Basil, once sacred and divine, is respectfully called as King of herbs. More than five thousand years ago, people began to grow basil in Persia, which was used as medicine or food. Basil was also used to prevent epidemic and sacrifice. Basil is sacred, but we can’t tell how does basil relate to the king.
Until Byzantine period in about sixth century, basil was recorded in the Christian literature and became the earliest herb growing on the cemetery of Jesus. Until now, basil is still indispensible in some sacraments of Orthodox Church.
As a kind of food,
Basil, originally from India, is best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Northeast Asian cuisine of Taiwan and the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.
In the literature of Han Dynasty of China, basil was recorded that it was coming from West Region and its Chinese name came from Sanskrit. However, it is still a riddle how basil reaches China in about two thousand years ago. In addition, basil has many other Chinese names.