Basil plant (Ocimum basilicum) is another powerful medicinal plant, scientifically known as Ocimum basilicum. This herb is said to be native to India, Africa, and Asia. However, basil to most people is a sacred noble herb. This versatile herb got its name from the ancient Greek word “Basilikom”, which translates to “royal”.
Nevertheless, basil can be used as a seasoning in a variety of dishes, it is very popular because it grows in many places around the world. You can even grow it on your lawn or yard. This herb is a major in Italian and Thai cuisine often referred to as a thai basil plant.
You should also know that Ocimum basilicum, is a bright green plant with more than 60 powerful medicinal varieties.
One of the varieties of basil is the “Sweet Basil”, which is the most popular and widely used variety.
All the leaves of the basil are rounded and oftentimes pointed, although some varieties of basil tend to have purple or red hints on their leaves.
One reason why basil is used in dishes today is not only because of its medicinal nature but also it has a very nice and strong smell coupled with a recognizable flavor.
However, different varieties of Ocimum basilicum (basil), offer different tastes and flavors. Let’s take for example the “Lemon Basil”, this variety of basil has a tangy lemon taste and so on.
As mentioned earlier, basil has a strong nice smell. It also makes a colorful addition to many different dishes.
So many people these days like basil for so many reasons. Although, in this article, we’ll be pointing out some health benefits of basil that may be of interest to you.
Health Benefits of Basil Plant (Ocimum Basilicum)
Ocimum basilicum, also known as basil is a medicinal herb, packed with lots of essential vitamins and minerals as well as notable antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lutein and a host of others, combined makes basil a very powerful and healthy herb.
Without the presence of some of these notable antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins Ocimum basilicum (basil), will be of no use today.
Below are interesting health benefits of basil that you may not know;
(1) Best in Reducing Oxidative Stress
Basil contains antioxidants and compounds that are capable and responsible for reducing oxidative stress. It contains a compound called Eugenol.
Now, these compounds in basil, together with other notable antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lutein, are what empower basil to be able to fight free radicals in the body when eaten.
Some of these free radicals in the body can be very dangerous. But basil can help to fight against them, including diseases like cancer, arthritis, and diabetes.
(2) Cancer Prevention
Another variety of basil is known as holy basil plant, also called Tulsi. Is another basil, it has a very unique taste compared to sweet basil.
This variety contains phytochemicals that can help to protect your body against different types of diseases like liver cancer, oral cancer, and skin cancer.
(3) Blood Sugar Regulation
Basil has antioxidants and properties that may help reduce high blood sugar levels.
In recent studies carried out on rats, it was discovered that basil extract helped to reduce high blood sugar levels in rats.
Basil may also be helpful in the treatment of perpetual-like effects of high blood pressure.
(4) Heart disease Prevention
The compound, Eugenol contained in basil, has the capability of blocking incoming channels of calcium, which may help to lower blood pressure.
Some essential oils in basil can also help lower your cholesterol and triglycerides.
Ocimum basilicum also contains a mineral known as potassium, this helps to improve blood flows by allowing muscles and blood vessels to be relaxed.
(5) Improved Mental Health
Tulsi is another popular variety of basil herb. It is a very popular herb in medicine.
Recent research has shown many benefits, including improving your mental health.
It has compounds that can help to alleviate anxiety and depression, increase your ability to think clearly and lower the risk for age-related memory loss.
(6) Reduced Inflammation
Basil contains essential oils as we all know by now. These oils including eugenol and citronellol can help to fight against deadly inflammation in your body.
Now, these inflammatory properties contained in basil can also help to lower the risks of some diseases like arthritis, heart diseases, and bowel issues.
(7) Protection Against Infections
Ocimum basilicum possesses antibacterial properties. The oils in the herb may help to fight bacteria in people with abdominal, urinary, and skin infections.
Nutrients Per Serving (Ocimum Basilicum)
Below are the nutrients contained in 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil:
Calories – 1
Protein – 0.2 grams
Fat – 0 grams
Carbohydrates – 0.1 grams
Fiber – 0.1 grams
Sugar – 0 grams
Basil also has many other vital nutrients in it, these nutrients include:
Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Potassium.
How to Prepare Basil(Ocimum Basilicum)
We’ll be highlighting a few points on how to prepare basil.
You can find and purchase fresh basil in the produce section at most grocery stores.
If you need dried basil, you’ll likely find it with other dried herbs and spices. When buying fresh basil, look for vibrant, deep green leaves.
Store it in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp cloth or paper towel.
There are many ways to enjoy basil. If you’re looking to incorporate into your diet, consider some of the following:
Layer basil with fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato slices, add some fresh cracked black pepper and drizzle with olive oil
Use it to finish a freshly cooked pizza or pasta dish (whole or chopped)
Blend it into homemade soups or sauces
Add it to homemade pesto or hummus
Place it with vegetables in a lasagna
Mix it into a salad, such as a grilled corn salad or watermelon salad
Garnish vanilla ice cream with a couple of small basil leaves
Keep in mind that when you’re cooking with basil, it’s best to add the leaves toward the end of the process.
The oils are volatile, so adding the herb at the end allows it to keep more of its delicious flavor.
Read Also: TV Recycling Process Complete Guide