Benefits & Uses of Holistic Herb, Basil

by Brian P. Ramos

Sweet basil is highly nutritious with an abundance of vitamin A (as carotenoids), vitamin K, and vitamin C. It’s also rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium. However, basil has many health benefits and uses:

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory

Sweet basil is an excellent source of antioxidants such as phenolic compounds and polyphenols.

Anti-Cancer

Basil also contains phytochemicals that prevent chemical-induced cancers (skin, liver, oral, and lung). Basil does this by increasing the antioxidant activity, altering gene expression like many superfoods, inducing cancer cell death, and inhibiting blood vessel development in the cell.

Antibacterial and Antimicrobial

Basil essential has been tested for effectiveness against multi-drug resistant bacteria strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli). The basil essential oil was active against every strain of E-coli it was tested with. It was also shown to have anti-microbial properties that were found to fight mold, yeast, and bacteria.

Supports Healthy Cognition and Reduces Depression (Holy Basil)

Certain varieties of basil can help the brain too. Research has found that holy basil enhances cognitive function and also improves other chronic health issues like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and psychological stress. Holy basil is also a great remedy for mental stress associated with depression.

Additional Uses

  1. General Cooking: Basil adds a depth and flavor that is not rivaled by other herbs.
  2. Calming the Stomach: One-half teaspoon of dried or fresh basil leaf in water can often help soothe indigestion and alleviate feelings of fullness.
  3. Coughing and Colds: Chew fresh leaves to calm coughing or make a calming tea of dried basil to help soothe illness.
  4. Facial Steam for Headache: A facial steam with dried basil leaf can help alleviate a headache. Add a tablespoon of dried basil leaf to 2 cups of boiling water in a large pot. Carefully lean over the pot, cover head with a towel and breathe in the steam for 5–10 minutes until headache starts to subside.
  5. Blood Sugar: There is some evidence that basil can help level out blood sugar if consumed regularly and drank as a juice or tea.
  6. Stress Reduction: Consider adding two cups of strong basil leaf tea to a warm bath to help reduce stress and facilitate relaxation.
  7. Natural Cleaning Spray: The anti-microbial nature of basil makes it an ideal natural cleaning spray.
  8. Herbal Hair Rinse: Basil can help improve the health of the hair and scalp. Basil promotes hair growth as it nourishes with vitamins A and C, flavonoids, and polyphenolic acids.
  9. Herb-Infused Water like watermelon-basil infused water.
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