Basil, once believed by the Greeks to have the power to aid in divination, once was used as a means to detect witches. One of the more popular methods employed by the ancient Greeks was to simply name out suspected witches while Basil was being burned. When it made a crackling sound as a name was called, it suggested who was practicing witchcraft. The ancient Hebrews used Basil for courage and strength while other middle eastern cultures used it as an herb of mourning.
The ancient Roman's, however, had quite a different take on Basil. The Romans used Basil as a means to curse their enemies. One of their rituals was to curse their enemies as they sowed the seeds. They believed that the more you mistreated the herb, the better it would grow. To ensure a good crop, one was to curse the herb and pray to the gods that the herb would not grow.
In India, on the other hand, both Basil and Holy Basil have is associations to Vishnu and Krishna. It is considered to be a sacred herb and is kept in the home to protect against Evil. It is also believed to have wonderful healing properties. Not only is basil used for it's medicinal properties, it is commonly prayed to.
When it comes to love, Basil also served many purposes. A husband could find out if his wife was unfaithful by having her hold a sprig of basil. If the leaves shriveled, the woman was believed to have been unfaithful. Another common belief maintained that if you smelled basil, you would attract a new lover. And another popular myth that suggested if a young maiden wanted a husband, she merely had to plant some basil and in a years times a new suitor would show up.
In Santeria, Basil can be for purification and luck baths. It is also widely used as a fumigating herb, known to remove spirits from a home. Can be made into a powerful cleansing bath. It is also commonly used in a number of sacred objects and talismans.