Holy basil - other uses

Holy basil isn't an extensively utilised plant. It has been used as a bead-making material and occasionally as a food flavouring.

Rosary beads

A photograph of rosary beads carved from the roots of the holy basil plant housed in Kews Economic Botany Collection.
Image: Rosary beads carved from the woody roots of the holy basil plant.

Because holy basil is regarded as a very sacred plant in Hinduism it is often used to make rosaries. The woody roots of the plant are carved to make the beads.


Occasionally in Europe and Thailand, the leaves are used to flavour savoury dishes and as a condiment in salads.