paper good, electrons bad…

Sitting in a muddy stream I had fallen in, with Peterson’s field guide in my back right-hand pocket and Newcomb’s in my left, absorbing water after having softening my fall, I again reflected on the wonders of the paper book, good in all conditions and, as these two have already proven, able to be rescued from horrible situations.

Then I see people with those horrible e-readers and want to channel my inner luddite and go smash them to pieces.

Which, naturally, leads to a piece I wrote on paper books, published on PennLive.com today.

 pixbooks (2)By Bob Quarteroni

I fancy myself a semi-decent amateur naturalist, so I spend a lot of time out in the woods, on my knees or duff, digging through my field guides and trying to decide if that little guy there is a European Buckthorn or not.

Imagine If I tried that with a Kindle or any e-reader. Besides the fact that a sudden urge to sit would probably result in glass shards in the area that some say is my brightest, it would hardly fit in my cargo shorts pockets where my field guides fit nicely and, unlike a paperback, if I dropped it on a rock it wouldn’t be nearly as forgiving.

Only one of the many reasons I strongly prefer good old paper books to any electronic reader.

I just don’t see the appeal, especially when I see people trying to tilt their screens so they can read in bright sunlight, or listen to someone moan about the price of downloads.

What’s the fascination? A lot has to do, I’m sure, with the desire to have the newest toy on the electronic block, whether it’s a Dicky Tracy-type wristwatch or this. And, being older than it, I don’t think I can grasp the total commitment of younger generations to an all-online world.

Pity. In some ways I feel sorry for them. I have such a strong affection for books both for the material shell, and for the words and ideas in them.

I think of times like when I had just graduated from college and two friends and I flew Icelandic Airline to Luxembourg, bought an old Renault beer delivery truck for $240, and drove around Europe, giving rides to anyone who would pay for the gas.

We only had one book among us: The first volume of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So we – literally – split it up. As first reader I’d read 30 pages or so and then rip that part out and give them to the second reader and he would pass it on to the third reader and so on.

By the end, the book had disappeared, but we all got to read it and its one of the umpteen book memories I’ll carry with me forever.

But I know I’m a dinosaur, one of the dwindling who cannot think of a finer way to start the day than with the morning newspapers, coffee and enough time to read them, slowly, completely and luxuriously.

Like with books, I see all the advantages of actual newspapers and no disadvantages. If I see a series of lectures I want to attend, all I have to do is rip the schedule out of the paper. If I wanted to do that online, I’ve have to be sure I was near a printer and if I wasn’t, I’d be out of luck.

So, while we may eventually be reduced to a cult-like following of dwindling proportions, we paper-huggers will never go away. We will never give up our printed copies of Annie Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” read so many times and with so many highlights and scribbles it looks like it’s been through a war; and it has, a war of love.

Just like I will never give up my tattered cheap green paperback copy of “Madame Bovary” that I return to after long absences, and sadly watch Emma’s demise in a book transported in a back pocket everywhere. And each time, her death is just as painful. I don’t know if that would be true on an e-screen.

Happily, there are other troglodytes who share my passion. Author H.L. Stephens is even more strident than me: “I will only stop reading books printed on paper when they pry them from my cold, dead, withered hands, and even then, they will be hard pressed to take them from me.”

Well, I hope I’m not quite that angry when they rip out my last page. Instead, I’d like to pay homage to the patron saint of the print, Benjamin Franklin.

No man loved the printed word more. He owned his own printing shop and printed reams of material, including the Pennsylvania Gazette and his Poor Richard’s Almanac. For the rest of his life, regardless of his other accomplishments, Franklin always considered himself a printer.

His epitaph, written as a young man, will be our last word:

The Body of

  1. Franklin, Printer;

Like the Cover of an old Book,

Its Contents torn out,

And stript of its Lettering and Gilding,

Lies here, Food for Worms

But the Work shall not be wholly lost:

For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more,

In a new & more perfect Edition,

Corrected and amended

By the Author.

 

 

 

Live forever? What a horrible idea

silence

There was such a robust — and ongoing — reaction to my piece yesterday that I thought it makes sense to run its companion piece today. Hope it generates as much intereset.

By Bob Quarteroni

I hope there is no life after death; no heaven, no hell, no cosmic consciousness, no reincarnation, nothing.

I know when I say that it upsets people; they often get quite angry at me for not wanting to be Bob the Eternal.

I hear so often how the idea of an afterlife, a heaven of whatever stripe, is what keeps them going, and without that the universe would be empty and have no meaning.

Well, I think it is empty and doesn’t necessarily have any meaning, but that doesn’t particularly bother me. I’ve come to terms with it.

Perhaps the best expression of this I’ve ever heard is an ancient Easter Island proverb: We are born, we eat sweet potatoes, and we die.

Those 10 words sum it up perfectly: We are born for an unfathomable reason on an obscure planet in one of a trillion galaxies drifting around the backwaters of the universe for the briefest blink of time in the vast sea of eternity.

Why this should be is the ultimate $64,000 question but we’re never going to know, in my probably not humble enough opinion.

So while I would love to know what it all means, in its enormous complexity and imponderable dimensions, my chances are about as good as a microbe’s chance of being elected President: It’s just not going to happen.

And the odd thing is I feel sort of cheery about this. I don’t regret for a second that when my candle blows out, that will be it. (It is strange to think though that if I would die in my sleep I would never even know that I ceased to exist).

My life has been rich with experiences and full of people I’ve loved and who have loved me.

I’ve seen and felt just about every emotion it is possible to feel. I’ve done — mostly — what I’ve wanted and I have few regrets.

At 67 that’s enough for me. I’ve lived my life and I’m ready to leave it with no regrets, nor fears.

That’s because I always envision what comes after as pretty much like what came before I was born: a nice, quiet, dark, welcoming nothingness, a womb of vacancy, a cradle of emptiness.

Far, far preferable to having to fight this crazy monkey of a mind for eternity, even in some kind of sanitized, whitewashed heaven, or as an itsy-bitsy sentient pimple on some universal cosmically conscious visage.

Being an all-star physical coward, I do fear the death of dying but I don’t fear death at all. It’s, obviously, a universal condition, affecting everything and everyone — at least those that we know about — and rather than fearing it I think a reasonable response is to just accept is another facet of our lives. We eat them sweet potatoes and we die.

Or, as Stephen Hawking — who has obvious reasons to want to be released from his flesh prison, said, “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

But I am in a tiny minority. I just saw on CNN this morning that the single biggest characteristic that would disqualify someone to be a president in their opinion was to be an atheist. And recent study found that 74 percent of American adults believe in God and 68 percent believe in a heaven.

The believers are legion; this desire to go on after death seems an almost universal urge, notwithstanding us outliers who just won’t get with the program.

The idea that this is all their is seems to be sooooo terrifying to most people that they just can’t accept it and they fall back on the soothing pieties and beliefs of religions from Albigensianism to Zoroastrianism to comfort them with the idea of an eternal pie in the sky once we reach room temperature.

Not sharing this, I don’t understand the fear. What’s so hot about being around forever? To me that would seem like the worst penance that could be inflicted on anyone, not a prize to be cherished.

Isaac Asimov agreed, saying “I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”

Amen to that.

Aging is a harsh mistress….

I don’t know what it was — the hike the day before hadn’t been strenuous at all — but I woke up with my Achilles tendon on fire and my neck/shoulder as painful as they’ve been in I don’t know how long (luckily, I have my first appointment for PT at the Heinz Spine Clinic and Sports Center Thursday). So did very little yesterday, just ambled from library to Wegman’s, etc. home to an evening of ice packs, hot packs and today feel about 50 percent better but that scared the bejeezus out of me. This aging is not for the weak of heart.
So my thoughts on turning 70 earlier this

 

By Bob Quarteroni

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten.” Psalm 90:10

So there you have it. According to the Bible the warranty on this puckered-up meat package is about to expire.

On Feb. 6, a birthday I share with horror with Ronald Reagan, I turned 70, when the Bible says it’s time to turn intorooma subterranean sandwich for the eyeless hungry.

It seems just yesterday I was making mud pies with Joanie Ondish under our grapevine and now look at me: Told by Scripture that my ticket is ready to be punched.

So, how do I feel about this? Should I expound on some profundities, state some nuggets of wisdom that I’ve learned over the decades, impart important truths to those of you younger than me?

Nope.

The truth is I feel no wiser – no less ignorant about everything – now than I did when I was a freshman at Central Catholic High school shooting spitballs though straws at my friends.

Which is beyond frustrating, since my entire life has been focused on the one and only truly important question we all face: What does it all mean?

Why are we here? Why were we born? What is life? Is there a God? Is the university entirely random? Is this all a dream? Is there even such a thing as reality?

All part and parcel of the same question, the ur-why, the meaning of the whole damn thing.

I was born reflective and I’ve stayed that way.

Sixteen years of Catholic schooling (even as I rejected that religion’s silly rote mumbo-jumbo) early fueled my obsession with understanding a universe so unknowable, so seemingly random, so inexplicably composed of fantastic beauty and evil beyond understanding.

And the following decades were quests for knowledge in a myriad of ways, from mysticism to Zen, from meditation to Thomas Merton, from existentialism to magic mushrooms, from Paracelsus to St. John of the Cross, from the Kabballah to Buddhism, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.

The result? Nada. I feel I know less now then when I was making the mud pies.

I feel exactly like the woman in Annie Dillard’s transformational – for me – “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.”

“We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty violence…..’Seems like we’re just set down here,’ a woman said to me recently, ‘and don’t nobody know why.’”

Amen to that, sister.

After a lifetime of trying to understand, it’s no clearer to me now if, in the terms of one of my King’s College theology courses, there is an “unmoved mover” behind it all. Or if it’s just random chaos, noise, interference, indifference.

As “2001” author Arthur C. Clarke put it: “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

Anyhow, thanks to my limited intelligence I’ll obviously never know the answer. I almost hate to trot it out because I use it so often but it’s so perfect: Alfred North Whitehead’s “The universe is not only stranger than you imagine but stranger than you can imagine.”

And I think that would be the case. Whatever’s going on is going to be so fantastically weird and complex, we wouldn’t understand it even if it was served up in tiny slices for our tiny brains.

It would be like trying to teach the theory of relativity to a flatworm. Not gonna happen.

So, leaving the great profundities aside, what have I learned in my 25,550 days?

I’ve learned that life is both sweet and sour. I’ve lived a thoroughly messy life and I wouldn’t change a minute of it, not even when I screwed up the most or was most heartsick.

It’s been an enjoyable, sloppy mess, full of loves and hates, likes and dislikes, adventures and misadventures; a roller coaster of loud, hard, intense living that is getting to the end so fast that it takes my breath away.

Did it have any great meaning? I would think not, though its memories and illuminations are priceless to me and will be until I blink out.

While the jury is out on the cosmic riddle, I strongly believe there is no afterlife, no personal Bobby Q floating around in the ether for eternity doing – what exactly?

That seems so silly to me to not even be worth serious consideration. No, as the ancient Easter Island proverb goes: We are born, we eat sweet potatoes, and we die.

When the rough beast I am slouches to a stop, that will be it for me. Nothing will be left but other people’s memories of me and a room-temperature husk, devoid of life and meaning.

But I don’t find that depressing at all. It’s been a good run for a little dust mote like me, one helluva ride.

Even though I’ve never found any answers, I’ve never stopped looking and questioning, wondering and hoping, seeking and probing. And that, for me, has given meaning to my life.

On his deathbed Rabelais said, “I go to see a great perhaps.”

Soon, perhaps, so will I.

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections after having fallen in a muddy stream.

books

When I was sitting in the muddy little stream I fell into yesterday, my right arm and camera plunged into a knot of catbrier and neither showing any rush to be otherwise, I started thinking of books, field guides mostly, perhaps because I was sitting on two in my back pockets, Peterson’s in my left, Newcomb’s in my right.
It made me remember that I had once written “A Field Guide to Field Guides” and if I wasn’t so lazy I’d learn to use the scanner I bought a year ago and haven’t turned on yet and scan the 18 inch pile of old documents, all written when we were still using typewriters.
Til then, ran across this on field guides and paper books and as I now head to dry out some of the things that got muddered yesterday, it seemed a good time to trot it out.

Bob Quarteroni

By Bob Quarteroni
I fancy myself a semi-decent amateur naturalist, so I spend a lot of time out in the woods, on my knees or duff, digging through my field guides and trying to decide if that little guy there is a European Buckthorn or not.
Imagine If I tried that with a Kindle or any e-reader. Besides the fact that a sudden urge to sit would probably result in glass shards in the area that some say is my brightest, it would hardly fit in my cargo shorts pockets where my field guides fit nicely and, unlike a paperback, if I dropped it on a rock it wouldn’t be nearly as forgiving.
Only one of the many reasons I strongly prefer good old paper books to any electronic reader.
I just don’t see the appeal, especially when I see people trying to tilt their screens so they can read in bright sunlight, or listen to someone moan about the price of downloads.
What’s the fascination? A lot has to do, I’m sure, with the desire to have the newest toy on the electronic block, whether it’s a Dicky Tracy-type wristwatch or this. And, being older than it, I don’t think I can grasp the total commitment of younger generations to an all-online world.
Pity. In some ways I feel sorry for them. I have such a strong affection for books both for the material shell, and for the words and ideas in them.
I think of times like when I had just graduated from college and two friends and I flew Icelandic Airline to Luxembourg, bought an old Renault beer delivery truck for $240, and drove around Europe, giving rides to anyone who would pay for the gas.
We only had one book among us: The first volume of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So we – literally – split it up. As first reader I’d read 30 pages or so and then rip that part out and give them to the second reader and he would pass it on to the third reader and so on.
By the end, the book had disappeared, but we all got to read it and its one of the umpteen book memories I’ll carry with me forever.
But I know I’m a dinosaur, one of the dwindling who cannot think of a finer way to start the day than with the morning newspapers, coffee and enough time to read them, slowly, completely and luxuriously.
Like with books, I see all the advantages of actual newspapers and no disadvantages. If I see a series of lectures I want to attend, all I have to do is rip the schedule out of the paper. If I wanted to do that online, I’ve have to be sure I was near a printer and if I wasn’t, I’d be out of luck.
So, while we may eventually be reduced to a cult-like following of dwindling proportions, we paper-huggers will never go away. We will never give up our printed copies of Annie Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” read so many times and with so many highlights and scribbles it looks like it’s been through a war; and it has, a war of love.
Just like I will never give up my tattered cheap green paperback copy of “Madame Bovary” that I return to after long absences, and sadly watch Emma’s demise in a book transported in a back pocket everywhere. And each time, her death is just as painful. I don’t know if that would be true on an e-screen.
Happily, there are other troglodytes who share my passion. Author H.L. Stephens is even more strident than me: “I will only stop reading books printed on paper when they pry them from my cold, dead, withered hands, and even then, they will be hard pressed to take them from me.”
Well, I hope I’m not quite that angry when they rip out my last page. Instead, I’d like to pay homage to the patron saint of the print, Benjamin Franklin.
No man loved the printed word more. He owned his own printing shop and printed reams of material, including the Pennsylvania Gazette and his Poor Richard’s Almanac. For the rest of his life, regardless of his other accomplishments, Franklin always considered himself a printer.
His epitaph, written as a young man, will be our last word:

The Body of
B. Franklin, Printer;
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And stript of its Lettering and Gilding,
Lies here, Food for Worms
But the Work shall not be wholly lost:
For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more,
In a new & more perfect Edition,
Corrected and amended
By the Author.

Monday morning meditation….

Muggy Sunday morning time for riddles. Haunted by this line in “The Stranger,” which I just reread: “For the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, he opened himself to the gentle indifference of the world.”

As it should be, as it must be.

But then again I saw the cutest little puppy yesterday, held by a woman in a walker at the local high rise. He was in a halter and standing so tall and proud as if he owned the world. Which he did, which he should have.

I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear my trousers rolled.

The problem, at this point, is that the future is not the future of what might be. There might be second chances, but I’ll never have the body again to run a marathon, never the looming vistas to think of what might be.

From Graham Greene: “He thought peace the most beautiful word in the language.”

It is, it will always be.

Bastante. No tengo nada mas decir. Aun en Espanol, paz es la palabra mas bonita.

From “Notes from the Underground.” “I could never stand more than three months dreaming at a time without feeling an irresistible desire to plunge into society.”

Me too, this self-imposed exile seems a tad much….but then again I finally run across a striped maple and ooh and aahh out loud: the bark REALLY is green.

From Annie Dillard: “Like a bear who went over the mountain, I went out to see what I could see. And, I might as well warn you, like the bear, all I could see was the other side of hte mountain: more of the same.”

So, you’ll understand or you won’t, which is as it should be.

infinity

Finding inland coral….

Went to the Blakselee Preserve yesterday but the Tobyhanna was so high my walking trails right along the water were all submerged so gave up after a while and went on the other trails, which I had never been on before. Not bad. LOTS of coral fungi…

So here’s some info on coral fungi.

And thought I’d repost my old Citizens’ Voice article on the Blakselee Preserve.

I MIGHT have posted it here before but that’s one of the luxuries of having your own blog and being 70 and a little dotty…You can do what you want!

Coral fungi are mushrooms that are usually shaped like coral from the ocean but can also be shaped like forks, worms or clubs. They are rubbery and sometimes are brightly colored.

Habitat

Most coral fungi grow on the ground, but some grow on logs and stumps. They are usually found in forests but some can also be found in fields.

Eating

Although they are not poisonous, some kinds are a laxative and some can cause stomach upset.

 

 

By Bob Quarteroni

“Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.” John Muir, pioneering naturalist

Taking such a course at the hugely unappreciated Austin T. Blakeslee Natural Area was Scott Newton of Charlotte, NC, who was sitting on a rock in the middle of Tobyhanna Creek “emptying my mind of everything except the moment and the perfect, quiet beauty of this place.”

Newton, a native of Bear Creek, said that the Natural Area, 9/10ths of a mile from Blakeslee Corners on Rt. 115 heading toward the interstate — was a chance discovery, “and I couldn’t have found a better spot if I tried. It’s absolutely perfect.”

The Natural Area, 130 acres of permanently protected land, is a lovely microcosm of the best that nature has to offer, from Tobyhanna Creek and its signature Tobyhanna Falls to miles of lovely trails, scenic wildflowers, picnic facilities and lots and lots of quiet. It is open dawn to dusk daily.

And this gem arose, improbably, from its beginnings as a Pocono hot spot. Originally farm land, the area morphed into Harrison Park nearly a century ago, and as they would have said then, it was the cat’s meow, the place to go in the Poconos.

And why not, it had all the bells and whistles: A large club house, two large swimming pools, roller skating, dancing, a Penny Arcade, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, even a miniature railroad.

Advertisements in 1931 for Decoration Day at Harrison Park called it “the Pocono’s beauty spot” and featured events including a clay pigeon shoot and a double header baseball game pitting the Blakeslee Giants against the Philadelphia Marines.

But in 1955, the Tobyhanna flooded, and flooded badly, and the lights went out for Harrison Park.

But today’s silence and tranquility is a carnival in its own right, a festival of the natural and scenic.

The Natural Area was made possible by a collaboration of Tunkhannock and Tobyhanna townships and was funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Monroe County Open Space Bond.

According to tobyhannatownship.org, “It was the desire that this area be kept in its natural state, adding only a few paths and other minor improvements to allow the public to enjoy its scenic beauty and to allow fishermen access to the Tobyhanna Creek.”

And that’s exactly how it is: natural, scenic and accessible.

Tobyhanna Creek flows from Tobyhanna Lake. It is fairly large, averaging about 40 to 60 feet wide and with the brownish, tannic water common in Pocono streams. It is stocked with trout both preseason and in season, with the last stocking normally coming in May and that’s pretty much the end of the season for trout.

“When the water gets very warm in July and August, fishing is poor on Tobyhanna Creek,” Dwight Landis says in “Trout Streams of Pennsylvania: An Angler’s Guide.”

(I fly fished it in mid-September and caught a fair number of smallmouth bass, but all were on the smallish side.)

But its best trout fishing is just around the corner. According to Game&Fish Magazine, the Tobyhanna is one of “our Top 10 Winter Trout Streams.”

“Imagine finding a reliable Pocono Mountain freestone stream in winter that contains wild brook and brown trout and also stocked trout,” the magazine says. “Tobyhanna Creek in Monroe County fishes amazingly well in winter. Fishermen who get there during a brief thaw liken it to springtime angling.”

An added bonus is access to Tobyhanna Falls, a regional jewel. As one person on TripAdvisor raved, “It was an unexpected surprise. We took the Creek Trail to the small falls. So glad we did this as it was an amazing discovery of beautiful (although small) falls with a nice amount of cool rock formations around it.”

If angling isn’t your game, rambling through the forest of hemlocks, pines, rhododendrons and hardwoods might be. There’s a colorful show of wildflowers all along the creek – Joe Pye Weed and the exquisite Cardinal Flower among them.

The 1.1l4 mile Creek Trail hugs the creek and ends at Tobyhanna Falls. The mile-long Highland Trail and half-mile Pine Trail bisect the park and take you to a blueberry swamp, a Falls Overlook and Woodpecker Hill, named so for obvious reasons.

The picnic facilities are top notch and the entire area is scrupulously, impeccably clean.

To keep it that way, follow the rules: No littering, motorized vehicles, alcoholic beverages, fires, hunting or swimming. Pets are allowed but scoop and leash laws are in effect.

Heading from Blakeslee Corners on Rt. 115 toward the interstate, there is an Upper Parking lot on the right – it’s very tiny and easy to miss – and then the main Lower Parking, also on the right, which is well=marked. There’s a visitor’s pavilion with a large notice board at the Lower Parking Lot entrance as well as a large number of picnic tables.

A map and brochure of the Blakeslee Natural Area can be downloaded from www.tobyhannatownship.org; click on communities-parks-recreation.

coral

Woodchucks, Opie and ‘the king of herbs’

I love it when critters don’t do what they are supposed to, like this ultimately laid-back woodchuck at Kirby Park yesterday.

He was so unconcerned by my presence wood that I got to within about 18 inches of him and he still wouldn’t move. He stayed there eating and I had to walk around him. Talk about a laid back grass muncher….

While 17-pound Opie, who is convinced that he’s 12-feet-tall and alpha male of all time (he will go up to Irish wolfhounds and act as if he’s in charge and, strangely, most of the times the other dogs will go along with it) climbed to the top of this rock and surveyed his kingdom and was happy with what he saw.

opierock

And in our ramblings, we ran into several zillion iterations of wild basil, called “the king of herbs,” now blooming underfoot just about any open field.

herb nutrition facts

The king of herbs basil herb is one of the ancient and popular herbal plants brimming with important health-benefiting phytonutrients. This highly prized plant revered as “holy herb” in many cultures all around the world.

Basil belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, in the genus: Ocimum. Its scientific name is “Ocimum basilicum.”

Asian basil-pink leaf basil-close up
Asian or “holy” basil (Ocimum sanctum). Large, hairy plant with pink flowers and pink leaves. Asian basil; close up view.

Basil herb is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia. This bushy annual herb specially grew for its medicinally useful leaves and seeds. Basil grows best in warm, tropical climates. The fully-grown plant reaches about 100 cm in height. Its leaves vary from light green to dark green and purple, smooth and silky, about 1 to 2.5 inches long and 0.5 to 1 inch broad with “opposite” arrangement. The flowers are quite large, white or purple, arranged in terminal spikes.

sweet basil
Mediterranean sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum). Note for smooth deep green leaves.

Many different subspecies of basil herb exist. The “Mediterranean” cultivar which typically known as “sweet basil” has light green leaves. In contrast, “Asian basil” (Ocimum sanctum) features large, hairy stems and stalks with pink flowers, purple or pink leaves in addition to possessing stronger “clove”-like flavor. There is also “lemon basil,” which has pleasant lemony flavor. Thai basil (O. basilicum ‘Horapha’) is similar in characteristics to Asian basil but features narrow, pointed, light green color leaves with a sweet licorice-like aroma.

The European “sweet basil” is mild and possesses sweet anise/clove flavor. For the same reason, it is also recognized as culinary basil since it is used extensively in the cuisine all over the world.

Health benefits of Basil herb

•Basil leaves hold many important plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.

•Basil herb contains many polyphenolic flavonoids like orientin and vicenin. These compounds were tested in-vitro laboratory for their possible antioxidant protection against radiation-induced lipid peroxidation in mouse liver.

•Basil leaves compose of many health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene, and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.

•The herb is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. Nonetheless, its is one of the finest sources of many essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins critical to optimum health.

•Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin-A, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.

•Zea-xanthin, a yellow flavonoid carotenoid compound, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it found to filter harmful UV rays from reaching the retina. Studies suggest that common herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are rich in zeaxanthin antioxidant help to protect from age-related macular disease (AMRD), especially in the older adults.

basil