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10 Tips to Unlock the Healing Powers of Basil

10 Tips to Unlock the Healing Powers of Basil

Sweet, silken and fragrant, basil is queen among healing herbs. Native to tropical nations such as India and Iran, it has been used for centuries in combating a staggering range of health problems. I remember my grandmother prescribing it as a panacea for almost every ill, ranging from coughs to cuts to malaria, and everything in between! She followed the ayurvedic way of healing, in which basil has been given the status of a rasayana, or revered ingredient.

5 Ways to Heal with Basil:

  • Pound 6 to 7 basil leaves with a pestle and mortar. Mix the paste with 1 tsp honey. Take this first thing in the morning to boost immunity and get relief from hypertension.
  • Boil a handful of basil leaves in 4 cups of water. Strain the water and sip it, warm, every 30 minutes or so. Your throat will feel relieved, your stomach settled, and your senses calmed.
  • If you dip a ball of cotton in basil-infused water and dab it on your skin, you will get instant relief from itchiness and sore skin.
  • Sweet and wonderfully aromatic basil essential oil brings relief from inflammatory conditions such as joint ache and heartburn. It is also reputed to sharpen the mind and strengthen the nervous system.
  • Applying a dot of basil essential oil on the tip of your nose and on your temples brings quick relief from stress.

5 Fresh Ways to Cook with Basil:
When we think basil, it is usually in the context of pesto. Here are some easy and exciting ideas to bring more of this bountiful herb into your kitchen and your life:

  • Knead some fresh chopped basil leaves into your bread dough.
  • Tear up a few leaves and scatter them upon your omelette, pizza or toast. Intensifies the aroma and flavor dramatically.
  • How about trying a couple of finely chopped basil leaves in a tall glass of iced tea or a cool summer mocktail?
  • Chop some basil leaves really fine, and whisk them into a knob of butter. You have delicious basil butter!
  • Basil, tomato and mozzarella are a match made in culinary heaven! But you knew that, of course.

Do you have interesting ideas on how to cook with basil? Do share!


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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).


+ add your own
9:40AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

I grow basil in my herb beds, I drink Tulsi or Tulsai tea for blood pressure but it is also great for lots of things, Holy Basil is amazing. I'm not sure which basil this article is referring to, there are many basils.

9:10AM PDT on Sep 27, 2012


8:29AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

very informative article. I will try these suggestions with much enthusiasm!

10:07PM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

I love basil and I use it all the time! So interesting to hear the healing properties - I will need to remember those! One of my favorite ways to get in basil - and it happens to be great for healing as well - is to sprinkle it on top of spaghetti with olive oil, minced garlic and red pepper. Didn't realize the basil was helping out with my cold, too!

12:31PM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

great ideas

12:30PM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

great ideas

8:23AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Grow basil on my balcony and in the living room where it and other fresh herbs are accessible and delightful to use. Some new ideas here which I will be only too happy to try out!

2:26AM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

Great Posting here... awesome

5:49AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Great article, thanks so much..

7:24AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

I am just learning to use basil. Thanks for the ideas.

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