Origin: South-East Asia

Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Ocimeae
Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum

Folk Names: Alabahaca, American dittany, our herb, St. Joseph’s wort, sweet basil, witches’ herb


Element: Fire
Day: Tuesday
Planet: Mars
Zodiac: Scorpio
Deities: Aphrodite, Erzulie Freda, Krishna, Lakshmi, Vishnu

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers

Magical Properties: Exorcism, love, money, purification, protection


Tulsi, or holy basil, is sacred in Hinduism, and associated with Vishnu.

Basil wreaths have been found in Egyptian tombs, and it was a common funerary herb in much of the mediterranean.

Dioscorides listed basil in his Materia Medica as a treatment for scorpion stings, which remained a common belief until at least the early 18th century, and lead to the astrological association with scorpio.

Magical Uses


Part Used: Leaves, stems, and flowers
Extraction Method: Steam distillation
Flash Point: 80°C

Scent Type: Herbaceous
Perfume Note: Top/middle
Scent Description: Sweet/spicy herbaceous scent

Aromatherapeutic Uses

Basil oil is uplifting, and can help with anxiety and stress headaches.




Basil leaves are often used in cooking, particularly fresh, and usually added at the last moment (as cooking fades the flavour), and is a primary ingredient in pesto sauce.

Basil flowers are also edible, and have a similar but more subtle flavour.


Type: Annual herb
Plant size: 30-130cm
Leaves: Rich green and ovate, up to 6cm wide and 11cm long
Flowers: Small white flowers from an inflorescence off the central stem

Etymology: “Basil” comes from the Latin basilius for “royal/kingly plant”, possibly due to historical use in the production of royal perfumes.

In the Garden

Type: Annual
Sow: Early spring
Light: Bright light
Water: Keep moist
Soil: Rich and well-drained

Companion Planting: Lavender, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, apricot.