P.O.Box 87704, Tucson AZ 85754
Phone: 520.907.9471
The Story Behind Mrs. Burns’ Famous Lemon Basil Soap

Mrs. Burns’ Famous Lemon Basil Herb is a surprisingly desert-adapted strain of culinary basil (Osimum sp.) which has been grown in the arid southwestern U.S. for more than 70 years. It is a delightful survivor. Brought from the Old World from unknown origin in the 1930s (prior to the 1940s government introductions from Thailand) this variety landed in the hands of a home gardener, Mrs. Clifford in Carlsbad, New Mexico. She saved and traded successful seed back and forth with her neighbor Mrs. Janet Burns, both recognizing how this lemon basil took to the heat and dryness with vigor.

Mrs. Burns’ son Dr. Barney Burns later took such seed-saving to heart by helping to found the southwest seed conservation nexus Native Seeds/SEARCH. His mother’s heirloom basil was multiplied out to share with the world via the NS/S seed catalog where her legacy continues into the future. Recently Johnny’s Seeds took up the seed-multiplying torch and has spread Mrs. Burns’ gift to thousands more.

This open-pollinated herb makes an aromatic addition to your kitchen garden, a culinary delight as a refreshing tea, a great lemon chicken, a delicious pesto…
[You can contact Native Seeds/SEARCH or Tucson Botanical Gardens for seed to expand your own edible landscaping, and for more info read Basil, an Herb Lover’s Guide by deBaggio and Belsinger.]

And now—with a unique recipe by heirloom gardener/artist/designer Martha Ames Burgess—you can enjoy it as a
finely handmade SOAP!

Made with

  • organic Sonoran Desert Jojoba Nut Oil (known by Native People to be a skin healing agent and now considered a cosmetic breakthrough,)
  • Emu Oil (being raised sustainably in the Arizona desert,)
  • Palm Kernal Oil, and a touch of Southwest Sweet Orange,
  • Mrs. Burns’ Lemon Basil herb providing a totally refreshing scent (the whole herb and seed included as a gentle exfoliant),

…Mrs. Burns’ Famous Lemon Basil Soap is truly a gift from the Southwest! Enjoy its rejuvenating effects on your skin and share it with a friend.