Basil is also known as sweet basil. It is a highly fragrant plant whose leaves are used as seasoning in many dishes. Basil is originally native to India and Asia. The name basil comes from the ancient Greek word , meaning “royal”. There are different varieties of basil each with a slight difference in appearance and taste. Basil contains volatile oil which is not so strong in dried basil. Fresh basil is therefore a better option for cooking and for medicinal use.
Cardiovascular Health: This herb is rich in carotenoids such as beta- carotene. Beta-carotene which is an even more potent antioxidant than vitamin A can also be converted into vitamin A. This powerful antioxidants protects epithelial cells from free radical damage. It also prevents free radicals from oxidising cholesterol into the blood stream. Basil also contains magnesium. Magnesium promotes cardiovascular health by relaxing muscles and blood vessels, reducing the risk of irregular heartbeat and improving blood flow.
Immune System : Antioxidants and volatile oils in basil boost the immune system. The have antibacterial properties that helps eliminate infections. It also have antiviral properties to eliminate viral infections like flu and common cold.
Respiratory Disorders : Boiling basil leaves with honey and ginger is beneficial for treating respiratory disorders like asthma, bronchitis, influenza cough and cold.
Digestive Tract Health : Basil contains eugenol. Eugenol has an enzyme inhibiting property which makes it a good anti-inflammatory component of basil. It is therefore able to provide relief from inflammatory bowel conditions. It also relieves constipation, gas and indigestion.
Hair and Skin Health : Basil is used in hair and skin moisturizers to give dull hair and skin a shiny healthy look. It is also used in treating acne and psoriasis. Basil juice applied directly to affected area is effective against ring worm. It’s powerful antioxidant property prevents cellular aging and common skin ailments.
Bone and Connective Tissues : Eugenol found in basil acts by inhibiting the activity of cyclooxygenase, an enzyme which causes swelling in joints and bones among other places. This medicinal herb can therefore give relief to people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Anti Cancer : This powerful antioxidants protects the body against damage from free radicals thereby combacting most forms of cancer. Beta-carotene found in basil protects the cell from free radical damage. The herb also contains flavonoids which protects cells from radiation and oxygen-based damage.
Anti-Bacterial : The essential oils in basil protect the body against unwanted bacteria, many of which are resistant to antibiotics. It can be used to clean surfaces of infectious diseases and wounds. The essential oils have been found to inhibit growth of the widespread staphylococcus, enterococcus, pseudomonas and e. coli bacteria.
Ayurvedic medicine : In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, this herb is used to treat many diseases such as diabetes, impotence , allergies, infertility and so on.
Chromosome Damage Protection : Flavonoids particularly Orientin and vicenin found in this herb protects chromosome from damage by radiation and oxygen based damage.