10 Health Benefits of Basil Leaves

Summary: From a happy belly to clean skin, basil leaves do wonders for our mind and body. Let’s take a look at how basil benefits your health and some easy recipes to add basil to your diet!

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a sacred and remarkable herb loaded with numerous health benefits. The term ‘basil’ comes from basilikhon, an ancient Greek word meaning royal. With over 60 varieties including sweet basil, holy basil, lemon basil, curly basil, and more, this wonderful herb is now grown all over the world.

Many people also plant it in their gardens so they can fetch a handful when needed. And most Indian families love basil (Tulsi) and have a space dedicated to it near the entrance to their homes. Also, basil is an integral part of many cuisines such as Indian, Thai and Italian. From immunity to gut health, this fragrant herb can work wonders. So, let’s take a look at some of the best basil benefits!

Basil contains vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, manganese, calcium and essential oils. Furthermore, it has the goodness of antioxidants including beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, lutein and beta-carotene. However, all these miraculous compounds leave the herb during the drying process. So get fresh basil leaves whenever possible to get the most out of them.

Here are some benefits of basil:

#1 Basil reduces oxidative stress

Basil is a powerhouse of antioxidants (free radical scavengers). These compounds, as the name suggests, fight free radicals found in your body. Free radicals are notorious atoms that cause significant damage to cells and increase the risk of many health complications such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

In addition, basil has flavonoids, which boost the immune system, slow down the effects of aging, and protect your cellular structure from damage.

#2 Basil helps in cancer prevention

While holy basil is quite different from sweet basil (which we use in most of our recipes), it does contain phytochemicals. These are bioactive plant compounds that protect you from various types of cancer such as skin cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer, and liver cancer.

#3 Basil benefits digestion

Basil contains eugenol. This chemical compound has anti-inflammatory properties that ensure your digestive tract is healthy. Basil benefits your digestive and nervous system by ensuring optimal digestion and a proper pH balance in your body.

#4 Basil offers excellent skin benefits

Basil contains powerful, healing essential oils that deeply cleanse the skin. And, if you have oily skin, it is a savior for you. In addition to cleansing, basil also removes impurities, dirt and grease that clog pores. All you need to do is make a thick paste with a handful of basil leaves, sandalwood powder and rose water. Apply this pack on face and neck, wait 15-20 minutes and wash off with cold water.

If you have an acne problem, the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of basil will also help you to avoid it.

#5 Basil helps control diabetes

If you have diabetes, add basil to your diet for sure. It slows down the process of releasing blood sugar while helping to control diabetes. According to many animal and human studies, holy basil can also help fight other health complications associated with diabetes, including hyperinsulinemia (high amount of insulin in the blood), excess body weight, etc.

#6 Basil helps fight inflammation in the body

As basil has potent anti-inflammatory properties and essential oils such as citronellol, linalool and eugenol help cure a number of health conditions including inflammatory bowel conditions, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, consuming basil can also help treat headaches, fever, cold and cough, flu, and sore throat.

#7 Basil helps you deal with depression

Basil contains adaptogen, an anti-stress substance. Helps deal with anxiety and depression while stimulating energy-controlling neurotransmitters and happiness-inducing hormones. So, have a cup of hot tea with holy basil and sage cooked to perfection and see the difference.

#8 Basil has detoxifying properties

Basil is a wonderful herb for your liver, one of Organs most vital organs in your body. It detoxifies the liver and plays a crucial role in preventing fat deposition in the liver. basil benefits your liver while taking care of your overall health as well.

#9 Basil helps prevent heart disease

You already know that basil contains eugenol. This chemical compound helps to block calcium channels, thus lowering blood pressure. Also, basil essential oils reduce the level of triglycerides and cholesterol in your body. No, that’s all. You will also find magnesium in this herb which improves blood circulation and allows your blood vessels and muscles to relax, preventing muscle cramps.

#10 Basil prevents infections

In addition to all the goodness basil has, its antibacterial properties are among the most notable. It helps fight a number of infections including skin allergies, urinary tract infections, respiratory and abdominal infections.

Indian Recipes with Basil Leaves

Now that you know about the benefits of basil leaves, why not take a look at how you can make some delicious Indian recipes with this herb? So, put on your cooking gear and improve your diet with the taste of basil!

1. Daal with basil leaves

Daal with basil leaves

Delight your taste buds with this delicious and healthy daal!

Here’s how to do it!

Ingredients:

  • Moong or Toor Dal – 0.5 cup
  • Water – 1.5 cup
  • Turmeric Powder – 0.5 tsp
  • green pepper – 2
  • Cumin Seeds – 0.5 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds – 0.5 tsp
  • Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  • Basil Leaves – 0.25 cup
  • Sliced ​​onion – 0.25 cup
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Oil/Ghee – 1 tsp

Procedure:

  • Wash and soak dal for 30-40 minutes
  • Drain the water and cook under pressure with fresh water, turmeric powder and a pinch of salt for 3-4 whistles
  • Let the pressure off naturally
  • Heat the oil/ghee in a pan. When it is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them bubble.
  • Add finely green peppers, onions, ginger and garlic paste and fry for 5 minutes or until onions are lightly browned.
  • Then add turmeric powder, salt, chopped basil leaves, boiled dal and mix well
  • Add warm water if necessary to adjust consistency and bring to a boil.
  • Let it cook for another 5 minutes and turn off the heat.

Enjoy this delicious recipe with brown rice, jeera rice or rotis!

2. Spicy tomato rice with a touch of basil

Spicy tomato rice with a touch of basil

When this beautiful rice preparation enters your mouth, your taste buds will thank you. Check out the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Tomato – 2 medium
  • Cooked rice – 1 cup
  • Basil Leaves – 0.25 cup
  • Green peppers – 2, finely chopped
  • Garlic Ginger Paste – 1 tsp
  • oil/ghee – 1 tsp
  • Black pepper powder – a pinch
  • Salt – 0.5 teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs, chopped

Procedure:

  • Take the tomatoes and boil until the skin starts to peel
  • Remove the skin and cut them into small pieces.
  • Heat the oil/ghee in a pan. When hot, add the green chili, garlic and ginger paste and fry for a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, basil leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add cooked rice, black pepper powder, salt and mix well.
  • Cook for a few minutes and turn off the heat.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

3. Basil tea

basil tea

A healthy, refreshing tea that will lift your mood with added health benefits.

Ingredients:

  • Basil leaves – 7-8
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Organic honey – 0.25 tsp
  • Cardamom powder – a pinch

Procedure:

  • Heat a pan, add the water along with the basil leaves and cardamom powder
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the drink is aromatic.
  • Turn off the heat and pour into a mug.
  • Mix honey and serve hot.

With all these health benefits, basil is indeed a miracle herb. Make sure you make it an integral part of your diet. If you have intestinal or skin problems, if you want to get rid of cold and cough or flu, basil leaves always come in handy. However, contact a healthcare professional before consuming basil daily.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q. Who should avoid taking holy basil?

A. Although holy basil is an excellent herb, avoid consuming holy basil if 1) Your blood sugar is low. 2) You are trying to get pregnant. 3) You are taking blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants).

Q. Can holy basil damage your liver?

A. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), if you take pain relievers like acetaminophen, you are at a higher risk of liver damage if you have holy basil (tulsi) regularly. So, contact your doctor before adding it to your diet.

Q. Does holy basil contain mercury?

A. Well, yes! It contains mercury and is not good for your teeth. Therefore, you should not chew basil leaves because the mercury content is released if you chew them. It can damage enamel and lead to discoloration of teeth.

Q. Can you eat basil leaves on an empty stomach?

A. Consuming basil leaves early in the morning helps maintain a happy and healthy digestive system. And, if you eat this herb on an empty stomach, you will get benefits for sure. This will help regulate your body’s acid levels while maintaining your pH levels.

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