A lot of today’s gourmet recipes use basil to bring forth exotic flavor. But, did you know that this herb does not only add flavor to your traditional recipes? It can also increase a dish’s nutrient value and at the same time provide tons of health benefits. In addition to that, you can also use this herb as a home remedy for various ailments and discomforts.
So, what are the medicinal uses and health benefits of basil? You will know more about this topic as you read this article.
Health benefits of basil
Being a plant rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene, basil is well-known for its ability to prevent free radicals from causing havoc in our body. As you know, free radicals will not only hasten our aging process. It can also alter our DNA. Mutated DNA may result to cancer. Thus, one of the health benefits of basil is preventing cancer development and premature aging. Along with that, this herb can also help strengthen your immune system against common colds and cough.
Magnesium is another important constituent found in this herb. Magnesium is essential for our cardiovascular health. It relaxes your heart muscles and blood vessels. Hence, it regulates blood flow and lessen your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Its beta-carotene contents also helps lower cholesterol levels in our body. This herb is also rich in iron and vitamin K, which are essential to your blood.
Other valuable nutrients found in basil are calcium and potassium. Basically, these minerals are crucial for the proper functioning of your body.
Lastly, several studies have also shown that you can use this herb to enhance your memory and to relieve stress.
Medicinal uses of basilCredit: Marina Shemesh
After presenting the numerous health benefits of basil, let’s move on to the medicinal uses of this herb. So, in what ailments or discomforts can you use this herb? Actually, you can use this aromatic plant in several ways. To simplify this, here is a list of the therapeutic uses of basil.
- Pain and inflammation – Eugenol is a constituent present in basil that allows it to relieve both pain and swelling. Its effect or mechanism of action is actually comparable to aspirin and ibuprofen, which is to inhibit the effects of the enzymes known as cyclooxygenase-1 and 2. You can either boil the leaves and take a few teaspoons or rub the leaves on the affected area to relieve discomforts.
- Skin problems – The juice of this herb is also effective in treating ringworm and insect bites. It has also been successfully used in treating vitiligo caused by fungus.Credit: Image courtesy of Security (pixabay.com)
- Respiratory diseases – Boiling this plant’s leaves in water is an excellent remedy for several respiratory diseases such as asthma, cough and flu. You can also add honey and ginger to enhance its efficacy. Just remember to boil it until half of the water evaporates.
- Kidney problems – Drinking basil juice will help prevent kidney stones. According to various studies, if you are suffering from kidney stones, drinking this juice along with honey everyday for six months will help excrete the stones.
- Oral infections and dental problems – this aromatic plant is also known for its anti-bacterial properties. You can chew its leaves twice a day to treat oral infections or ulcerations. You can also gargle boiled leaves for sore throat. As for gum and dental problems, rubbing dried leaves of this plant is an excellent method you can do. Lastly, you can also make your own toothpaste by mixing the dried and powdered leaves with mustard oil.
- Gastrointestinal problems – If you are suffering from gas pain, constipation and indigestion; basil tea is an excellent remedy you can use. This specific type of herbal tea is also good for nausea and motion sickness.
Remember, before trying any of these remedies, you must first consult your physician. This is highly recommended if you are experiencing an illness that requires medical attention such as asthma, bronchitis, kidney problems and many more. Other than that, these are the known medicinal uses and health benefits of basil.
Basil is a typical ingredient in various gourmet recipes. However, adding or enhancing a recipe's flavor and aroma is not its sole purpose. As mentioned above, this plant has anti-bacterial properties. Hence, adding it in your food lessens the risk of food contamination and diarrhea. With that, including this herb in your daily menu will not only bring forth savory meals. It will also give you numerous benefits.
This article entitled "Cooking with Herbs: The Most Common Culinary Herbs You can Use to Add Flavor in Your Daily Meals" may shed more information about other healthy herbs you can use to add flavor and nutrients to your meals.
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