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basil (băzˈəl), any plant of the genus Ocimum, tender herbs or small shrubs of the family Labiatae (mint family), mostly of Old World warm regions and cultivated for the aromatic leaves. The basil of Keats's “Isabella” (and of Boccaccio's story) is the common or sweet basil (O. basilicum), once considered medicinal. This is the species usually used for seasoning; it is grown commercially chiefly in the Mediterranean area. There are also the holy basil, venerated in India; the bush basil; and related plants sometimes called basil. Basil is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Lamiales, family Labiatae.
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The plant for stress. Blossom colors range from white to pink to lavender; flavor is similar to the leaves, but milder. Basil has different varieties and flavors that taste like lemon or mint. Chew handful of leaves twice a day to prevent stress and depression. It also purifies the blood and is used to expel worms, for stomach cramps, vomiting, colds, flu, headaches, cough, menstrual pains, ulcers, making stomach acid. Adaptogen. Juice helps sore eyes and night blindness, and can also be applied to skin to help skin conditions. A couple drops of basil juice in the eyes daily at bedtime. Put into food processor with a little bit of oil, put into small freezer bags and freeze it. You can use year round -add to sauces, soups etc.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Basíleios). Emperors of Byzantium:

Basil I the Macedonian. Born May 25, 836(?); died Aug. 29, 886, in Constantinople. Emperor beginning in 867; founder of the Macedonian dynasty.

Basil was of Macedonian (more accurately of Thracian) peasant origin. He made a brilliant career at the court of Emperor Michael III, and in 866 he became Michael’s coruler. After assassinating the emperor, Basil I seized the throne. Basil I conducted a policy of strengthening the centralized state. He crushed the Paulician movement. He introduced Roman law (publication in the years 870-879 of the Procheiron and the preparation of the Epanagoge). He carried on a struggle against the Arabs in the east and in Italy; with this objective he sought an alliance with Emperor Louis II, who ruled from 855 to 875, and with the papacy (Photius was deposed in 868, and Ignatius, a supporter of rapprochement with the pope, was restored to the patriarchal throne). In 886, Basil I recognized the independence of the Armenian state. Around 883-885 a conspiracy by the feudal nobility against Basil I, in which Photius turned out to be involved, was discovered.


Vasil’ev, A. A. “Vizantiia i araby. … ” Zapiski istoriko-filologicheskogo fakul’teta Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta, 1902, part 66, pp. 5-96.
Vogt, A. Basile I-er, empereur de Byzance (867-886).… Paris, 1908.


Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer. Born 958 in Constantinople; died there on Dec. 15, 1025. Emperor beginning in 976.

Basil II crushed the revolts of the provincial landowning nobility headed by Bardas Sclerus (976-979) and Bardas Phocas (987-989). He defeated Phocas with the help of the Kievan prince Vladimir, who was married to Basil’s sister Anna. In the interests of the officials of the capital and the urban commercial-artisan elite, Basil tried to limit the growth of large secular landholdings and tried to prevent the ruin of the taxpayers—that is, the free peasantry. By the end of his rule, he had won a considerable amount of territory from the Arabs and extended the domain of the empire at the expense of Armenian and Georgian lands. After a long war with the Western Bulgarian kingdom, he subjugated it to Byzantium in 1018; for the cruelty displayed in this war, he was nicknamed the Bulgar-Slayer.


Imperator Vasilii Bolgaroboitsa: Izvlechenie iz letopisi I akh” i Antiokhiiskogo. Published, translated, and explicated by V. R. Rozen. St. Petersburg, 1883.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


[′bāz·əl or ′baz·əl]
The common name for any of the aromatic plants in the genus Ocimum of the mint family; leaves of the plant are used for food flavoring.
Sheephide tanned with bark.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bezel, basil

The bevel or sloping edge of a cutting tool, as an ax or chisel.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a Eurasian plant, Ocimum basilicum, having spikes of small white flowers and aromatic leaves used as herbs for seasoning: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
2. a European plant, Satureja vulgaris (or Clinopodium vulgare), with dense clusters of small pink or whitish flowers: family Lamiaceae
3. basil-thyme a European plant, Acinos arvensis, having clusters of small violet-and-white flowers: family Lamiaceae


Saint, called the Great, ?329--379 ad, Greek patriarch: an opponent of Arianism and one of the founders of monasticism. Feast day: Jan 2, June 14, or Jan 1
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005