Wild basil (Clinopodium vulgare) belongs to the genus Clinopodium and is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). The plant is a perennial which is listed as very rare on the Dutch Red List of endangered plants. The name Clinopodium comes from the Greek word for a footstool and refers to the fact that the leaves form a seat for the flowers. In the Netherlands the plant grows up to 60 cm in the wild and smells similar to thyme. It can be found between grass and shrubs in ground which is dry and rich in calcium. Wild basil bears dark pink flowers from July to September.
The leaves can be used as a herb in cookery and also for making herb tea. The plant can also be used as a dye to produce a yellow or brown colour. It has a long tradition of use in folk medicine. In Bulgaria it is used to heal wounds and research shows that the plant has an anti-bacterial action.
OPALCHENOVA, G. & D. Obreshkova, 1999. Antibacterial action of extracts of Clinopodium vulgare L. curative plant. Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy 25 (3): pp. 323–328.
Text Nadine Lemmers
Translation Alun Harvey