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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am very much interested to know anything that has to do with the history of basil.

I am not interested in recipes.
I am interested in every possible suggestion of the etymology of the word.
The History of the plant.
The geographical expansion of this plant.

I have been very stupid in my research. I have been searching the word , the original Greek word in Ancient Dictionaries.

I wonder how I did such a mistake.
Basil comes from the Latin word basilicum which comes from the greek word basilikon

Basilikon in Greek means something that belongs to the King
( Basilias- prounounced vasilias in Greek)

Kings in our History appear during the Byzantine era , that means after the transmission of the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Byzantium By Emperor Constantine who establshed Constantinople ( today known as Intanbul)

Basil in our tradition is related with Saint Constantine ( the Emperor) and his mother Saint Helen, who spent years in the Holly Land to find the Cross on which Jesus Christ was crusified.

According to the tradition, St. Helen one day was walking desperate in Jerusalem , when a strong scent of basil attracted her attention.
The scent leaded her to a narrow hill, covered by basil. She thought that this could not be a coincidence, so she started the excavations and she found the Holly Cross.

In the rituals of our church, basil is used by the priest to spring the Holly Water.

So, I think that this is the reason we do not uses basil in Greece in cooking, although every single house has at least one pot during the summer.

Every other information on ths subject will be very much appreciated



4,508 Posts
I don't know if I can help you but this is what I now of Basil.
The family is "Labiate" the species is "ocimum basilcom"
The gelatinous seeds from the comosum make "cherbet tokhum", A mediterranean drink. The leaf wine is used in tonics and is an aphrodisiac. Inhaling the essential oils refreshes the mind and stimulates a sense of smell. There are many many types of basil in ths "comosum family" so maybe doing a search will help you.
Ocimum basilicum Minimum is "Greek basil" very tiny leaves.
I will see if I can find anything else on basil for you.
Good luck with your research.
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