The basil plant is native to India and Iran. The proper name of the herb itself is Omicum basilicum. People commonly cultivate basil for use as a kitchen herb. Several varieties of the seeds that the basil grows from are commercially available.
People use basil to add flavor to sauces and salads, as well as to fish or meat. The herb is also suitable for making tea, and the resulting beverage has stimulative effects. Common, small-leaf basil is notable for its pungency, while large-leaf varieties have only a mildly pungent flavor. Both dried and fresh basil leaves are suitable for kitchen use.