The Basil Experiment

“Dear Basil, Help! Love, Loo”

—–> The opening to the Basil year-long project.  This Experiment is what started the blog

*Remedy Experiment

Couple days ago I had a big ol’ whopper of a zit, right on the tip of my nose and a number of social engagements that required peak cleanliness.  What’s a girl to do?  Unfortunately I’ve been in this situation more than once.  It seems that if my face wants to break out, it saves it all up for that one, really noticeable spot.  When I was in Singapore I was very interested in bringing home herbal medicines made in Asia.  I picked up something called “Pimple Cure”.  Made in India, this product contains two ingredients: Basil Oil and Cream Base.  (The tube does not have the Latin name listed)  I had heard of using Basil for skin conditions so I thought this product had credibility.  I usually use something drying on my face because of its tendency to be oily, but this time I was willing to apply cream, maybe out of desperation?  I didn’t even meditate.  I just rubbed it in and hoped for the best.  AND – in TWO DAYS it was gone – like it never happened.

You know what this means?  It’s Basil Time.

I will work with the Basil cream as if it were Garden Basil, Ocimum basilicum, because I have also been using Holy Basil, Ocimum sanctum, when I am stressed.  Then I can cover both species in the Materia Medica under the general term “Basil”.  I tried Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, in capsule form on a whim one day when I thought the Earth was crumbling around me.  I felt so good afterwards that I continue to ask Tulsi for help (and a high dose of B vitamins).  This was about 3 months ago.  Now I use the tea from Organic India because I have so many samples of it.  It’s not quite as effective because the dosage is much less in comparison to the capsule.  But tea is so soothing, and I am calmed just by holding the hot cup in my hand.  A friend recently told me it can bring you in either direction.  Pump you up if you’re low energy; calm you down if you’re revved up.


Isn’t it neat that in both cases with Basil I chose to use it with a quick decision?

“What the heck, I’ll try it!  As long as it makes ________ go away!”

Is this Basil’s relationship with me or is it universal?  Fast acting, the idea springs out of nowhere – and I go for it! – like there’s hope in the sweet smell.  And then it works…the best sort of ending.  What if Basil gave me “Get Out of Jail Free” cards and then I get used to it, or something of the sorts?

*Continuing the Experiment

-Development of Basil’s Materia Medica by reviewing what other Herbalists have to say, meditation and reviewing the growing habits/habitats I’ve seen.

– Use Pimple Cure from India on any type of zit/pimple (is this a bad idea?) and see how effective it is.

– Applications of Tulsi in various forms for stress.

I will report back with my findings in two weeks, as any good herbal patient would.

“Basil is as Basil does…”

—–> Materia Medica for Garden Basil

Latin Name: Ocimum basilicum  (roughly translated as “Aromatic Prince”)

Common Name(s): Sweet Basil, Garden Basil

Plant Family: Lamiaceae – the mint family


Sweet Garden BasilOcimum basilicum

Medicine Preparation used in Experiment:

  • “Pimple Cure” – made in India, consists of Basil Oil & Cream Base (no Latin name listed), recommended usage: “Wash the face with soap and warm water.   Dry with clean towel and apply cream in the morning and before going to bed.”

Growing Habits/Habitat:

  • native to the tropical areas of Asia and possibly Africa
  • easily grown from seed if kept moist and given lots of light
  • can grow up to 3ft including flowers
  • well known companion plant to tomatoes
  • mint-quality able to combat pests
  • does not like to be soggy, careful not to over-water if growing indoors

Parts of Plant Traditionally Used:

  • leaves, flowers, stems, seeds
  • essential oil from leaf and flower


  • harvest in the late morning for maximum oil content
  • prefers not to be touched when wet – will rot quickly and the plant is susceptible to downy mildew
  • clip off the top two leaves of each stem (above a node) to promote bushier growth and delay flowering
  • store whole stem in vase of water to save fresh leaves for about a week
  • blend with oil for pesto and use immediately or freeze in ice cube tray
  • dry or freeze leaves for winter yums

Referenced Uses:


  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
  • Bug Spray
  • Expectorant (loosens phlegm)
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Use in shampoos for oily hair
  • Hot tea for delayed Moon Moment (menstruation)
  • Nervine (repair the nervous system)
  • Stimulant
  • Sedative, mild
  • Reduces swelling caused by acne
  • Helps the digestive system
  • Cure a Scorpion Sting…


  • Ruled by Mars in Scorpio (magically a good time to harvest)
  • Purify Holy Water
  • Protection against Evil or Dark Forces
  • Keeps your Spirit perky (use as preventative to low-spirits)
  • An excess of Basil will sprout scorpions in the brain! / indulge you in the traits of a Scorpio


  • Fresh taste: “licorice-and-spice” [Hayes 203]
  • Dried taste: “combination of lemon, anise, resin, and spice” [Hayes 203]

***Food as Medicine

  • Warming
  • Calms the brain and centers the heart

***Flower Essence

  • White Flowers
  • Offers a complete realization of sexuality and related experiences
  • Allows such journeys to be made by body and soul!

Interview with an Herbalist:

Janet from Lunaroma in Burlington, VT on the shop’s uses of Basil Oil – They currently carry cultivated Basil from Madagascar and wild-crafted Basil from India.

  • Memory Synergy “clearing and mind strengthening”
  • Clarity Synergy “clearing, sharpening, revitalizing”
  • Referred to Wanda Sellar’s book “Directory of Essential Oils” who has great insights and is the only source I’ve seen to mention acne control

Science Research:

Here is a link to the USDA National Agricultural Library where you can find the latest scientific research on the Ocimum basilicum species.


Chevallier, Andrew. Natural Health Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, 2nd ed. New York: DK Publishing Inc., 2000.

Duke, James A. The Green Pharmacy. Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1997.

Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal. Masschusetts: Storey Books, 2001.

Greer, John M. Natural Magic. Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications, 2000.

Hayes, Elizabeth S. Spices and Herbs. 1961 Ed. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1980.

Kaminski, Patricia and Richard Katz. Flower Essence Repertory. 1994 Ed.  California: Earth-Spirit, Inc., 1996.

Kloss, Jethro. back to eden. 1939 Ed. California: Woodbridge Press Publishing Company, 1975.

Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods, 3rd Ed. California: North Atlantic Books, 2002.


***Ask your Family Doctor if Basil would be appropriate for you and your specific conditions, especially if you are pregnant or younger than 18 years old ***

“Basil: 2 Week Check-up”

—–> An update on how the Experiment was going

*Remedy Effects:

The Basil “Pimple Cure” cream has been spread cheek to cheek for several days.  I put it on all the classic problem areas of my face, after washing.  The most significant reaction I am getting is the reduction of swelling caused by such acne or pimple.  If the skin is broken, it hasn’t necessarily sped up the healing time.  The greatest use I am seeing for Pimple Cure is to subtract the amount of attention a pimple is causing, ie, bringing the bump back to an even skin level.  Very useful!  Though I may save it for those emergency situations only.

The Tulsi tea was used for the first week.  I was not noticing much…  I went back to the capsules to take note of any differences.  And there it was – that sweet sweet feeling of a clear-head.  When I started using Tulsi I couldn’t pin-point exactly how it was making me feel different, I just felt ‘good’.  After reading and meeting with the herb, I can easily see what is changing mentally.  It’s like I have a fresh start, a new brain with no history of stressful worries.  I can think in a clear white space and bring to my mental focus what I want to be there, instead of being bombarded with all the “what-ifs”.  I feel motivated, not due to an increase of energy, but because I have the mind-capacity to do so.  Very useful!  And safe to use over long periods of time!


I’ve studied multiple sources and their uses of Garden Basil.  These can be found under Basil’s Materia Medica.  I’ve also studied Tulsi and her Materia Medica is in the works.

The meditations started off slow, as I suspected.  However, both Garden Basil and Tulsi contact has been made!

*Continuing the Experiment:

– posting Tulsi’s Materia Medica

– Meditation documentation including detailed experiences of contact with Basil, drawings of how the Plant Spirits presented themselves to me, and a description of the Plant Spirit in its corresponding Materia Medica.  I plan to contact the Spirits while I am writing their description so the plants can have a word. (A similar method was used in Susan Weed’s book “Healing Wise”)

– Reflective conclusion to the experiment with science, folk medicine and ancient far-out concepts melded together

– When the weather warms, grow both of these fabulous plants and make medicine from them!  In fact, I wouldn’t mind growing as many Basil varieties as I can get my hands on.  So if you have any seeds, let me know and we can swap!

“Meditations with Basil”

—–> A reflection after contacting the Basil Spirits through several meditations

I had never meditated with either Garden Basil or Tulsi before this experiment.  That is partially why I chose them to work with; a challenge I could learn a lot from!  The other more obvious reason for a Basil Experiment was my current usage of two Ocimum products.  I started trying to contact Basil three weeks ago.

Jan24th – Session 1:

Reconnecting with my Guiding Spirit and my Inner Council.  I felt a very dark energy in my apartment near the attic door, and was actually scared to be in such a vulnerable state of consciousness, so I stopped.  I equated it to a possible ghost.

Jan 25th – Session 2:

I was whispered a phrase with no visuals – “You must have Basil in you for contact.”  I started drinking Tulsi tea and rubbing the Basil cream on my face sporadically.  The ‘dark energy’ was still present and could now be sensed when I wasn’t meditating.

Jan 26th – Session 3:

Basil atten-dance!  A young Basil with dark purple stem and bright little green leaves.  This was a good sign.  I had now heard and seen Basil.  It meant the Spirit was willing to communicate and was going to do so in slow steps, probably making sure I was listening and that I truly respected Basil.

Jan 27th – Session 4:

I was going to try and have a conversation.  My Guiding Spirit who accompanies me on such journeys said something that made me full of joy, “Basil would like to speak to you.”  Immediately after I felt the dark-attic-energy and became frightened.  I thought maybe the dark energy was trying to trick me into letting it in to my body!  (Now, I am still new at meditating with the Spirits in comparison to how much there is to journey through, so I try to be very careful with anything I don’t know)  I told my Guiding Spirit I had to stop.  I decided I should try meditating outside and see if the energy is still present, because, I guess, the dark energy could be Basil…?

[—>Back in reality! – I was thinking a lot about the Purple-stemmed Basil.  I’ve grown so many types on the farm that I couldn’t remember who looked like what.  So I asked the internet for some pictures of common Basil.  And there she was, in all her glory!  Thai Basil, a variety of Ocimum basilicum.]

Variety of Ocimum basilicum[This little beauty found me at a Vietnamese restaurant, so I passed on eating it and instead am hoping for roots!]

Feb 4th – Session 5:

It was actually 4-year-old-me who prepared for the meeting.  She adorned me with Guiding Herb, filled my body with sacred energy and rubbed my 3rd Eye open.

Basil came as a fleet!

The Basil Messenger came flying in, fit and quick.  He brought messages from the powerful Father Basil, who lives as Garden Basil on Earth.  The Messenger assured me Basil medicine was good for your skin, especially the face.  And noted its ability to slice through any mental fog.

The plant rots/wilts so easily that he too had to be quick, fluttering to-and-fro.  It was hard to get a good look at his face, but that royal jumpsuit was no fooling.  Like a jester meets doorman, Messenger Basil comes first.

He is the Dark Energy.

In the friendliest way.

Basil's Aromatic Prince

I asked about Tulsi and was informed that I must wait to speak with her, the Mother.  I have to treat them separately in order to be respectful of their specific powers.  The energy which spoke to me seemed calmer and possibly older, or at least more Motherly.  Powerful and full of white light, Tulsi beckons me to wait.  A promise of future love.

Then there was Thai.  Oh the sweetest daughter of two powerful forces, Thai Basil likes me and promises good things from her medicine.  She has Garden Basil’s darkness and the light beautiful flowers of Tulsi, which she gently caressed my face and nose with.  She appreciates my travels to her land and the love I show Thai’s in America.  For this she is grateful and wants to be friends.  A darling herb, I am blessed with such sweet fortune.

The meditation is absolutely splendid, and not scary in the least!  Messenger tells me that my body subconsciously had called to Basil, and is the reason this experiment exists!  So before I tried to reach them spiritually they had heard my body call.  And Thai Basil Spirit answered, bringing forth Messenger to my meditation.

On his way out, Messenger whispered something. “Circle/Circus/Surface.”

But no Scorpion answers.

[—>Back in reality! – I am not sure exactly what his last words meant.  However, I did switch from Tulsi Tea to Tulsi capsules at this point.  I could feel the difference instantly.  And to think I was beginning to doubt her power, the capsules modified my brain and body, and I liked it!]

Feb 9th – Session 6:

I find myself too scared to meditate at night alone.  So I lay next to my partner, feeling safe.  Guiding Spirit is called to and catches me up on some self-improvement.  My mind is racing with anticipation and I can’t find a way to meet up with Basil.  I barely know them!  So I ask a good friend, Queen Anne’s Lace, to play.  She is a dear Plant Ally who I am utterly in love with.  Such a good friend.  She shares her ideas on self-improvement and we dance for quite some time until I remember that I had been looking for Basil.

“How do I find Basil dearest Queen Anne?”

“Ask one of the guys.”

“Like Yarrow, a male Spirit I know, but that’s a lot to ask one plant.  Maybe Mullein will help, a male Spirit I know by association.”  So I find two and wonder if I need another.

“Maybe Ginseng?”

Queen Anne and girlfriends look at me with disbelief,

Ain’t no way you know Ginseng…!

And in comes Basil Messenger, flying about Yarrow and Mullein.  He is speaking and acting quickly.  Into my head he flies!  Gobbling it up like a blender.  I’m scared, but the energy seems good so I let it continue.  Then a black temptress version of Thai Basil follows Messenger through each space of my body, filling it with dark whirlwind energy.  I actually begin to worry, my heart is racing and I call to any herbs to help!  I begin thinking of any pretty female Spirits I know to combat the darkness.  I am being stung by scorpions and told to feel the dark energy, just let it be.  Anyone?!  Help!

Then riding in on butterfly wings comes Tulsi.  A wave of white, flowing energy, she blows wind over my body and a white comfort covers me.  She is smiling, laughing, and loving along with Father Basil, who begins to grow at exponential proportions.  He has come forth, creating large pyramids showing his rock hard power and strength.  The two combine male and female aspects to be Krishna; a wonder of the two genders, admired and respected by all.  It is my partner’s balancing male energy that has allowed me to contact the Basil family.  It’s their way of showing that Basil Spirit can be male and/or female form.

The Basil aroma unites their family.  Tulsi keeps Garden Basil light by giving him delicate white flowers.  She balances his dark edges.  Garden Basil is the quick moving power, masculine and scorpion.  Tulsi is nurturing like a Mother, light and airy.  Thai Basil, their daughter, receives attributes from both.  Her dark purple stem holding up her light purple flowers.

I see Garden Basil and Tulsi royally as they bid me adieu.  He has white hair and dark clothing, she with dark hair and white clothing.  They appear to be celebrities, honorable and magnificent in their grandeur.  Father Basil is kissing me happy for the Materia Medica I posted.  Tulsi gives me her blessings that she will return.  Thai Basil, who appears to me as her plant-form, invites me back for more at any time.  And they all encourage me to continue.

* * *

I thank Tulsi and the Basil Family for allowing me to share this information with you.


—–> A personal journal entry which describes how the Basil Herbs mingled in my life

How I’ve been feeling – up to feb 3: Feel uplifted, a little more positive about myself and my situation. Very motivating to have a project. Then starting saturday I felt moody and irritable.  Refusing to help myself by blaming others, then… basil idea! Drank lemon ginger Tulsi on Sunday. Ginger too strong, let steep too long? Drank regular Tulsi once last week but didn’t notice immediate effects. Have not used Basil cream bc no serious acne. Put on red nose-dot tonight (those ever lasting blood vessel dots that appear out of nowhere and never go away…) and small meditation/mantra/words spoken and asked for help.

Feb 9: Switched to Tulsi capsules two days ago. Taking two capsules once a day.  The tea was not doing it? Used the cream one morning and the pimple’s swelling went down but no immediate reactions or clearing. Today the acne is about 50% gone. Works well actually. No weird side effects like irritation. Would use after the experiment, but maybe not before pimples are apparent. I guess my head feels better. I feel clear. Not really super-motivated, but definitely not as sad/moody. Balanced and ready but not over-hyper. Calmer.

Feb 15: Stopped taking capsules for some weird reason and can feel head racing, at night especially.  Lost the lesson so quickly from Basil… must be long-term with Tulsi.  Face was clearing and then moon moment brought a full on break-out.  I held off on basil to let my face do its thing (its once a month, and can be solved through the liver). Thai basil came from Vietnamese restaurant. Looks happy, waiting for roots! Not interested in summoning the rumored and mysterious Basil Scorpion, but am keeping in the back of my head the idea that you should not use Garden Basil for too long of a time, especially the essential oil. Am itching to de-dread, A clear head.

Feb 18: Feel like crap. Have headache after sore throat and runny nose (brief).  Head is foggy behind nose and above throat, very strange. Allergies?  I keep thinking it might be.  Am trying combos of many different remedies. Taking Tulsi to clear my head as supportive therapy during cold.  See Basil darkness as little side-kick animal.  Interesting.  Face clear except a few, and some with scabs from popping.  Haven’t been applying cream.  Cleanse the liver!

Feb 24: Basil withdrawals?!?!?!

March 3: head aches not apparent. Can feel fog in brain though, if I really concentrate on it. Mind racing at night, but its an exciting time of year!  So I read.  Wanting to meditate again, haven’t since the big meeting, actually tired me out in a different way than say, farming or studying.  My Journey Spirit was tired.  But I am looking forward to meeting with the Basil Family, and seeing what they have to say about continuing with the herbs.

March 11: Meditated last night.  Keep Tulsi but in smaller doses. 1 capsule mid-afternoon.

March 27: Still frolic with Thai Basil. Came to me in meditation for the window planting.  Haven’t taken Tulsi in a while, but when I do I am going to try her with the B vitamins again.  The dark energy near the attic has faded.  I like Thai Basil.  She is calm.  Have felt clear-headed and positive, so neither Garden Basil nor Tulsi have been beckoned.  However, I was thinking of Tulsi recently in a daydream.  I am excited to have such great friends to summon when in need!  Thank you Basil Family!  Blessed Be!

“Holy Basil! it’s Tulsi”

—–> Materia Medica for Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi

Latin & Common Names:

Ocimum sanctum – Krishna Tulsi, Rama Tulsi

Ocimum tenuiflorum – Holy Basil, Bubblegum Bush

Ocimum gratissimum – Vana Tulsi, Tree Basil, Wild Tulsi

Plant Family: Lamiaceae, the mint family


Ocimum sanctum

Seeds I bought at Gardener’s Supply from High Mowing Seeds in Wolcott, VT.  I am not sure if it’s Rama Tulsi or Krishna Tulsi, but the High Mowing website had this to say: “The Hindu people of India worship this plant as “Tulasi”, the incarnation of the goddess.”  I have added their website to the sidebar under Products From Experiments.  Darling beads of life.

Sacred Basil ready for harvest

And there she is, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Amongst many sisters in a tiny windowbox (seems to be my trend).

Medicine Preparation used in Experiment:

  • Tulsi Tea – from Organic India.  Ocimum sanctum (2 varieties) and Ocimum gratissimum. Recommended use: boil water, pour over tea, let sit at least 3min, drink!  1.9g of herb per 8oz water
  • Switched to Tulsi Dietary Supplement from Organic India.  Ocimum sanctum (2 varieties) and Ocimum gratissimum. Recommended Use: 2-3 capsules morning and early afternoon.  100mg of each herb per capsule.  1.2 – 1.8g per day.

Growing Habits/Habitat:

  • Native to India
  • Lots of sun
  • Rich soil which will drain easily
  • Regular watering
  • I have personally sown and grown O. tenuiflorum and gave it the name Bubblegum Bush, because its fragrance reminds me of such.  In observation, this variety holds on tight and will grow even if neglected (of course she does not prefer this and will do much better with lots of love and attention).
  • This summer I grew the O. sanctum pictured above and observed her growing preferences as similar to the tenuiflorum.

Parts of Plant Traditionally Used:

  • Seed, Flower, Leaf, Stem, Root ~ all parts!
  • Some recipes call for fresh, though others may require dried parts


  • Gather for leaf and flower when the first ring blooms
  • Roots should be gathered in the Fall and dried
  • Seeds also harvested in the Late Summer & Fall

Referenced Uses:


  • Antiviral
  • Antiseptic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anticancer
  • Antimutagenic
  • Will reduce or prevent radiation damage
  • Antispasmodic (relieves spasms)
  • Antioxidant (removes free radicals from the body)
  • Adaptogen (nourishing to the nervous system)
  • Liver protection
  • Reduce or prevent ulcers
  • Blood cleansing inside and out
  • Bites and stings
  • Good for the Reproductive System
  • Colds, coughs, sinus congestion
  • Reduce or prevent headaches
  • Clarity of the mind
  • Increase energy after illness
  • Increase sexual stamina
  • Prevent epidemic disease with regular use


  • Tulsi’s Sacred-Status in India puts her at the top, next to the Lotus
  • Clears the Aura through Divine Force
  • Opens the heart and mind for love and devotion
  • “promotes sensory acuity” (Frawley 103)
  • “Tulsi stems worn as rosaries and promote the energy of attachment” (Frawley 103)
  • Tulsi contains a natural form of mercury, which is believed to be the seed power of Shiva and helps you to become enlightened
  • absorbs positive ions, energizes negative ions, and liberates ozone from the sun’s rays” (Frawley 103)

***Culinary & Food as Medicine

  • If you want to get creative, there are dozens of recipes from India and S.E. Asia which include this Sacred Medicine.

Notes from the Herbalists:

Taryn Forrelli, N.D. (Naturopathic Doctor) shares her thoughts.

Doctor for New Chapter, vitamin & supplement company, in Brattleboro, VT:

  • Holy Basil can be very helpful in relieving stress.  If not taken care of, stress can increase illness.  Your body becomes weakened by the illness, and yet, continuing stress in your life can take away the energy your body needs to heal.  Thus creating a dramatic downfall into stress-induced disease.  But Holy Basil can help to stop this from happening by leveling with your mind and body.  The Holy Herb can help you create a “positive stress response” and prevent further damage from daily stress (Forrelli 1).

Horizon Herb’s website offers more insight on growing Tulsi.

Richo Cech is an Herbalist and ‘Plant Spirit Farmer’ based out of Williams, Oregon:

Science Research:

Here’s a link to the USDA National Agricultural Library, also known as AGRICOLA.

You can search any of the Holy Basil species and read about their recent scientific findings.


Cech, Richo. Making Plant Medicine. Oregon: Horizon Herbs, 2000.

Forrelli, Taryn ND. Natural Stress Relief: Supercritical Holy Basil. Vermont: New Chapter, Inc., 2010.

Frawley, Dr David and Dr Vasant Lad. The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, 2cnd ed. Wisconsin: Lotus Press, 2001.

Smith, Ed. Therapeutic Herb Manual: A Guide to the Safe and Effective Use of Liquid Herbal Extracts. Oregon: Ed Smith, 2006.


***Ask your Family Doctor and/or Village Herbalist if Holy Basil would be appropriate for you and your specific conditions, especially if you are pregnant or younger than 18 years old ***

2 thoughts on “The Basil Experiment

  1. Hi,I got tulsi cuttings from my Indian friend and I have been putting it in water, changing the water every day and so far 2 1/2 weeks and no roots. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hello Krynauw, I believe it is still possible to get roots from your cutting. It may take another week or so. Maybe change the water once every 3 days to cause less disturbance/shock to the plant. I never changed the water with my Thai Basil, just added more water if it became low. If the bottom of the stem has turned brown or rotted, snip it off to start fresh. Goodluck!

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