Basil vs Sweet Basil


Both basil and sweet basil are listed on Dr. Sebi’s Nutritional Guide (Food List) under ‘Seasoning and Spices’, and some people are curious as to whether it is same item listed twice or two separate items. Let’s have a look:

“Basil” is a broad term that encompasses various species and cultivars, and “Sweet Basil” (Ocimum basilicum) is a specific type of basil. To clarify the comparison, let’s distinguish between the general term “basil” and “Sweet Basil”:


  • Scientific Name: The term “basil” is a common name for a variety of aromatic herbs belonging to the genus Ocimum in the mint family (Lamiaceae).
  • Types: There are many types of basil, each with its own unique flavor profile and characteristics. Some examples include Thai basil (Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora), Lemon basil (Ocimum basilicum var. citriodorum), and Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum).
  • Flavor: The flavor of basil can vary widely among different types. It can range from sweet and mild to spicy and peppery.
  • Uses: Basil is used in various cuisines around the world and is a key ingredient in dishes like pesto, Caprese salad, and many Italian and Thai recipes.

Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum):

  • Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum is the specific scientific name for Sweet Basil.
  • Flavor: Sweet Basil is characterized by its sweet, slightly peppery flavor. It is the most common type of basil used in Western cuisines.
  • Aroma: The leaves of Sweet Basil emit a strong, sweet aroma.
  • Culinary Uses: Sweet Basil is a staple in some cuisine and is often used in sauces, salads, and various dishes. It is the primary type of basil used to make classic basil pesto.

In summary, “Sweet Basil” is a specific type of basil with distinct flavor and aroma characteristics, and it is the variety most commonly associated with the general term “basil” in Western culinary contexts. However, it’s essential to recognize that the term “basil” is a broader category that includes various types, each with its own unique qualities and uses. Different basil varieties can bring diverse flavors to culinary creations, so exploring and experimenting with various types can add interesting dimensions to your dishes.

Author: sebifood

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