Herbs | Berries | Fruits | Nuts | Oils | Tea | Vegetables

Basil Herb

Basil is a well-known culinary herb that’s popular in many Italian dishes. Like other aromatic plants, basil contains essential oils and phytochemicals in the leaves, stem, flowers, roots and seeds that have biological activity in the body.

 

A facial steam with dried basil leaf can help alleviate a headache. Add a tablespoon of dried basil leaf to 2 cups of boiling water in a large pot.

 

Carefully lean over the pot, cover head with a towel and breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes until headache starts to subside.

 

The most common use of basil is for cooking, such as in tomato sauce, pesto, or vinegars. But it also can be sprinkled over salads and sliced tomatoes, either whole or chopped.

 

Basil is used for stomach spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, kidney conditions, fluid retention, head colds, warts, and worm infections.

 

It is also used to treat snake and insect bites. Other uses of basil include the cosmetic.

 

Put fresh leaves in a hot bath as an infusion, for example. As a tonic, steep a few leaves in wine for several hours.

 

Or steep in water as a tea to aid digestion. A drop of basil oil on shirtsleeves will help counteract mental fatigue.

 

Basil extracts may also influence the development of two other major diseases currently affecting an enormous proportion of North Americans: diabetes and heart disease.

 

Basil essential oils have been shown to lower blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

 

When blood glucose is high, the sugar itself can damage the body; in addition, the body keeps releasing insulin in an attempt to control blood sugar levels. Both high blood sugar and high insulin can do damage.

 

Basil is a promising source of antioxidants and the evidence for its anti-cancer activity is optimistic thus far.

 

As with other supplements and natural health products, future research should be conducted to establish basil’s safety, efficacy and possible side effects.

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