Health Benefits of Basil and How to Use it
Basil is known for its wide range of amazing health benefits. It grows in tropical climates, but we can also grow it indoors. It has a pungent flavor and is best when consumed fresh.
One of its most popular benefits is its ability to boost the immune system.
Basil is one of the most powerful medicinal herbs known today. Even though there are over 30 different types of this herb, the one which provides the most potent therapeutic properties is Holy Basil.
Its leaves, seeds, stem, and roots contain at least six essential oils. Moreover, it provides antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and stress-relieving properties.
Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K, and it also contains vast amounts of vitamin A, and traces of vitamin C, manganese, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and flavonoids. On the other hand, it contains no sugar or fiber and protein.
Health Benefits of Holy Basil
Thanks to its amazing content, Holy Basil has some impressive health benefits. Here are several great reasons why you should include it in your diet:
1. Great Source of Antioxidants
Basil is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, such as viceninare and orientin (1). They help boost the immune system and prevent free radical damage, thus preventing premature signs of aging and many serious diseases.
2. Natural Antibiotic
Basil has powerful antibacterial properties which help fight against bacteria like E. Coli. Also, it helps treat resistant illnesses and fight resistant infections. You can combine it with garlic to enhance its power as an antibiotic.
3. Cleans Blood Vessels
Holy Basil promotes cardiovascular health thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It supports healthy blood pressure and reduces inflammation which can lead to cardiovascular disease.
What’s more, it helps clean the blood vessels from LDL cholesterol buildup (2).
4. Additional Health Benefits
Holy Basil has many other benefits, including the following:
- Treats common cold and flu;
- Treats kidney problems;
- Eliminates parasites;
- Relieves constipation;
- Treats diarrhea;
- Treats warts;
- Boosts digestion;
- Promotes liver function;
- Fights depression.
How to Use It
You can use this herb in many different ways, but it’s always best to use it raw and fresh. For example, you can chop it and use it instead of salt or cheese to spice up dull greens or flavor dishes.
Also, it’s great when added to pasta sauce, soups, spicy curries, and tomato-mozzarella salads.
Even though using it fresh is the best way to obtain the maximum of its benefits, you can also use it dry. Also, you can take it as a tea or oil, although the efficacy of these forms is still not proven.
You can add it to many sauces and dressings, and even to green smoothies.
When buying it, choose firm leaves with bright color, and avoid the wilted ones. You can find it in many farmers’ markets during the early fall and summer, and in many grocery stores during the entire year.
Last but not least, don’t forget to wash it before using as it can carry dirt.