Basil is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia. It is a tender plant, and is used in cuisines worldwide. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.Basil is most commonly used fresh in recipes. In general, it is added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor.Dry basil has a more intense flavor when it is fresh but it degrades quickly. Dried herbs are generally three to four times stronger than the fresh herb.