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Basil water?

Posted by herboholic (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 15, 07 at 8:24

A recent post (I don' think I need to mention the one), got me to thinking....can you infuse water with basil and are there any health benefits to it?

Right now, I'm doing everything in the world I can think of to use my basil, which has turned into a HUGE crop this year. I'm making pesto, using it in recipes and putting it in the food processor with a little water and placing the mixture into ice cube trays to freeze, so fresh basil is around when I need it.

But I have to admit, I had never heard of infusing water with basil. Simple syrup, yes (used with lemonade, it's great).

Anyone done this water infused basil?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Basil water?

why not...i have steeped it in hot water b4...the smell fills the air...i bet you could make an interesting tinture with some....(put it in a bottle of vodka/gin for at least 10 days)might add some interesting flavor...

Or invite me over for dinner :)


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RE: Basil water?

It's called Basil Tea. 'Tea' in terms of herbs simply means an infusion (or decoction) of the herb in water.

An infusion uses the leaves or flowers (softer parts of the plant), and is simply a matter of pouring water (usually boiling) over the herb and steeping it for a few minutes.

A decoction is made by boiling water and herb together for several minutes, and is intended to extract the medicinal virtues from harder parts of the plant such as seeds, root or bark.

Basil: Infused leaves are antidepressant, antiseptic, stimulating, soothing, prevent vomiting, carminative, and promote clarity of thought. The aroma, inhaled, can allay mental fatigue. A cold infusion of the leaves taken before travelling will ease travel sickness. Use the infusion as hair rinse to give a healthy shine.

Basil is used to help lower blood sugar, treat ulcers and lower blood pressure. It is also used as a cold remedy and to relieve pain and congestion. Topically, basil is used to treat skin irritation and infections. Basil has been used also to treat headaches and help ease nervous disorders. It is also thought that basil can heal warts and take the infection out of a wound.


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RE: Basil water?

Should you BOIL the leaves with water? I've always heard that boiling herbs with water brings out the bitterness.

Wouldn't it be better to use water right "off" the boil and steep the bruised leaves (to release their oils)? Like you would a green tea.....which is known for becoming bitter due to water being at too high a temperature. It seems like doing a chiffonade of the basil and adding it to the water at the correct temp for tea would be the way to go. I say chiffonade and not mince, because you could easily catch any herb by straining the mixture through a sieve.

It seems obvious now that one could make basil tea. When I wrote the post, I was thinking more about infused water for drinking (refrigerating to make cool), like you would add just a touch of a "cucumber splash" (a favorite cocktail mixer) to water for flavor or lemons to water, without making lemonade, just for that "hint" of flavor.

I have used it to infuse olive oil as well as simple syrup. Even then, I would never add the herb to a boiling mixture.

Wow...it's seems as well as being one of my favorite herbs to eat, it has many "medicinal" qualities as well. Nice to know. Thanks for posting.


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RE: Basil water?

You didn't read my post carefully. I explained that you don't boil the leaves. You pour boiling water over them and let them steep. Just like your ordinary black or green tea (which is a herbal infusion using dried leaves). The longer you leave it to infuse, the stronger the infusion.

I also explained that you only boil the tougher parts of the plant.


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RE: Basil water?

Daisy: I have some Lime Basil. Would it have the same medicinal qualities as the original? I think it would make a lovely infusion.


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RE: Basil water?

Not much research has been done on the cultivars of common basil, so I honestly don't know what medicinal virtues such cultivars have. But by and large I expect that they would be very similar. Without laboratory studies, it's impossible to know whether medicinal virtues have been sacrificed in favour of flavour or not.

The basil which is different from most of the others is Holy (Sacred) Basil (Ocimum sanctum), though there are some similarities.

Holy Basil: Used internally for feverish conditions (especially in children), colds, flu, sinusitis, headaches, rheumatism, arthritis, abdominal distension and cramps, poor libido, and melancholy. Used externally for skin infections, acne abrasions or insect bits and stings. Seeds are made into tonics and have same uses as Sweet Basil (O. basilicum). May prevent peptic ulcers and other stress related conditions such as high blood pressure, colitis and asthma.

When using herbs medicinally, it's best to use the species normally chosen by herbalists. In this case, for a remedy that calls for 'basil', use the common or sweet basil (O. basilicum). In remedies calling for Holy Basil, use O. sanctum. BUT TAKE NOTE - if your remedy source is from India (Ayurvedic) 'basil' is almost always intended to mean 'holy basil'. From Europe or elsewhere 'basil' means 'common or sweet basil'.

Another herb which can cause some confusion is lavender. For medicinal, culinary, perfumery, cosmetic etc use, a remedy will just say 'lavender' or 'lavender flowers/blossoms'. But they really mean Lavandula angustifolia, the real English lavender, not French lavender or Spanish lavender or whatever.

Frequently, a plant's botanical name is a dead give-away as to its intended usage, and this is SO very convenient! The name will usually be Something officinalis (or officinale). It means it was once (or is still) on the official pharmocopaeia (approved medicines list) at some place or other. So 'officinalis/officinale' means - in broad terms - 'medicinal'. It also usually indicates that it is edible, but not always. An Indian (ie 'from India', not from native Americans) remedy will usually call basil 'tulsi' and it depends which site you go to whether it means one or the other. (Yes, confusing! I make it easier on myself by assuming 'tulsi' is Indian therefore Holy Basil.)

Depending on your source of information, 'basilicum' means either 'king-like' or 'princely' (from Greek), or 'dragon' (from Latin).

Lemon Basil is O. basilicum citrodium, so you know from the name that it's a cultivar of sweet or common basil. Lime Basil is a similar cultivar and is usually called 'O. americanum', although more correctly it should be 'Ocimum basilicum americanum'.

But - growers get very slack when they label their plants! Sometimes they give only part of the botanical name. See the site at the link below.

Sorry, I didn't intend to give a sermon. I do get carried away with my herbs sometimes!

Here is a link that might be useful: basil varieties


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RE: Basil water?

I made an infusion of the leaves from the Lime Basil. It is quite good.... more limy with a back-note of Basil. I should make some and let it cool for a glass of ice tea. I bet it would be really good.


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RE: Cold Basil water?

Lost most of it's flavor to the cold.... much better hot.


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RE: Basil water?

westelle, use the old method for ice tea. Pour extra strength hot steeped tea into a pitcher filled with ice. Be certain to use a pitcher or jug that is heat resistant. If poured in to quickly can cause the glass to break and shatter leaving a mess and possible cuts.


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RE: Basil water?

Better still, place an all-metal knife or other utensil in the jug, then pour the boiling water in. No breakages then, because the metal absorbs much of the heat. This is how I fill my jars when making jams, pickles etc - and the jam is a lot hotter than boiling water! It also helps to heat the jar/jug first.


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RE: Basil water?

Not meaning to argue, but when you wrote:

"A decoction is made by boiling water and herb together for several minutes, and is intended to extract the medicinal virtues from harder parts of the plant such as seeds, root or bark."

...saying boiling water and herb together for several minutes IMPLIES boiling them together. Boiling is used as a verb in the sentence, not as an adjective. Not pouring water brought to a boil OVER the herbs. And if you meant "seeds, root or bark", you shouldn't have wrote "boiling water and herb together". I don't think I misread anything. I think it was a reasonable assumption.

But thanks for clearing it up.


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RE: Basil water?

Put water in saucepan/kettle. Heat it until it boils. Put leaves in a separate container. Pour the just-boiled water over the leaves. Leave for 10-15 minutes. Strain out the leaves. The liquid that remains is an infusion.

Put water in saucepan/kettle. Put roots, bark seeds etc into the saucepan with the water. Heat water until it boils, reduce heat and keep the water simmering for the designated time (usually up to about 30 minutes). Strain out the lumpy bits. The liquid that remains is a decoction.

So what I said about making a decoction by 'boiling water and herb together' is exactly what I meant. At no point did I say 'boil water and leaves together'. I said 'pouring water (usually boiling) over the herb'.

You are speaking to a fully qualified linguist. The past participle of 'to write' is 'have written'. 'Wrote' is the simple past of the same verb.

I think you may have confused the use of the word 'herb'. Broadly speaking, 'herb' can be used to describe an entire plant, but in remedies requiring an infusion, it frequently means the leaves, or other softer parts like the flowers. However, when speaking of a decoction, 'herb' will always be the parts usually used to make a decoction - seeds, roots, bark etc. IN CONTEXT, there can be no confusion about the parts used, or how the 'tea' is prepared.

In brief: you can make an infusion with the 'herb', or you can make a decoction with the 'herb'. Once you know which parts of the plant (herb) you need to use, you know immediately whether you'll end be preparing an infusion or a decoction. I had thought I'd made that clear in my earlier post.

Off my soapbox.


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RE: Basil water?

I found this thread when I did an online search for basil water. Last summer a woman told me about making it rather like a sun tea, i.e., placing sweet basil leaves in water in a jar and setting out in the very hot sun. For some reason the results I'm getting for the last few weeks haven't been as strong as those I was getting before. So I started "searching" to see if anyone else had heard of or knew anything re: basil water prep. In any case, I love the flavor and have hoped to also be receiving some nutritional benefits, etc. I have noticed that the water has a somewhat calming effect and suspected that it may also be somewhat beneficial to my digestive system. Basil water probably isn't as strong as basil tea, infusion, decoction, etc. But it is always fun to make something with so much help from mother nature.


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RE: Basil water?

I found this thread when I did an online search for basil water. Last summer a woman told me about making it rather like a sun tea, i.e., placing sweet basil leaves in water in a jar and setting out in the very hot sun. For some reason the results I'm getting for the last few weeks haven't been as strong as those I was getting before.

Has it been raining a lot recently? Herbs are stronger when it is drier and they are a bit more stressed.

FataMorgana


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RE: Basil water?

Sorry, but I was researching basil water and came upon your posting. I read through the comments and couldn't help but read daisyduckworth's response about you not reading her post "carefully"--- what a snippety jerk. Knowledgeable, but condescending nonetheless.

Anyway, there is no finality on the basil water. Did it happen? Have you tried it?


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RE: Basil water?

Lemoney, You are a new to GardenWeb - and we're glad to have you. But why start calling names on something from years ago on your first day? It's unnecessary and downright unfriendly. If you read more here, I'm sure you'll find that Daisy is a regular and that you'll enjoy her very informative posts as much as many of us do.

Many threads do not have any "finality" to them since they were posted by folks that no longer read GardenWeb or the forum in question. If you are experimenting with "basil water," please do share!

FataMorgana


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RE: Basil water?

I am trying this tonight... I came across this also while looking for some instructions on how to make basil-infused water for a cool drink on a nice summer evening. I do appreciate the instructions, and will let you know how it went. I especially appreciated the possible benefit of 'clarity of thought...' I'm currently studying for my board exams and need every bit of help I can get!

I second the idea that there's no need for name-calling, but it's also great to remember to be especially kind to those who are asking for your help/advice/knowledge. It's like helping my dad (who I love dearly) use his computer - patience is key while others are doing their best to learn - and this is a great place to do it!


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