Basil is a leafy green herb, belonging to the mint family. Commonly used to season food, basil offers amazing health benefits too.
The above mentioned mentioned Basil leaves should not be confused with holy ‘tulsi’ basil; one of the most revered plants in India and in other parts of Southeast Asia. Basil is primary used for cooking purposes whereas holy ‘tulsi’ basil is consumed mainly for its medicinal benefits.
There are several different varieties of basil leaves namely, sweet basil, Thai basil, Bush or Greek basil, Lettuce basil, and Cinnamon basil. Sweet basil is the variety that is commonly used for cooking.
Basil contains antioxidants, nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Two tablespoons of chopped basil contain 1 calorie, 0.17 gm proteins, 0.03 gm total fat, 0.14 gm carbohydrates, 9 mg calcium, 3 mg magnesium, 16 mg potassium, 1 mg vitamin C, 0.04 mg vitamin K, etc.
Health Benefits of Basil leaves…
Regulates Blood Sugar
1. Basil causes a slow release of sugar in the blood thus, helps in diabetes.
2. It helps maintain blood sugar levels. Basil prevents symptoms of diabetes namely, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, insulin resistance, etc.
Promotes heart health
1. The high magnesium content of basil leaves makes it good for heart health.
2. Eugenol content of Basil helps in reducing the high blood pressure. Eugenol blocks the calcium channels in the body thus, decreasing blood pressure.
3. Basil contains essential oil which helps cut down triglyceride and cholesterol levels thus, reducing high cholesterol levels.
4. Basil decreases the chances of atherosclerosis; acts as a tonic for the heart.
Maintains healthy skin
1. The presence of antioxidants and phytochemicals in basil maintains skin health.
2. The oils present in Basil cleanses the skin from within. It is considered as a skin cleanser. It further eliminates the impurities and dirt from clogged pores.
3. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effect prevents acne formation, delaying the signs of ageing, decreasing roughness and wrinkling and enhancing skin hydration.
1. The phytochemicals in basil prevent certain types of cancers such as oral, skin, lung, and liver cancers. The phytochemicals change gene expression, accelerate antioxidant activity, slow cell division, and trigger cell death, thus, preventing cancer.
2. Basil kills the free radicals in the body due to its anti-carcinogenic and anti-oxidant properties. It further, limits the growth of pre-cancerous.
Effective in gastrointestinal disorders
1. The presence of essential volatile oil in basil helps treat several stomach disorders. It can be used to treat several gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, bloating, ulcers, intestinal parasites, water retention, vomiting, or menstrual cramps.
2. Basil enhances the stomach’s defence by accelerating mucus cells, reducing stomach acid, increasing mucus secretion, and increasing the life of mucus cells.
3. Basil promotes healthy bacteria within the gut microflora which increases immunity and enhances healthy digestion.
4. It enhances the functioning of the bladder, bowels, and liver.
Sweet Basil is primarily used for cooking purpose whereas holy ‘tulsi’ basil is consumed mainly for its medicinal benefits.
Other possible benefits…
Apart from the above-mentioned health benefits, basil produces a few more such as, reduces stress and anxiety, boosts mental health, detoxifies the body, protects against infections, treats wounds, eases inflammation and joint pain, fights depression, supports liver function, reduces inflammation and swelling, combats infection,benefits the respiratory system, beneficial in treating microbial infections, and in reducing the temperature.
How to use Basil leaves?
Basil can be used in the following ways:
- For stuffing.
- In cocktails.
- As seasoning.
- As Basil butter.
- As Supplements.
- Added to dishes.
- In frozen desserts.
- In soups, salads, pizza, pesto, etc.
How to make Basil Tea?
Add 2tbsp chopped basil leaves in 1½ cup of water.
Boil the water for 5 to 10 minutes.
Strain the tulsi tea and serve it hot.