Basil is a leafy herb belonging to the mint family used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
The leaves are rich in phytonutrients, antioxidant polyphenolic flavonoids like orientin and vicenin as well as anti-inflammatory and antibacterial essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. Basil is also a good source of vitamin A, C and K and minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and potassium.
Basil Leaves Health Benefits:
- Cold, cough and fever relief: Basil leaves tea or juice is a commonly used home remedy to bring down fever or control cold and sore throat. A decoction made using basil leaves and cardamom in water to which sugar and milk is added is said to be beneficial in giving rapid relief in acute fevers. These leaves are also essential components of many Ayurvedic cough syrups. Chewing the leaves or boiling it in water which is then used as a gargle relieves cold and cough.
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- Eases headache: Drinking basil leaves decoction helps to mitigate headaches. Moreover you can apply a paste of basil leaves and sandalwood on your forehead to treat headaches naturally and effectively. Steam inhalation using dried basil leaves also relieves migraine headache.
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- Beneficial for our gastrointestinal tract: A combination of anti-inflammatory properties and high fiber content of basil helps to ease inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, indigestion, abdominal cramps, flatulence and loss of appetite.
- Cures respiratory tract disorders: Boil basil leaves, honey and ginger in water till half the amount of original water is left. This decoction helps in easing conditions like bronchitis, influenza, asthma and cold. Basil’s immunomodulatory, antitussive and expectorant properties keep our respiratory tract healthy.
- Skin and hair benefits: Basil leaves are known to purify blood therefore they help prevent occurrence of acne, eczema and blemishes and keep the skin radiant. In Ayurvedic medicine these leaves are used to treat ring worms and leucoderma. Basil leave powder when mixed in coconut oil and applied regularly on scalp prevents hair fall and controls itching.
- Anti-cancer benefits: Its anti-oxidant properties help reduce oxidative stress of cells and therefore keep a check at risks of cancer of various body parts. A daily cup of basil leaves tea or regular consumption of basil leaves extract keeps cancer at bay.
- Beneficial for eliminating kidney stones: Basil leaves juice taken along with honey daily for 6 months is found to be beneficial in dissolving kidney stones. By virtue of its diuretic and detoxifying properties, basil leaves keep a check at our uric acid levels as well as cleanse and strengthen the kidney.
- Stress reliever: Basil leaves act as a nervine, soothing the nerves, enhancing blood circulation and removing harmful oxygen free radicals from the body. All this and its adaptogen properties help to ease stress. Just chewing around 12 leaves 2 times a day is beneficial for people working in stressful conditions.
- Good for eyes: Rich in vitamin A, basil juice can keep night blindness and sore eyes at bay.
- Basil leaves are also beneficial in treating mouth ulcers, bad breath and preventing dental decay.
- Juice of the leaves also soothes insect stings and bites.
You can easily grow basil in your pot or kitchen garden and enjoy the benefits.
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