MCCORMICK BASIL LEAVES 2.8OZ Basil is a common spice consisting of the dried leaves of Ocimum basilicum, an annual herb of the family Lamiaceae (Labiatae) native to India and Iran. Basil leaves are a member of the mint family, and was known as the herb of kings in ancient times. In fact, its name may have been derived from the Greek word basileus, meaning "king". The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that you had to curse and yell while you were planting basil seeds, to get a good crop, although that practice has since been largely abandoned, at least by commercial growers. Like other members of the mint family, basil has been used medicinally for digestive upsets. Basil goes well with other herbs, spices, and flavorings, especially thyme, garlic, oregano, and lemon.