We all know basil as an intensely aromatic herb that enhances many delicious Mediterranean dishes. However, the delicious spice not only promises to please the palate, but has been used for centuries as a valuable remedy. In today’s article, we will take a closer look at the question of how healthy basil is and what health benefits the medicinal plant brings.
What is basil?
Basil is a fragrant plant that belongs to the labiates plant family, like mint, sage and lavender. The particularly varietal species Ocimum basilicum, which has been cultivated in the Mediterranean region for about 3,500 years, was not considered a culinary highlight for the first time. The aromatic spice was used basically as a medicinal and ritual plant. The history of basil is associated with many beliefs. Its name is due to the extraordinarily aromatic smell and translated from Greek means “royal herb”.
Why is basil healthy? – Valuable basil ingredients
Basil as a medicinal plant is said to have numerous health benefits. Before we take a closer look at the effects of the spice, let’s take a look at the vital substances it contains. It is no coincidence that the miracle herb found a variety of medicinal uses in earlier times. The components contained in basil help fight many diseases and build immunity. The basil plant is packed with nutrients. It is rich in trace elements, minerals and vitamins, such as vitamins A, C and K. In 20 grams of basil, there is about 100 percent of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin K. In 50 grams of fresh basil, there is half the amount of beta-carotene found in carrots. Considering that carrots are one of the first on the list of top beta-carotene suppliers, basil has a proud share of raw material for the formation of vitamin A. Basil contains many minerals and provides plenty of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and manganese. The nutrient-rich herb contains 22 calories per 100 grams, making it low in calories.
The basil effect and its health benefits
Although basil is not a typical medicinal plant, its healing properties are medically recognized and used to relieve various ailments. Below you will learn what actually basil is healthy for.
1. basil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The medicinal plant owes its healing properties in particular to the essential oils contained in it. The active ingredients citral, eugenol and linalool have analgesic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Basil essential oil can even successfully fight multi-resistant bacteria such as Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and Pseudomonas, which are now resistant to various antibiotics. The consumption of basil can also have positive effects on chronic inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis and rheumatism.
2. basil makes the organism resistant to stress
Basil contains biologically active plant compounds such as adaptogens. These are compounds that help the body deal with emotional and physical stress. Consuming basil helps the body maintain a balanced functionality even during stressful events. The occurrence of mood swings and depression is minimized due to the healthy compounds in the basil plant. Instead of struggling through the day unrested, you can also beat insomnia by consuming basil.
3. basil as a healthy source of energy
If you want to keep your energy levels high, it is recommended to add basil to your smoothies. The copper contained in it helps to fight exhaustion.
4. soothes the stomach
Basil essential oil has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects when used internally. It relaxes and relieves pain. Intestinal infections, flatulence, and stomach and menstrual cramps are positively affected by the active ingredients in the herb. When buying essential oil, choose only high-quality and natural products. Basil has a calming effect on the digestive system, even if you have eaten too large a meal. A green smoothie with fresh basil leaves or a glass of water with half spoon of dried leaves will quickly eliminate the unpleasant feeling of heaviness.
5. positive basil effect for the skin.
Your skin can also benefit from the many health benefits of the medicinal plant basil. For a fresh, younger look and healthy complexion, you can rub your facial skin with dried basil leaves. Basil for internal or external use can prevent various skin diseases due to its antibacterial and antibiotic properties. Its ingredients eliminate toxins from the blood, thus preventing the outbreak of pimples and acne. Pimples disappear faster if you mix some crushed basil leaves with a few drops of rose water and treat the affected skin area with it. Basil leaves also prove to be an effective natural remedy against blackheads. Moisten the top of the leaves and place them on both sides of the nose. After 5 minutes, take them off and wash your face. For example, you can give a rejuvenating treatment to your skin by treating your face with a mixture of coconut oil and basil.
6. is basil healthy for hair?
For dull, thin and weak hair, you can also resort to noble herb and help it shine. You can get an excellent hair mask from some basil leaves, aloe vera gel and a capsule of vitamin E. By using basil on the scalp, it will increase blood flow, promote healthy hair growth and reduce itching. The use of basil in hair care can also prevent hair loss.
7. the royal herb for healthy eyes.
Vitamin A, also known as the eye vitamin, plays an essential role in eye health. Inflammation, swelling, any kind of infection as well as conjunctivitis can be prevented by using the aromatic herb. Vitamin A contained in basil protects against dim vision, also known as night blindness. Beta-carotene is also an important compound that prevents muscle degeneration.
8. basil for healthy heart
Vitamin K in basil is essential for blood clotting and bone metabolism. The ingredients in the medicinal plant contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system and prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases. In the herbal plant there is a high content of antioxidants, which support the health of the heart. Cholesterol level as well as high blood pressure can be regulated by using basil leaf extract.
9. dental health
For good dental and gum health, you can mix a toxin-free toothpaste made from powdered basil leaves dried in the sun and mustard oil. The antioxidants ensure clean teeth and prevent plaque. At the same time, the antibacterial properties prevent the spread of bacteria in the mouth. If you chew fresh basil leaves, you can fight bad breath and enjoy fresh breath.
10. basil seeds for weight loss
Basil seeds also bring several health benefits to your health. They are versatile and have a high content of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, minerals and vitamins. Thanks to the alpha-ionic acid contained in it, the metabolism is set in motion, thus promoting weight loss . The high content of dietary fiber gives you a long-lasting feeling of satiety, which keeps you away from the unhealthy snacks. The small, black, drop-shaped seeds swell to 10 times their original size, which also makes you feel full.
Recipes prepared with basil healthy
Below we have selected for you great basil recipes that will convince you with the unique aroma of the aromatic herb and give you ideas on how to implement basil in your kitchen and benefit from all the healthy benefits of the herb.
Aromatic basil butter with Parmesan cheese
The combination of herb flavors and butter is certainly the simplest, but also particularly delicious sauce to accompany grilled meats, vegetables or seafood. For the delicious herb butter, which is ready in 5 minutes, you need the following ingredients:
115 g unsalted butter, soft
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
20 g finely grated parmesan
1 tablespoon lemon juice + 2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blend butter, basil, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and zest in a food processor until a homogeneous mixture is formed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Wrap the butter tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you don’t have a food processor handy, you can mince the garlic and basil by hand and mix with the rest of the ingredients using a fork.
Cold zucchini basil soup with walnuts
Are you also one of those who never get enough of the zucchini in the summer season? We have selected for you a healthy recipe for soup for dinner, which is enjoyed cold. It is ideal as a light and refreshing meal in summer. The fresh basil leaves add freshness and delicious fragrance to the soup.
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
6 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
450 zucchini, diced
2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
940 ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups toasted walnut halves + more for garnish
3 cups fresh basil leaves + more to garnish
245 g Greek yogurt
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté shallots, stirring occasionally. Add thyme and garlic and sauté until they begin to become fragrant. Stir in zucchini, salt and pepper, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes. Add broth and continue to simmer until zucchini falls apart. Puree the soup with the walnuts in a food processor and set the container aside to cool. Then refrigerate basil soup for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, puree the basil, yogurt and lemon juice until smooth. Just before serving, stir in the yogurt mixture and season to taste. Garnish with chopped walnuts, a little olive oil and some crushed basil leaves.
Basil sorbet with cucumber
For a healthy and delicious way to cool off in the summer, try this basil sorbet with cucumbers and mint. The creamy, frozen and not-too-sweet treat is gluten-free and vegan.
2 cups cucumber, grated
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/3 cup mint leaves, chopped
1-2 tablespoons honey
Fresh mint for garnish
optional: 1/2 green chili pepper
Put all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Put the mixture into the ice cream maker. If you don’t have one, freeze it in an airtight container in the freezer. This will make a granita – a frozen Sicilian dessert with a similar consistency. Serve garnished with sprigs of mint.
Preparing basil in a healthy way – making your own infused basil oil
If you want to add flavor to salads, pasta dishes or stir-fries, infused oils are a great way to do it. Making homemade oils is quite easy. You’ll also enjoy figuring out different combinations to suit your tastes and put to use on a daily basis. First, wash the basil and pat it dry. Put the herbs in a mortar and pestle them to release the essential oils and all the aromas. Then add them to an airtight glass bottle. Pour in the olive oil and seal the bottle. Store the aromatic olive oil in a dark place or in the refrigerator for two weeks before consumption. Check occasionally to make sure the oil is aromatic enough for your taste. For 600 ml of mild olive oil, you will need 2 bunches of fresh basil. You can use the same method to prepare infused oil with other herbs, ginger or chili.
Basil seed drink
Last but not least, we would like to offer you the recipe for a refreshing and healthy summer basil seed drink with fragrant elderflower syrup and rose syrup.
1 tablespoon basil seeds
120 ml warm water
2 tablespoons rose syrup
2 tablespoons elderflower syrup
570 ml chilled water
In a small cup, pour warm water over basil seeds and let swell for 10 minutes. Pour rose syrup into two short glasses. Add the basil seeds, rose syrup, elderflower syrup, chilled water and ice cubes to a cocktail shaker and mix. Divide the drink among the glasses and garnish with basil leaves, if desired. Serve immediately.