Ocimum campechianum

Albahaca Plant – Ocimum Basilicum

Albahaca plant is Spanish for basil. Native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and central Africa, this culinary herb came to latin america from Chinese immigrants. There are many varieties of the basil herb such as Albahaca de monte, Peruvian basil, Amazonian basil, wild basil or alfavaca. The aroma is sometimes used during ayahuasca cermonies to help the dietero avoid bad visions. Continue your plant directory education with this article on Capirona.

What Is Albahaca?

Albahaca is simply the spanish common word for basil. Scientifically, it is known as Ocimum basilicum, and today is grown all over the world, even in home gardens and kitchens. The fragrance of this herb is utilized in a variety of dishes and cuisines, notably Italian and Thai. Worldwide, there are over 60 varieties of basil! This bright green herb has rounded pointed leaves, with hints of purple or red, it is quite similar to the widely grown sweet basil. The most common types are genovese, cinnamon (mexican spice), lemon basil, and thai basil.

If you do decide to grow this bush in your home garden, be aware of the common pests and diseases which it is susceptible to. Aphids are the biggest basil killer, however be aware of beetles and slugs as well.

Thriving in a rich soil with full sun, this bushy shrub, growing to 1-2 feet in height, but you may harvest a leaf as early in growth as 6-8 inches in height and enjoy your herbs. Even if you don’t have an immediate plan to use the leaves (they can be dried or frozen for use after harvesting anyway), regularly picking the leaves will improve the plant’s vitality. Frozen basil actually has a stronger flavor than tried, but you sacrifice texture – so use it in cooked dishes. This widespread shrub has been given the nickname the ‘Queen of Herbs’. Read on to find out why.

Holy Basil Tea

Albahaca plant makes an incredibly healthy cup of tea. If you are looking to tackle stress, anxiety, inflammation, boost your immune system and fight arthritis, just pour yourself a hot cup of basil tea. Just take roughly 3 tablespoons of thinly sliced dried or fresh basil leaves, and add them to your preferred cup of tea as normal. Or simply add lemon zest. Steep for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!

How Do You Say Albahaca in English?

In English, albahaca is known as basil. It is very popular in Latin American culture, as well as prominently featured in Thai and Italian cuisine. The leaves have a range of medicinal uses from treating diabetes to arthritis.

Albahaca Benefits

Interestingly, all parts of the holy basil plant act as an adaptogen, which naturally helps the body adapt to stress, and promote a healthy mental well being. Science has shown that basil has properties to deal with chemical, physical, and emotional stresses. Studies with humans have shown reduced stress, sexual problems, sleep problems, forgetfulness, and exhaustion. According to a study done by the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, albahaca plant has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties, comparable to diazepam, yet much more holistic and safe. 

Practioners of ayurveda recommend drinking an infusion with the leaves, which can be consumed any time due to being caffeine-free. However, if the taste is not for you, but you’ve noticed the physical and mental health benefits, then consider taking a supplement in the form of a pill, or even a tincture. It has been shown that basil can protect your body against toxic chemicals.

Medicinal Uses

  • antibacterial
  • antiviral
  • antifungal
  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic (a painkiller)
  • fight against mouth ulcers, keloids, raised scars, and acne
  • lower blood sugar, helping control weight gain or diabetes
  • easy to lower your cholesterol
  • ease inflammation and joint pain
  • protect your stomach and improve digestion by decreasing stomach acid levels and increasing mucus secretion
 

Common Uses For Albahaca Plant

As with most plant medicines, each part of the shrub has it’s own unique uses, and different parts are recommened for treating various conditions. Fresh flowers can be used in a tea to treat coughs or bronchitis. Take the leaves and seeds and add black pepper for malaria treatment. The whole plant can be used in a concotion which treats diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. A pill or ointment can be manufactured to fight eczema. A tincture or alcohol extract can be created to combat stomach ulcers and eye disease. Finally, essential oils from the leaves may be extracted and applied to soothe insect bites.

Most studies support the use of the entire plant for maximum therapeutic value. However, the bush also contains a high nutritional content, containing both Vitamin A and C, calcium, zinc, iron, and chlorophyll. Just be sure to check with your doctor  before supplementing with this herb. It is recommended to take from 300mg to 2000mg daily.

There are many ways to incorporate this wonderful herb into your weekly routines, like cooking, supplementation, tinctures, tea infusions, or essential oils.

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