Thai Basil

Thai Basil

Photo by YinYang/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by YinYang/iStock / Getty Images


Thai basil is basic small, multi-branched herb, has a height up to a foot. It has narrow, arrow-shaped leaves that are half in the size of common sweet basil leaves. Thai basil has purple shoot, which gives a nice combination with bright green leaves. The leaves are smelly and have a strong flavor with hints of licorice. Some varieties have larger leaves, and some have a purple hue. When the plant gets matured, it’s stems become rather thick. The flowers have the same intense smell and hint of licorice flavor. 


Thai basil is available at entire year. 

(summer and early fall in New England)

Current Facts

Thai basil is harvested in Asian area of sweet basil known for its tangent flavor and its capability to keep in touch high cooking temperatures. Botanically, Thai basil is known as Ocimum basilicum var. tenuiflorum though it is sometimes known under the botanical name Ocimum thyrsiflorum. In Thailand, Thai basil is regarded as as bai horapha. It is sometimes overlapped with holy basil, which has fuzzy leaves with clove flavor to some extent.  

Nutritional Value

Thai basil is full of vitamins K and A, as well as specific range of vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium. Basil is recognized for its healthy oil, having eugenol – a natural component with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 


Thai basil is a very common component in Thailand’s kitchen, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. It is used to add flavor into broths and soups, like the traditional Phô (pronounced ‘Fuh’), and Thai green curry. The herb is added in cooking meal to have its smell and flavor in food. Add Thai basil to Pad Thai noodles, meat or chicken stir-fry dishes. Thai basil is used in sweet dishes too, added to fruit salads or desserts made with tropical fruits like mango. In oreder to store Thai basil, cut the ends and put them in a glass of water, same like a bouquet of flowers. Thai basil is also freeze and can be fresh if kept in air tight container or bags. 

Ethnic/Cultural Info

Thai basil is a kitchen based plant in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, where it has its common name. It is a main ingredient in pad gra prow, a stir-fry beef dish, as well as gai pad krapow, made with chicken. It is mostly cooked in Taiwanese kitchen, and many stir-fry dishes where it can stand up to the high heat of the wok. 


Thai basil is found in Southeast Asia, and it is originated in Thailand. Generally, any purple colored basil with a licorice flavor is considered to be ‘Thai basil’. There are a few known varieties, such as Queenette and Siam Queen. Thai basil is a soft plant, and does not survive in cold temperatures; it is found in the humid, tropical and sub-tropical environments. Thai basil has become a well-known, popular herb with the peak of Thai and Vietnamese kitchen around the world.