Basil (Ocimum basilicum) of the Family Lamiaceae, is a tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, sweet smell. There are many varieties of basil. That which is used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil, lemon basil and holy basil, which are used in Asia. Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. Usage: Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto—a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce. Its other two main ingredients are olive oil and pine nuts. Recently, there has been much research into the health benefits conferred by the essential oils found in basil. Scientific studies have established that compounds in basil oil have potent antioxidant hence anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties.