Could Swearing at Your Basil Plant Make it Grow?

© Quentin Bacon
By Annie Quigley Posted August 10, 2015

Angry? Stressed? Try yelling at some basil. It could be beneficial to both you and the plant.

In this series, we reveal the secrets, histories and quirky bits of trivia behind your favorite foods.

Angry? Stressed? Try yelling at some basil. It could be beneficial to both you and the plant.

According to the ancient Greeks and Romans, there were three steps to successfully growing basil. Step one: dig the holes. Step two: plant the seeds. Step three: scream, yell, and curse profanely at the little mounds of dirt. Maximum anger equaled maximum growth. (Of course, if yelling and screaming got the gardener too riled up, he or she could always just sniff some mint, which the Romans believed had the power to calm fiery tempers.)

While there's no harm in berating your basil plant, there's certainly no guarantee it will work. After all, the ancient peoples who swore by that teaching also believed that stray basil leaves could turn into venomous scorpions if left under a pot. And, despite basil’s delicious scent, they also hesitated to hold it too close to the nose for fear that scorpions might grow in the brain.

After venting about your tyrannical boss to your herb garden, try making one of these delicious recipes with your bumper crop of basil.

Related: Cooking with Herbs
24 Summer Salads
Ultimate Summer Vegetable Guide

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