Basil: Types, Nutrition, Health Benefits, Medicinal Uses and Side Effects
Basil is an aromatic herb that is used extensively in Vietnam, Thai and Indian cuisine. It has a distinctly sweet, peppery flavor and is high in vitamin K. Basil also has several medicinal properties and can be used to treat a range of conditions. However, it is important to note that basil can also have some side effects if consumed in large doses. So, before you start adding basil to everything you cook, read on to find out more about this versatile herb.
What is basil?
Basil or holy basil is a shrub which is being used in oriental medicine for many years. Its botanical name is Ocimum Sanctum or Ocimum Basilicum. Hundreds of variety of it confuse which one is real and original. Oriental medicine system believes Occimum sanctum is real basil which has been described in oriental medicine literature, but as basil has spread all over the world, its hybrid form, Ocimum Tenuiflorum, is more common in Europe and outside Asia. All basils belong to Labiatae family.
Basil is hot in nature and usually used in winter season as medicinal purpose. Opposite to that basil seeds are cold in nature and used to detoxify the body in summer. Basil seeds soaked in water are gelatinous in nature. Basil is a popular herb that is used in many dishes. There are different types of basil, and all have different nutritional values, health benefits, medicinal uses and side effects. Knowing more about basil can help you decide if it is right for you and your family.
Types of basil:
There are several verities of basil. Some common forms are:
- Genovese Basil
- Dark opal Basil
- Lemon Basil
- Holy Basil
- Spicy globe Basil
- Cinnamon Basil
- Lettuce Leaf Basil
- Licorice Basil
- French Basil
- American Basil
- Egyptian Basil
- Bush Basil
- Thai Basil
- Red Basil
- Magical Michael Basil
- Nufar Basil
- Purple Ruffles Basil
- Red Rubin Basil
- Siam Queen Basil
- Sweet Dani Basil
- Amethyst Improved Basil
- Mrs. Burns’ Lemon Basil
- Pistou Basil
- Lime Basil
- Superbo Basil
- Queenette Basil
- Napoletano Basil
- Serata Basil
- Blue Spice Basil
- Osmin Purple Basil
- Fino Verde Basil
- Marseille Basil
- Minette Basil
- Queen Of Sheba Basil
- Greek Basil
What does basil look like?
Basil, which is a spice and herb commonly used in medicinal and culinary purposes, can vary in color and appearance. However, basil typically has dark green leaves. The basil plant blooms with purple flowers that sometimes have white tips. These flowers grow on one side of the basil stem and close to the bottom of the leaves. Basil pairs well with other spices such as garlic, oregano or thyme depending on what it will be used for such as making pesto sauce for pasta or to add flavor to an Italian dish. Besides, basil is also used as an ingredient in Vietnamese, Thai and Indian cuisines.
What does basil smell like?
Basil is a plant that usually grows in warm climates. It has green leaves and purple flowers. Basil also emits a strong scent, which is what makes it stand out among other plants. Some people claim to be able to taste the basil in their food when there isn’t any actual basil added. This all comes down to the scent of the plant and its effect on your senses!
The basil plant can grow up to three feet tall and has small white blooms. The basil itself has a strong scent that tastes slightly sweet and peppery. While it’s not necessarily considered edible for humans, cooking with basil can add some flavor into certain dishes!
- 100 gm of basil contains only 33 calories.
- It is a rich source of vitamins. 100 gm of it provides 2000 IU of vitamin A and 20 mg of vitamin C which is 30% and 20% of daily requirement of vitamins respectively. It also provides other vitamins such as vitamin B complex, vitamin E and vitamin K. Availability of vitamin K makes it very beneficial in heart and blood disorder.
- 100 gm of it provides the vast and complete profile of minerals too. It provides rich amount of calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc etc.
- The aromatic smell of basil is due to its essential oils. These essential are in different propitiation in different basils. Holy basil contains the maximum amount of essential oils.
- It is rich in anti-oxidants.
Basil health benefits:
What is basil good for? Basil is a delicious herb that has many health benefits. It can help improve your immune system, digestion, and circulatory system. Basil is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In this blog post, we will explore some of the ways you can use basil to improve your health. Thanks for reading!
1. Basil and arthritis:
It is used to treating anti-inflammatory reaction in the body. Key factors for the anti-inflammatory property are essential oil and the phenolic compound. Anti-inflammatory reaction of it shows the similar pattern as morphine. So due to these properties, it is used in rheumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis.
2. For diabetes:
Clinical studies suggest basil leaves and basil seeds reduce blood sugar level. Exact physiology of this is not clear but some researchers believe fiber and cinnamic acid contents of it are responsible to lower blood sugar level.
3. Basil and heart attack:
Cinnamic acid presents in basil leaves helps to increase blood circulation and decrease the process of plaque formations, thus decrease the chances of heart attack.
4. In cholesterol:
Clinical trial on rodent supports that, basil diet reduces LDL without affecting HDL in the body.
5. In blood pressure:
The study conducted on rodent, supports that basil extract lowers blood pressure. The key factor behind this is still unknown but some scientists believe that Eugenol presents in basil prevents capillary tightening thus prevents hypertension. More clinical study is required on the study of rodent.
6. In cancer:
Phytochemical such as eugenol, luteolin, and beta-sitosterol can prevent cancer. Anti-oxidants also plays important role in preventing cancer and the side-effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Basil tea twice a day is always a good choice during chemotherapy.
7. Works as antibiotics:
Basil is a natural antibiotic. Volatile oil of it improves immunity and inhibits bacterial growth in the body. Studies suggest that extract of basil is effective in antibiotic resistance infection.
8. In stress & anxiety:
It affects the body in the same way as diazepam and anti-depression medicines do. Studies support that people who consume a good amount of fresh basil less suffer from stress and anxiety.
9. For malaria fever:
Oriental medicine literature describes basil as drug of choice for malaria fever and relapsing fever. Modern scientists also support this.
10. In kidney infection:
It is diuretic in nature. It kills pathogen and detoxifies the body at the same time. Basil juice is rich in citric acid which is good for the breakdown of kidney stone. It also reduces uric acid and urea in blood thus prevents future kidney stone and infection.
11. In worm infection:
Oriental medicine uses basil for the treatment of intestinal worms. What exact content of it kills worms is still unknown.
12. In skin infection:
Anti-bacterial properties of basil make it a good choice for beauty regime and skin infection treatment. Face pack and face mask of it is good for acne. Clinical experiences also support that supplement of basil put positive effects in skin infection, wound healing and recovery from the operation.
Moreover, researches done on the fish, support that basil extract is capable to reduce the growth of fungus. There is still a lack of evidence on the human.
13. For cough:
It is natural expectorant. It is one of must add a component of cough syrup.
14. In insect bite:
Phenolic component of it neutralizes chemical of insect bite.
What to do with fresh basil?
- Dry powder
- Fresh crush juice
- Market available packed juice
- Extract capsule or tablet
Holy basil side effects:
All parts of the plant are used for medicinal purpose and all parts are edible. There is no specific side effect recorded from it. But as basil contains medicinal properties it can cause some serious health problems such as Internal uses of it for a diabetic or hypertensive person along with anti-diabetic or anti-hypertensive medicine can cause sudden fall in blood glucose level or blood pressure.
Above article is only for knowledge purpose. Please contact your healthcare provider before using any of above medicine or method. For any query or personal consultation according to your health condition please contact your doctor.