Also known as Tulsi, this herb - not to be confused with regular or sweet basil found in most American supermarkets - is native to India and is one of the most important herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is most commonly used to create medicinal teas and powders and can ease symptoms of heart problems, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis and eye disorders.
Always opt for fresh, vibrant green leaves without any yellowing when available. The leaves should be fragrant and can be frozen for future use. If not freezing, store in the refrigerator with a damp towel. When using dried, try searching local health food or ethnic stores to find the freshest variety.