health benefits of basil

Basil is a herb that belongs to the mint family which was grown initially in Asia and the Middle East.

Note: The content in this post refers to the Italian Basil herb and not to the Indian Holy Basil (Tulasi). You can read about the benefits of Tulasi here.

It has more than hundred varieties and each variety is unique. Sweet basil (Ocimum bacilicum) and basilico genovese are the two main varieties used for flavouring foods. Basil has a refreshing sweet flavour used for garnishing many dishes like grilled pizza, fresh salads, vegetable soups, and seafood.

Basil is one of the healthiest herbs in the aspect of treating many minor ailments. It contains vitamins A, C, K, anti-oxidants, flavonoids, iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, folate and omega-3 fatty acids. Basil also contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fresh basil is good for flavouring food as well as for medicinal purposes.

Basil
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Health benefits of Basil

Common cold and cough

Basil is a good remedy for cough and cold. Chew on fresh basil leaves any time of the day. Yu can also follow the below methods:

Method 1:

  1. Take 8 to 10 basil leaves and boil in water.
  2. Allow it too become warm.
  3. Drink the water along with leaves.

Many cough syrups contain basil as an important ingredient. Homemade cough syrup can be made using basil leaves.

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 10 basil leaves
  • 5 cloves
  • One cup of water
  • Palm sugar

Method:

  1. Put basil leaves and cloves in a cup of water.
  2. Boil water for 10 minutes.
  3. Add palm sugar for taste.
  4. Filter the water.
  5. Allow it to cool for some time and drink.

Dry throat due to incessant cough also settles down.

basil pesto

Fever treatment

In rainy season, there is a chance of getting malaria and dengue fever. Basil is one of the effective remedy for viral fever.

Ingredients:

  • 10 fresh Basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 cardamom
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Sugar

Method:

  1. Take half a glass water.
  2. Add leaves and crushed cardamom.
  3. Boil water for some time.
  4. Add milk and sugar and boil it again.
  5. Allow it to become warm and drink.

This works better for reducing fevers in children.

Improves immune system

The chemical compounds present in basil may improve the creation of antibodies by 20% and these antibodies in turn helps our body to fight against various infections. Fresh leaves are always better than dried ones.

Support cardiovascular health

Basil is an excellent source of vitamin A, magnesium, and important anti-oxidants like beta-carotene and other types of carotenoids. The nutrients and anti-oxidants shield our cell walls from free radical damages. The magnesium content helps to boost blood circulation, calms down blood vessels and muscles, reduces cholesterol  and thereby decreases the risk heart diseases.

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Oral health

Basil is known for its medicinal properties. It contains anti-bacterial compounds which helps in protecting from gum diseases, and kills bacteria that causes bad breath.

Method:

  1. Take some fresh leaves.
  2. Allow it to sundry for 2 to 3 days.
  3. Once the leaves dry, grind them into a powder.
  4. Add mustard oil to make it into a toothpaste.
  5. Massage your teeth and gums with this paste.

This helps in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and decreases the level of bacteria formation.

Eliminates kidney stones

Basil leaves contain acetic acid and essential oils such as eugenol, citral, linalool, and terpineol. All these effectively work in breaking down kidney stones and eliminate through the urinary tract.

Method 1:

  1. Take 5 to 6 fresh Basil leaves.
  2. Put it in water.
  3. Boil the water and make a tea.
  4. Add honey for taste.

Drink this tea twice in a day.

Method 2:

  1. Take 5 to 6 fresh Basil leaves.
  2. Crush and extract the juice.
  3. Add equal proportion of honey.
  4. Drink the mixture every day morning for a few months.

Slowly, this removes your kidney stones and you may feel no pain or less pain due to its pain killing property.

Reduces headache

Stress and tightened muscles are the main cause for headaches. Basil leaves can ease the muscles and relax them.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sandal wood powder

Method 1:

  1. Take a few fresh basil leaves.
  2. Crush them and make a paste.
  3. Add sandal wood powder and wate.
  4. Mix them well.
  5. Apply it gently on your forehead.
  6. Leave it for 5 to 10 minutes to get immediate relief from headache.

Method 2:

Apply a few drops of basil oil on the forehead for relief.

Cures skin infection, acne and hair loss

Basil does wonders when it is used for acne, skin infection, blemishes or for hair loss. Basil is loaded with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antibiotic properties in it. Intake of fresh basil leaves juice cleanses your skin.

External application removes white patches.

Basil

Skin blemishes treatment

Ingredients:

  • Egg
  • Basil leaves juice

Method:

  1. Separate egg whites in a bowl.
  2. Crush basil leaves and extract juice
  3. Add with egg whites
  4. Stir well
  5. Apply on the concerned area
  6. Leave it for 20 to 30 minutes
  7. Wash with lukewarm water

Acne treatment

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves powder
  • 1 teaspoon neem powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon sandalwood powder
  • Lemon juice

Method:

  1. Mix all these ingredients and make a face pack.
  2. Apply it on your face and neck.
  3. Leave it for 10 minutes.
  4. Wash off with lukewarm water.

This is useful for clearing skin, also removes blackheads and pimples.

Hair loss treatment

Ingredients:

  • Amla powder
  • Basil powder
  • Coconut oil

Method:

  1. Take 2 teaspoons amla and basil powder.
  2. Mix the powder with cool water.
  3. Make a paste and leave it overnight.
  4. Add coconut oil to the paste.
  5. Apply and gently massage on your scalp.
  6. Leave it for some time and wash off with shampoo.

This will control hair fall and prevent from premature graying of hair.

Treats stomach related problems

Basil has the ability to cure all stomach related problems such as stomach ache, cramps, indigestion, constipation, piles and acidity. Basil contains a substance called eugenol, the anti- inflammatory property of which fights against all stomach problems.

Ingredients:

  • Basil juice
  • Ginger juice

Method:

  1. Take one teaspoon basil juice and ginger juice.
  2. Mix both together.
  3. Add water and drink.

This cures stomach pain instantly.

Regular drinking basil tea keeps our stomach healthy.

Controls blood sugar and keeps liver healthy

Oxidative stress on the liver is the main cause for diabetes. Regular intake of basil juice controls blood sugar levels and cures diabetes entirely. Six phenolic compounds such as caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, eriodyctiol, luteolin, naringenin, apigenin efficiently protects our liver from oxidative damages.

Ingredients:

  • Basil leaves
  • Neem leaves
  • Belpatra leaves
  • One glass of water

Method:

  1. Put all the three leaves in a vessel.
  2. Mix one glass of water and boil for some time.
  3. Filter the water and drink.

This cures hypoglycemia (glucose deficiency in blood stream).

Kalaivani Selvaraj, MBA, got her Master’s degree in Human Resources. Due to her interest in natural healing, she pursued studies in the field of alternative medicine and is certified in Aromatherapy by Isla Verde Spa Training Academy. Ms. Kalaivani Selvaraj is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.