- Scientific Name: Ocimum Basilicum
- Family: Mint Family
- Origin: Iran, India and other tropical region in Asia
Basil plant may grow as tall as 2 to 3 feet, it has a tiny white or purple-tinged flowers. The leaves look a little like peppermint, since they belong to the same plant family.
Basil’s highly fragrant leaves is best used when fresh, as a seasoning, when used in cooked dishes it is generally added when the food is almost cook because the heat can easily destroy its flavor.
Basil Varieties: There are many varieties of basil, all of which differ somewhat in appearance and taste. The most commonly used variety in Italian cooking is sweet basil, and the Thai basil or holy basil is used in Asian cooking. Other famous varieties are lemon basil, anise basil and cinnamon basil all have flavors that subtly reflect their names.
Basil Leaves Health Benefits:
- The tea is taken to relieve cramps, constipation, indigestion, flatulence, heart problems, itching, nausea, ringworm, alcoholism, fever, colds.
- The leaves poultice can help cure wounds, snakebite, and arthritic pain.
- Can help remove warts, just rub leaves on the wart daily and cover with bandage or boil 4 basil leaves to 4 cups of water and drink as tea.
- Protects cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damaged.
- The tea has anti-inflammatory effects, making it an ideal food for those people suffering from arthritis.
- Rich source of Beta-carotene, this help protect epithelial cells (lining of numerous body structures including the blood vessels) from free radical damage.
- Good source of magnesium, a mineral that makes the muscles and blood vessels to relax, therefore improving blood flow and lessening the risk of irregular heart rhythm.
Basil Oil Medicinal Uses:
- Has anti-bacterial properties. Studies have shown the effectiveness of basil in restricting growth of numerous bacteria (like staphylococcus, enterococcus and pseudomonas) that has become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs.
- The oil when used as skin and hair moisturizer can help enhance the luster of dull looking skin and hair.
- The oil is effective in treating skin problems like acne and psoriasis.
- The oil when used in aromatherapy can provide a calming effect; it is therefore effective in stress related problems like migraines and depression. If use regularly can give mental strength and clarity.
Tips to prevent food poisoning: The easiest way to prevent food poisoning is to add basil and thyme in most of your recipes, especially for foods that are not cooked.
Basil Side Effects: When basil herb is used as a food ingredient it is perfectly safe, but an essential oil from basil might cause cancer in extremely large dosage, because it contains a chemical called estragole. Estragole is a natural organic compound, that is suspected to be carcinogenic and genotoxic according to the study done by the European Union. The percentage content of estragole in the oil is about 23-88%. Many teas or tea-like beverages also contain estragole.
Recipe: Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe