Basil Beyond the Kitchen

Most gardeners grow basil for the kitchen, but basil has other uses, too.

By Ann McCormick

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In the garden. In containers, plant purple-leaved basils with gray-leaved plants. Interplant them with marigolds or other hot-colored flowers.

In a bouquet. 'African Blue' has very long stems of purple flowers and greenish blue foliage. Donna Frawley of Frawley's Fine Herbary in Michigan recommends opal basil in flower arrangements. "Besides being beautiful, it is a good filler and looks great with pink petunias and silver artemisia."

As a tea. Steep basil to make a soothing herbal tea. It relieves cramps, vomiting, constipation, and even bad breath. Studies have also shown it can help relieve indigestion.

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