It is native to India where there are a wide variety of basils. It makes a safe natural insect repellent for the garden.
Basil it has similar properties of the spearmint and peppermint in that it is a digestive aid, a mild sedative, and is effective for headaches. The volatile oil of basil has been shown to possess antibacterial as well as an anti worm activities which is helpful in treating intestinal ailments. It is been shown to protect cell structure with its two water soluble orientin and vicenin. It also contains a good amount of calcium and potassium and manganese.
The flavor of basil is rich and spicy. It is pungent and rather peppery. The flavors increases with cooking that can be used in a wide collection of dishes. It is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process. Tomato dishes are most popular, pesto, soups, stews, and rice dishes often carry basil in them.