as anise basil or licorice basil, but it's not to be confused with the Western herb sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum). Thai basils have purple stems and small leaves with highly aromatic flavor reminiscent of a blend of clove, mint, juniper berry and cinnamon.

Anise Basil

This type of basil has a licorice taste and scent. It's used in Mediterranean dishes to add an added flavor. Anise basil is most commonly used in Italian and Greek food, especially soups, stews and sauces. This basil is also crushed for use as a seasoning or garnish.

Anise basil is known worldwide by the Arabic name sha'eer and in India as tulsi. It's a very aromatic herb with a flavor of anise or licorice, which has made it readily accepted into many cuisines around the world.

Anise Basil is used to make tea, and it can also be added fresh to enhance the flavor of foods, especially in Italian and Greek recipes. It's traditional for some Christians to grow tulsi (Ocimum basillicum) in their garden or home. The plant is sacred to Krishna devotees and symbolizes purity because it doesn't have any seeds.

Purple Basil

This type of basil doesn't look like other types, but it has a distinct flavor that's similar to the anise flavor of Thai basil. Purple basil has a licorice taste like its yellow cousin, but it's not as strong. It's used in similar ways and adds a good flavor to many dishes.

Purple basil is most often used in European cuisine like Greek or Italian dishes such as stews, soups and sauces. It can also be used in other dishes when added whole or for flavoring. This basil is often crushed to use as a seasoning for meat, fish or poultry dishes.

Purple basil is more commonly grown than the green type because of its vibrant purple color and unique taste but it's still not that easy to find in many markets.

Green Basil

This type of basil is easy to find, but the green variety has much less flavor than other types. In fact, green basil doesn't really have a distinctive taste at all because it's most often used as a garnish for food or as an herb with little real flavor.

It's used in Mediterranean dishes, especially Italian food. Green basil is also added to give a fresh look to chocolates or cakes like cannolis. It's used as a garnish for many dishes, but the flavor doesn't have that strong anise taste.

This type of basil is often confused with curry powder because it has very little flavor.

This variety is often used more for decoration than flavor, so it's not worth buying if you want a basil that tastes like basil.

Lettuce Basil

Lettuce basil leafs grow long and are narrow. The plant is compact and dense. It can reach up to twelve inches in height when grown in optimal conditions. Lettuce basil does well indoors because it requires little light and grows quickly, even under artificial lights.

Lettuce basil has a strong anise-like scent that will fill the kitchen when it is used to make fresh pesto or a dish of sauteed vegetables. You can also flavor butter and cream with it, but keep in mind that this herb has aphrodisiacal qualities so be careful using it in dishes you will eat alone!

Lettuce basil's combination of bold taste and distinctive aroma make it a good choice for flavoring Italian dishes.

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon basil is best suited for sweet dishes. If you are making a grain salad with cranberries and oranges, this herb can give the dish just the right touch of flavor. Cinnamon basil's taste is most similar to cinnamon, hence its name.

Cinnamon basil also helps with depression. It is in the same family as mint, which has the same properties, so it makes sense that cinnamon basil would help combat anxiety and stress. It contains a lot of phenolic compounds which can reduce inflammation.

Cinnamon basil will develop the most flavor during mid to late summer, so be sure to look for it then if you are buying plants and plan on cooking with them soon.

French Basil

French basil is the most recognizable and popular of edible basils. Its leaves are a bit more spade-shaped, and its stems are thin and wiry. This type of basil also has a milder taste than other varieties, so it is best suited to raw dishes like spinach salads or dips. French basil can also be used to flavor fruit salads.

French basil's aroma has been thought to help counteract fatigue and stress, but recent studies show that it may actually cause anxiety in some people. Nonetheless, many chefs prefer this variety because of its intense aroma.

It is a good idea to tinker with recipes using French basil until you find the ideal amount for your tastes.

Genovese Basil

Genovese Basil is probably the most common type of basil. It has large leaves that are dark green with a purplish tinge and an aromatic fragrance. Genovese Basil has large dark green leaves and a sweet, spicy flavor. It is also known as Large Leaf Genovese Basil.

Genovese Basil has a sweet flavor and aroma, but is more bitter than sweet. Users have described the herb as spicy and citric without anise or licorice notes. In the garden, basil grows well from seeds started inside under grow lights or outdoors after all danger of frost have passed.

Genovese Basil makes a great substitute for fresh parsley. Use it in recipes where fresh parsley would be used.

Genovese Basil is said to have originated on the Italian island of Corsica, and is now grown throughout Europe. The herb is used mainly as a seasoning for soups, stews, sauces and meats. Genovese Basil pairs well with tomatoes, but also with roasted vegetables, eggs and seafood.

Spicy Globe Basil

Spicy Globe Basil has small serrated glossy leaves with a look similar to an orange. Spicy Globe Basil is suited for cooking. The herb contains high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C. The flavor of this type of basil combines licorice, mint and pepper.

Spicy Globe Basil is suitable in mass plantings or as a border accent. Its dark green, almost black foliage contrasts well with other plants.

The leaves of Spicy Globe Basil are small and round with a serrated edge which makes the herb suitable for decorative plating. The leaves contain an essential oil that has a strong taste and aroma of licorice, mint and pepper.

Spicy Globe Basil is a cultivar of Ocimum basilicum (Lamiaceae) and was developed in America.

Napoletano Basil

Napoletano Basil was developed in Napoli and is sometimes called Genovese Basil Napoletano. It has dark green leaves with purple veins on the underside. The flavor is stronger than that of common basil. Its aroma reminds people of licorice.

Napolitano Basil is used mainly as a seasoning for meat, vegetables, soups and stews. It is also used to make pesto, a green sauce typically served over pasta.

Napolitano Basil grows best in the full sun in fertile soil with proper watering and fertilizing. The herb should be planted after the danger of frost have passed. Grow Napolitano Basil from seeds started inside under grow lights or outdoors after all danger of frost have passed.

Napolitano Basil is grown today in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Africa as well as other Mediterranean countries. It's essential oil has a strong flavor similar to anise and licorice. The herb pairs well with basil and parsley or is used in recipes with mint, tomatoes or thyme.


How do I remove basil pesto stains from my clothing?

A: Basil pesto is a problem for many washers. To prevent the staining of your laundry, handwash the garment with warm water and a mild soap. Allow it to air dry rather than using an excessive amount of heat when drying the item.

Prevent the problem in the first place by applying a thin layer of baking soda to areas of your clothing that may be exposed to pesto. This will help absorb any staining that could occur.

How do I get rid of ants around my basil plants?

A: Ants are attracted to the aroma produced by basil. To deter them, sprinkle cinnamon powder or citrus peels around your plant. This will create an odor that makes ants want to stay away from these areas. A thin layer of Vaseline or petroleum jelly applied to the base of the stem will also do the trick. This prevents ants from climbing up the stems and to your plants.

The aroma emitted by basil can be a strong deterrent, so try hanging orange or lemon peels near the area that you plan on growing it in.

How can I get rid of aphids around my basil plant? 

A: Monitor your plant for aphids, a type of pest that can damage the leaves of basil. If you notice any pests on the leaf surfaces or stems, place a cup over the affected part and then pour soapy water into the cup. Remove and discard the infested part of the plant to prevent injury to other parts by keeping the infested part away.

How can I help my basil plant grow larger?

A: Basil grows best when the temperature is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so maintain a consistent temperature during its growth cycle. Also, adding fertilizer to the soil will provide the plant with essential nutrients it needs for optimal growth.

After your plants have flowered and set seed, remove them from the soil and place them in a cool, dry place until they are used for cooking or garnishing dishes.

How long will basil last?

A: The shelf life of fresh basil can be up to two weeks if the herb is stored properly in either the refrigerator (do not wash until ready to use) or a plastic bag with air removed. After this time, basil will start to decompose and wilt.

How long can I keep dried basil?

A: Dried basil generally lasts up to one year when properly stored. The herb should be kept in a glass container with an airtight lid. Make sure the container is placed in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

The leaves can be left whole or crushed as needed for cooking or garnishing dishes.


Basil is native to India and parts of Asia. The herb was introduced into Europe by the Greeks who used it in medicines while also holding basil in high esteem for its culinary uses. Because of its ability to grow in different climates, basil is found all over the world as a common addition to many dishes.

To conclusion  we have learned a lot of new things about basil. Now it's your turn to use what you've learned today and make sure try cooking something with basil, because I'm sure that the outcome will be delicious!

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