Is Basil a Vegetable, fruit or herb? [Explained!]

Vegetables are an essential addition to our everyday diet. It is essential because we can get lots of necessary nutrients from vegetables, such as Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and many more which are not available elsewhere.

Additionally, vegetables can also make our skin healthier and glossier. Vegetables can be hand-grown by anyone, and all it needs is care and maintenance.

But now the question lies, Is basil a vegetable? And luckily, this article will discuss everything to answer your question. 

Man holding a pot with fresh basil. Blurred background. Is Basil a Vegetable, fruit or herb?
Photo by Rasa Kasparaviciene on Unsplash

here is the short answer to Is basil considered a fruit or a vegetable?

It is not just a curiosity question, but many people are confused since they believe basil is a herb. But are they wrong? No, at least not completely wrong. Two theories make this process of differentiating much harder.

1st theory:

Experts agree that basil is indeed a vegetable. And parsley, chives, and basil fall into the category of vegetables. According to the US government, vegetables can be divided into 3 types.

They are as follows:

1. Colorful vegetables

In this category, all those vegetables have their unique colors. Such as carrots which have a red and orange color to it. Lettuce, basil, kale, and cilantro have their perspective green colors. Different types of colorful beans like green beans, snow beans, and bush beans are also a fantastic addition to the color family.

2. Starchy vegetables

Some great examples of starchy vegetables are potatoes, corn, and sweet potatoes. 

3. Other vegetables

Vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, cucumber etc. provide an excellent source of vegetable sources and many other vegetables. But unfortunately, none of these gives us a clear definition of our question. 

2nd theory:

Herbs are a subset of vegetables. Therefore, herbs are not supposed to be mixed with vegetables. Instead, herbs are flavorful and have strong leaves, which we use for seasonings in different foods to increase the dish’s flavor, such as oregano, cilantro, and parsley. 

There is some significant difference between a vegetable and a herb. 


Unlike fruits which grow on plants, vegetables are Edible parts of a plant. Some vegetables can grow from the roots of a plant, such as carrots, radish, potatoes, garlic, and onions.

And also, some vegetables stay above the ground, like cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant etc. Even the stems of a plant can be edible, like celery. With all these unique features, it provides a variety of vegetable sources and is full of nutrients. 


Herb falls into the category of vegetables. Herbs and spices are almost similar. What makes spices different is that they can be collected from any part of the plant. These include roots, seeds, and leaves.

Horseradish, turmeric, and ginger are examples of spices made from roots. Red pepper and fennel are made from the fruits of a plant, and black pepper and mustard are made from the plant’s seeds. 

What type of vegetable is basil?

Basil is a vegetable, but we cannot call it a vegetable. However, we can say that basil is a subset of vegetables. Since basil is not like regular vegetables that we buy from the supermarket and can prepare to eat, it doesn’t fall into the category of vegetables.

Basil is used like herbs. Herbs are plant-based ingredients that we use to add and enhance the flavor of our food, including parsley, cilantro, and oregano.

But be aware that herbs are not to be confused with spices. Spices are used for the taste and color of the food. 

Why is basil called holy?

Holy basil, also known as “The Mother of All Medicine,” is also known as tulsi or tulasi in Hindi.

In India, the Holy basil is sacred to Hinduism. Holy basil is famous for promoting health, mind and spirit. The plant has been used widely by our ancestors. Holy basil falls into the category of mint family.

The plant is widely known as folk medicine and can be used in tea to make it more aromatic and flavourful with health benefits. Holy basil works best against infectious conditions like cold and flu, fever, malaria, and bronchitis.

Holy basil also works best against the below problems:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dysentery
  • Indigestion
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • Headache

In other parts of the world, this plant is used as an adaptogen which helps to reduce stress.

Not only that, adaptogen has other benefits such as:

  • Improves brain function
  • Boosting your immune system
  • Lower inflammation
  • Increases energy level
  • Slow aging
  • Improves organ and system functions

Can you eat fresh basil leaves?

Since basil falls under the subcategory of vegetables, it is mainly referred to as a herb. This herb is used to add flavor and fragrance to the dish. But if anyone wishes, they can eat fresh basil leaves.

However, it is not highly suggested for a person to eat fresh basil mainly because of the taste of basil leaves.

Holy basil tastes spicy and bitter, which most people would not enjoy eating raw. Instead, you have a better option by which you can still enjoy fresh basil leaves—for example, using basil leaves in your tea.

Putting some basil leaves inside your tea can give off a pleasant aroma and still give you all the benefits of basil leaves. 

How to cultivate basil?

How to cultivate basil
Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

If you are not familiar with farming plants, I must tell you that farming is not easy. But luckily, basil farming is easy and super fun to do.

To get started, all you need to do is follow the 3 steps mentioned below:

1. Soil

To plant anything, you must need soil. But any regular soil won’t do the job. Instead, you need soil that is suitable for growing basil.

In our case, we need the soil to be in perfect condition. Basil grows best in well maintained, moist, and neutral pH soil. For that, apply some rich compost to your soil. Not too much soil is required to grow basil. But if the soil gets too perfect, it can take away some flavor from your basil.

2. Sunlight

Since all plants require sunlight, basil grows best in proper and exposed sunlight. It is even advised that 6 hours of sunlight per day is the best amount of sunlight basil could get. 

3. Watering

Just like sunlight, water is also important for a plant. Give water when you see the soil dry. The best time for this could be at dawn and dusk. Try to water the roots rather than watering the leaves. 

Is cultivating basil profitable?

Certainly, cultivating basil can be profitable for you. For example, a farmer can easily earn $30,000 per acre of land each year by growing herbs.

But keep in mind that farming can take up a lot of space, and cultivating on a small soil and the time invested in it cannot be considered that profitable for you. You can sell basil between 5-12 per pound and occasional 14 per pound. 

Basil is a profitable business because it takes a minimal amount of time to grow. It takes about 7-12 days to see any visible changes to your plant. Then, it takes 3 to 4 weeks for basil to be ready for harvest. 

It is not only profitable business for you but also profitable for your body as well. Basil is called” The Mother Of All Medicine.” It has served as a cure for thousands of years and still holds its name.

Basil is a cure for diseases like cholera, malaria, diarrhea, cholera, heart diseases, nausea, etc. 

5 Uses of FRESH BASIL >> Check out the video below:


Basil is an essential herb that has served our ancestors for ages. It has been a cure for diseases even before medical science came into existence. And yet today, the benefits of basil leaves are well known and used for medicines.

This shows how powerful mother nature can be. A simple herb solves nausea, heart diseases, cold, and flu problems yet are super easy to cultivate.

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