By Sarah Fiorello

Ocimum gratissimum

Planting basil near the front door as a deterrent to harmful or negative energy is a West African tradition that was introduced into the U.S. by enslaved Africans and is still practiced by some African Americans today. African basil is native to much of tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa and Asia. In traditional African folk medicine, it is used to relieve fevers, headaches, and to eliminate intestinal parasites. The essential oil is used to repel insects.

Photo: Pam Shade

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