Basil “Ocimum basilicum,” is an herb of the family Lamiaceae native to Iran, India (here it is known as Tulsi/ Holy Basil) and other regions of Asia, and has been used for hundreds of years as a traditional remedy.
The size of the plant is about one meter in height, it is easy to cultivate and the harvest time is not very extensive. Its leaves vary from light green to purple and its flowers are quite large, white or purple, and are highly fragrant and similar to mint (they are from the same family).
There are several types of basil that differ in taste and smell; sweet basil leaves , considered the most popular in Italian & Indian foods, lemon juice that has a strong citrus aroma, and Thai that own characteristics of Asian food.
Today basil can be found planted in most homes in India and many other parts of the world and is one of the most respected and honored herbs because of its medicinal and culinary importance.
Nutritional Facts About Holy Basil
A serving of (100 grams) of basil contains:
- 23 Kilocalories of energy
- 2.65 grams of carbohydrates
- 3.15 grams of protein
- 0.64 grams of total fat
- 0 milligrams of cholesterol
- 1.60 grams of dietary fiber
- 68 micrograms of folates
- 0.902 milligrams of niacin
- 0.209 milligrams of pantothenic acid
- 0.155 milligrams of pyridoxine
- 0.076 milligrams of riboflavin
- 0.034 milligrams of thiamine
- 5275 IU of vitamin A
- 18 milligrams of vitamin C
- 0.80 milligrams of vitamin E
- 414.8 micrograms of vitamin K
- 4 milligrams of sodium
- 295 milligrams of potassium
- 177 milligrams of calcium
- 385 milligrams of copper
- 3.17 milligrams of iron
- 64 milligrams of magnesium
- 1.15 milligrams of manganese
- 0.81 milligrams of zinc
15 Health Henefits of Basil Herb
A publication of the Victoria University of Melbourne in Australia, found that basil has some antibacterial properties. This is believed to be due to its volatile oils, which fight bacteria and build antibodies in the body.
This could mean that adding fresh basil leaves to the food not only gives it flavor but also helps reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the dish, especially in salads with lettuce.
2.Prevent Chronic Diseases
The results obtained in a study published in “The Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research”, show that the extract of the basil plant has more antioxidant activity than many medicines.
Antioxidants help prevent and combat chronic diseases, as well as various types of cancer and heart disease.
Tusli/ Holy Basil Worship in India
There are several studies claiming that the components of basil have anti-aging properties.One of the research was one presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester, which showed that basil has properties that can help prevent the harmful effects of aging when applied topically. Moisturizing properties were also demonstrated.
An investigation reviewed in the book “Cultivation of medicinal plants in their own courtyard,” revealed that basil extracts are able to reduce swelling by up to 73%.
These effects on inflammation were similar to those seen with the drug Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug that is widely used in the treatment of arthritis.
Another study also examined the use of basil as an anti-inflammatory and found that it is highly recommended for patients with arthritis because it helps to decrease the volume of joints and reduce the pain it produces.
5.Prevents Eyes Diseases
Our eyes are prone to viral, bacterial and some fungal infections that can be very dangerous. Fortunately, basil has the power to fight these evils.
According to one study, this herb fights against conjunctivitis, in addition to its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties protect eyes from environmental damage such as pollution and chemical agents.
In addition, basil leaves could prevent a variety of eye problems, including cataracts, vision defects and inflammation of the eyeball.
6.Prevents Dental Problems
According to a study in India, basil leaves dried under the sun can be used to brush teeth, adding a tablespoon of mustard oil to make a paste and use it as a toothpaste. This is to maintain dental health and counteract bad breath.
In addition, it can be used to massage the gums and treat various gingival and periodontal diseases caused by a large number of microorganisms that can enter our mouth and cause dental problems such as tooth decay.
7. Treatment for Candidiasis
In an investigation by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, it was discovered that the Basil’s activity against the fungus that causes candidiasis is highly effective because its essential oils and other organic components create the antibodies necessary to combat the illness.
In addition, its antifungal benefits were tested in two types of fungi with different highly resistant strains. The application of this treatment reduced the size, which suggests a high mechanism of action.
8.Removes Kidney Stones
There is research stating that the basil is good for the kidney because in cases of kidney stones juice of basil leaves with honey help in the expulsion of kidney stones.
In addition, it has been reported that because of its diuretic properties, it reduces the level of uric acid.
An investigation by the University of Medical Sciences of Tabriz in Iran, sought to define the effect of basil on cardiac function and the changes that arise in myocardial infarction. This herb was combined with ethanol and allowed to soak for a few days. Six control groups were then treated as treatment.
The results of the study show that basil strongly protects the myocardium against heart attack and suggests that cardioprotective effects may be related to its antioxidant activities.
10. Improves the condition of patients with Diabetes
A study published in the medical journal “Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy”, outlined the anti-hyperglycemic influence of the aqueous extract of basil seeds in diabetics.
The results show that these seeds have an antidiabetic potential and can be used extensively for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and its complications (anemia, diabetic nephropathy, hepatic dysfunction and immunosuppression).
An investigation by the Central Research Institute of Lucknow in India sought to know the benefits of basil for the treatment of ulcers and concluded that this herb possesses potent healing properties that could be highly effective as a therapeutic agent against this disease.
Therefore, basil can be used as an early attention that eradicates the symptoms of ulcers and prevents the appearance of more complex aspects of the organism.
Most people today are immersed in high levels of stress , which in turn can lead to the appearance of various diseases.
Recent studies have shown that basil leaves provide significant protection against stress. It also purifies the blood and helps prevent several common psychological disorders.
Some naturists recommend chewing a few leaves of this herb twice a day to prevent stress.
Here are other natural remedies recommended for treating stress.
13.For Gastrointestinal Disorders
Certain studies have confirmed that herbal preparations with basil are administered to patients with gastric and hepatic disorders since they serve to shorten the course clinical symptoms and biochemical parameters in patients suffering from viral hepatitis.
It is also effective in enhancing the proper movements of the gastrointestinal tract as it contains mild laxative properties, and thus aids in the evacuation and maintenance of a healthy bowel.
Finally, it is useful for improving appetite and is given to patients to treat gastric infections and digestive disorders in general.
14.Helps to reverse the Amnesia
Since basil is traditionally used for the treatment of anxiety, nerve pain, seizures and a variety of neurodegenerative disorders, the University of the Punjab in India, conducted a study which found that it also possesses anti-amnesic effects.
Due to its antioxidant properties, basil reduced brain activity and oxidative stress, which contributed to creating a protective barrier that prevented the development of pathology.
15.For Dermatological Problems
Apparently the basil leaves and their juice work in the treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases. In addition, it is believed to be very beneficial in skin disorders such as vitiligo.
This is due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which progressively reduces the symptomatology of skin diseases.
In this list you can find other good foods for the skin.
Curious facts about the Basil Herb
- It is known as tulsi in the various Indian languages.
- It is considered a sacred plant by the Hindus in the Indian subcontinent.
- It has a long history that goes back to ancient Oriental uses for 3,000 years.
- In India, basil was prized as an icon of hospitality, while in Italy it was a symbol of love.
- The name “basil” is derived from the ancient Greek word basilikohn, meaning “real”, which reflects the attitudes of ancient culture towards a herb that they considered very noble and sacred.
- It is associated with a series of rituals around the world
- The basil is green, although there are varieties that have little touches of red or purple.
- There are more than 60 varieties of basil, all differing somewhat in appearance and taste.
- It is very popular as the main ingredient in pesto, which is the mixture of basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.
It is possible that basil may decrease blood clotting, so taking it along with other medications that also have that side effect may increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Long treatments with essential oil of basil are contraindicated due to their toxic effects. Scientific studies warn that high doses can be harmful.
This herb can also be counterproductive during pregnancy, as the essential oils it possesses can cause uterine contractions, which carries the risk of losing the baby.