Basil which carries the scientific names, Ocimum Sanctum L. or Ocimum Tenuiflorum L. is commonly used as an aromatic herb, belonging to the mint, sage and lavender family. Basil is a special herb which can be grown indoors as it does not require a large amount of sunlight to grow. Until recently, Basil was popular among the people worldwide for its extraordinary fragrance and was also used as a seasoning in cooking. Lately, its health benefits are discovered and hence the herb is attracting eyeballs from all over the world. It is found out that Basil contains many chemical compounds that are known to prevent disease and promote healthy living.
There are evidence and texts which prove that Basil was being cultivated for the past 5000 years and experts are of the opinion that it may have originated from Hunan region of China. It is discovered that there are 35 different types of Basil and most of these are used as medicinal plants in Southeast Asia and India. In India, Holy Basil is considered a sacred herb and is commonly referred to as Tulasi or Tulsi. Tulasi is not only used in over 300 different traditional herbal treatments from thousands of years but is linked to Goddess Lakshmi. Did you know? Tulasi in Sanskrit means “the incomparable one”.
The Chinese, the Indians and now people of several countries are discovering amazing health benefits of Basil and thus basil has inevitably become an inseparable part of their day to day lives. In case you haven’t heard of the health benefits of Basil, we have compiled a few health benefits which will surprise you and will make you grow a plant or two at your home.
Not only in India and China, but Basil is equally famous in Italy too for its amazing features. The most commonly used basil in Italy is Cooking Basil. Owing to its high levels of antioxidants, Magnesium, and Vitamins, basil is used widely in Italy. Its extract is also used in manufacturing house cleaners, perfumes, and dental care products. In Italy, Basil is considered a symbol of love for many centuries and is believed to increase libido and arousal, thus increasing blood flow and energy levels.
Below are few of the health benefits of Basil leaves
- Helps Fight Cancer
Researchers have found that basil contains Phytochemicals, which are helpful in preventing cancer. Studies published by Nutrition and Cancer show that basil can be used as a medicine to prevent chemical induced cancers such as skin, liver, oral and lung cancers. Various researchers have also found out by experimenting on animals that basil can be used to provide protection against cancer and mortality. It also protects normal tissue and cells from negative effects of cancer treatment like radiation and chemotherapy.
- Stress Management
Studies show that basil contains compounds such as adaptogens in large quantities. These adaptogens help the body adapt to stress and thus deal with both emotional and physical stress. Holy basil also helps to reduce hormone levels in the body and also corticosterone levels.
- Helps Fight Depression
Studies reveal that Basil has the power to positively impact brain function within the adrenal cortex which helps to stimulate neurotransmitters which regulate the hormones responsible for making us feel happy and energetic. Thus, Basil acts as a strong agent against mood-related problems such as depression and anxiety.
- Eliminates Kidney Stones
Basil has the magical powers to eliminate kidney stones and also fight against other kidney related problems. It also supports the Liver function and helps in detoxifying the body.
- Cures Stomach Problems
Basil acts as an agent to restore body’s proper pH levels and also balance acids within the body. This helps in improving digestion and immunity thus acting as a cure for stomach problems. Basil has also been used to reduce water retention and bloating, stomach cramps, loss of appetite and acid reflux.
- Helps Women Fight against Post Menstrual Syndrome
Studies have proved that periods can be extremely painful and depressing for 3 out of 4 women. Post Menstrual Syndrome is the experiencing of cramps, depression, and fatigue and it is proved that manganese present in basil helps in relieving these symptoms by balancing one’s hormones.
- Helps protect from Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
Benefits of basil extracts or oil are found to be quite extraordinary when it comes to treating diabetic patients. It is found that basil extracts have the power to reduce blood glucose levels and inflammation which makes basil protective against Diabetes development among patients.
- Anti Aging Problems
It is discovered that Basil is full of antioxidants, which can help reduce the effects of free radical cells and prevent the body and mind from unnecessary stress. Free radical damage to skin and brain can be a major factor in making a person look and feel old and the antioxidants in basil can help him/her fight these anti-aging.
- Maintain a Healthy Brain
Cognitive Degradation has become a common problem among the younger generation owing to them getting exposed to various unwanted gadgets at a very young age. It is believed that Basil can cure this cognitive degradation and in fact increase the electronic transmitter activity in the brain as it contains manganese in large quantity. Basil can also enhance the functionality of the brain as it also contains copper which stimulates the enhancement of brain.
- Disease-fighting antioxidants
Basil contains orientin and viceninare, two of the important water-soluble flavonoid antioxidants. These antioxidants help protect the white blood cells which are responsible for immune functions and also cellular structures where DNA is stored.
- Antibacterial Properties
Studies have shown that basil has the power of resisting the strains of bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotic treatments. One of the important benefits of basil essential oils is to provide protection against the growth of harmful bacteria in the human body.
- Treats Common Cold and Relieves Cough
Basil leaves have the power to treat fever, common cold and also cough. Chewing few fresh basil leaves have proved to provide relief from flu and the common The juice extracts of basil leaves have the ability to bring down the high temperature of the body and normalize it at a faster pace than any other known medicine.
Basil leaves are also used in manufacturing cough syrups to help people get relief from a cough. Various compounds present in basil helps in mobilizing mucus, thus becoming an effective treatment for respiratory problems faced by people such as bronchitis and asthma.