7 Health Benefits and Uses for Basil

I still remember the first time I tasted fresh basil—and the Italian restaurant that served up this little bit of heaven. It transformed a plain tomato salad into an extraordinary taste sensation. Basil accompanies tomatoes beautifully, and it’s the star in traditional pesto. But this aromatic and delicious plant has much more to offer than just its striking aroma and flavor.

7 Health Benefits and Uses for Basil

basil leaf

Food Poisoning Fighter

Basil has been shown to have excellent anti-infectious qualities against bacteria commonly linked with food poisoning. Research in the journal Molecules found that the natural volatile oils in basil inhibited multiple drug-resistant strains of E. coli bacteria. E coli, which can be contracted from contaminated food, causes cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

Tuberculosis Fighter

In a preliminary study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, scientists demonstrated that an extract of basil seeds was effective in the laboratory against tuberculosis-causing bacteria.

Pain Reliever

Eugenol, one of the beneficial compounds in basil, has been studied extensively for its ability to fight pain by suppressing the body’s production of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX)—a mechanism similar to the one used by aspirin and ibuprofen; however, the drugs merely prevent binding to this enzyme to alleviate pain.

Blood Pressure Balancer

According to the research of the renowned botanist and author of The Green Pharmacy, James Duke, basil contains six natural compounds that reduce high blood pressure, making it a great regular dietary addition for anyone suffering from the condition.

Breath Freshener

Basil freshens breath. Simply chew on a fresh basil leaf or drink a cup of basil tea.

Cancer Remedy

Exciting new research published in the journal Molecular Medicine Reports found that an extract of basil halted ovarian cancer cell growth. Eating basil on a regular basis may help stave off cancer.

Wart Remover

Basil’s antiviral compounds go to work when the crushed leaves are applied to warts. Crush a fresh leaf or two, place on the wart and cover with a bandage. Change the compress daily for 5 to 7 days. Repeat the process if necessary.

How to Reap the Health Benefits of Basil

Big round vegetarian pizza with tomatoes and basil

Basil Tea

Brew basil tea by adding a teaspoon of dried, organic basil or a tablespoon of fresh basil leaves to a cup of boiled water and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink a cup three times daily for best results.

Culinary Uses

Add dried basil to soups, stews, pasta dishes and tomato sauce. Add fresh basil near the end of the cook time to soups, salads, stews, pesto, pasta dishes and tomato sauce, alongside tomatoes, peppers and eggplant; add in curries made with coconut milk. It is best to add the fresh leaves just prior to serving as they lose their robust flavor and aroma after heating.

Pesto

Puree fresh basil leaves in a food processor with garlic, olive oil, sea salt, a dash of pepper and some fresh pine nuts (optional). Use immediately or freeze in ice cube trays. Once frozen store the cubes in a sealed bag in the freezer. Add the cubes as desired to add a punch of flavor to cooked soups, pasta dishes, stews, and sauces.

 

Related:
Health Benefits of Basil Seeds
Summer Basil Quinoa Salad
Avocado Basil Pad Thai
Don’t Believe in Herbal Medicine? 10 Things to Change Your Mind

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include the upcoming book: : Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.

 

84 comments

Melania P
Melania Padilla5 months ago

Love basil, I have in my garden :)

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 months ago

I love basil in the garden and food!

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Jim V
Jim Ven5 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S5 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitney6 months ago

Really makes a difference to the taste of meals just love it Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitney6 months ago

Great information Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitney6 months ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara6 months ago

thanks

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara6 months ago

basil is very tasty

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