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Tree Description: Tree basil grows as a shrub and can grow from 3 to nearly 10 feet tall.
Scientific Name: Ocimum gratissimum
Common Names: African Basil
Relatives: African basil, clove basil, shrubby basil, tree basil, wild basil, East Indian basil, Nchanwu leaf, Russian basil, African tea bush, Camphor basil, Clocimum, Mary bush, Caribbean basil, Pale-yellow-flowered basil, South-East Asian tree basil, clover basil, fever plant, mosquito plant wild basil, Zulu basil, lemon basil and tea bush
Origin: Tropical Africa, Madagascar, India, South East Asia
Distribution: It is cultivated and naturalized in China, South America, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia, Hawaii, Mexico, Panama, West Indies, Brazil, and Bolivia and on many islands in the Indian and the Pacific region.
Importance: The plant has aromatic and medicinal properties. With the rich scent and a citrus to anise flavor, the leaves are excellent in salads, sauces and other culinary applications. The leaves are often made into a flavorful tea. The flowers are also useful as a flavoring. The plant’s oils are exported as a substitute for clove or thyme oil. The oil is an excellent natural insect repellent. One of the more interesting tree basil uses is in its native range, where the leaves are used for ceremonial purposes. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to treat anxiety, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and more.