Uses for African blue basil?

rusty_blackhaw(6a)August 31, 2013

This is my second year growing this herb, which in addition to being a fine ornamental is irresistible to bees (I have it growing near salvias and Sedum "Autumn Fire" and bumblebees, honeybees and a variety of other flying insects are having a great time with the blossoms). It is easy to grow from cuttings.

I see from an online source that this plant is regarded as good for what ails you, including "headaches, coughs, diarrhea, constipation, warts, worms and kidney malfunction...It is also thought to be antispasmodic, stomach ache carminative stimulant and insect repellant...antioxidants, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents and strengthen the immune system...brewed as an infusion and... to treat colds, coughs, fevers, stomach aches and cramps, vomiting, constipation, as a relaxant for nervous hysteria and for kidney and urinary complaints."

Obviously it wouldn't be necessary to grow any other herb. :)

Anyone finding it particularly useful, either medicinally or in cooking (the aroma and flavor are somewhat redolent of camphor)?

Here is a link that might be useful: African blue basil

This post was edited by eric_oh on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 15:21

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It's quite high in camphor ... so any of the usual uses for camphor could be applied to ABB, although it would be weaker than using crystalline camphor. (less likely to overdose too)

Anti-inflammatory (aka Tiger Balm and several sports rubs)
Sinus congestion relief (inhaling camphor fumes is like opening the flood gates for me - mucus gets all runny and flows)
Cough relief (the same stimulating of mucous thinning breaks up a dry cough)

Like any of the highly aromatic herbs, it's antibacterial if you use it as a wound wash. All those terpenes and polyphenolic compounds :)

I haven't tried it for digestive issues, but most of the mints have some beneficial effects for mild complaints. If nothing else, the teais a fluid intake.

Almost all of the strong-scented herbs repel insects. Our quicky mosquito repellant in Montana was to find some mint along the creek and rub it onto exposed skin. It worked fairly well.

Some people love cooking with it. As a culinary herb, it's too strongly camphoraceous for me, although I love it as a cut flower or scented green. One smalliush bunch can stink up the entire house, and the cats won't bother it.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 4:36PM
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Maybe I'll try it as an insect repellent (we have mosquitoes this year that are the size of 747s).

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 5:23PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I am curious to know if you overwintered in the plant inside as a houseplant? Is it easy to propagate from cuttings? I am wondering if some characterize this plant as an adaptogen since it has many useful properties? Insect repellency is very important where I live since there have been several cases of EEE near bye. Perhaps rubbing the leaves on skin is helpful for deterring mosquito bites?

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Last fall I took cuttings of my African basil just before frost as an afterthought (I was under the impression it could be grown from seed, which is not the case). I wound up growing about a dozen pots in preparation for this gardening season (they do very well under shoplight-type fluorescent fixtures - you just need to keep them trimmed back to get a bushy plant, and it's hard to resist popping the trimmings into another pot to make more, They root very easily).

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 8:25PM
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