Tropical Herbs by Lynn Kirkland
I have just enjoyed a relaxing week on the beautiful island of Rarotonga.
It is always interesting to talk to the local people about how they use the plants that grow on their shores.
We visited the tourist attraction called Perfumes of Rarotonga, where they make their own soaps, oils and of course perfumes.
We bought a bottle of the oil they make called Miracle Oil which claims to help sunburn, bites, sores, and dry skin and pretty much anything you want to try it on.
I talked with the Rarotongan lady who makes it and she said they steep three plants in coconut oil, one of which is the basil in the photo.
She called it red basil and it looked to be perhaps the basil I would call sacred basil.
After a period of steeping the plants are strained and then the oil is bottled and sold as Miracle Oil.
We had an interesting conversation about other uses for this basil as she said that a traditional island use was for those folk who felt disturbed when it was a full moon, to rub it on them and they would feel calmer.
The woman's mother had been a village healer and used herbs in a traditional way for the locals.
Sadly her mother has passed on without passing this knowledge on.
I found the oil useful for coral cuts which I managed to get after a bit of an adventure on the reef one day and it was certainly soothing for skin that had been a little long in the sun.
Basil is used here mainly as a culinary herb however it is used as an aromatherapy oil in many countries.
I find it fascinating to hear local knowledge about the wonderful plants that people use in all parts of the world.