Basil, Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits
Basil is universally recognized as a great culinary herb. It’s been grown for thousands of years and is revered as a holy herb in many cultures. Each culture has learned to make wide use of its healthful value. Basil is a graceful plant that grows about 30 cm (24 “) in height with light green silky leaves. It’s a delicious herb that’s grown for and used in cooking and natural medicine to create some potent and effective herbal formulas. Aside from its fragrant aroma and a pleasant sweet taste, it’s brimming with lots of stellar attributes.
Basil contains polyphenolic flavonoids such as orientin and vicenin; these compounds protect cell structures and chromosomes from radiation. The volatile oils of basil, have been shown to provide protection from bacteria growth. They demonstrate the ability to inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.
This little herb is also high in antioxidants, which protect against free radical damage associated with aging. Another component of basil’s volatile oils is eugenol. The enzyme-inhibiting effect of the eugenol sanctions basil as an anti-inflammatory herb that can provide important healing benefits along with symptomatic relief for individuals with inflammatory health problems like rheumatoid arthritis.
Basil is a great source of vitamin A; 100 grams contains an astonishing 5275 mg or 175% of our daily requirement. Vitamin A is essential for eye health, our immune system, and cell growth. It’s also great for skin conditions like acne and even wrinkles. It also helps the skin and mucous membranes repel bacteria and viruses more effectively.
Basil is a good source of beta-carotene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin, which act as a scavenger for free radicals. It’s also loaded with good amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids; it regulates water and mineral balance throughout the body that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Manganese is also important for normal brain and nerve function.
Basil has been used as an alternative to medical marijuana without side effects or any need for a prescription. It’s also been used to treat diabetes, respiratory disorders, allergies, impotence, and infertility.
It’s great as a memory booster, reducing fever, calming coughs, sore throat soothing, headache treatments, bug bites, increased kidney function, emotional health balancing, improved circulation, detoxifies the blood, increases immune function, protects the heart, and so much more. Who would have thought a simple herb could have so much healing power? I love basil, and I’m in the process of attempting to grow my own. Creating healthy changes in our diet is ultimately going to affect our bodies from the inside out and basil is just one awesome little herb that will get you started!