Basil leaf, or "Ocimum basilicum," is one of the world's most popular herbs. An annual plant belonging to the mint family, Basil is thought to be native to Asia and India, dating back over 5000 years. It is still widely cultivated in this region, growing well in warm, tropical climates. It is now prominently featured in other world cuisines, including Italian and Thai, and is famous for its role in pesto, a mixture of Basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Basil has been shown to have unique health benefit due to flavonoids and volatile oils. Providing protection at the cellular level, flavonoids help shield cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. The volatile oils are effective in restricting bacterial growth and acting as an anti-inflammatory. Basil is also naturally rich in vitamin A and magnesium, promoting cardiovascular health and aiding the blood vessels in relaxation and blood flow. The word Basil is from the Greek "basilikohn," meaning royal. Ancient cultures believed the herb to be sacred, using the plant in burial and ceremony. In India, basil is considered an icon of hospitality while Italy regards the herb as a symbol of love.