Great Ways to Enjoy the Multifarious Benefits of Basil (Tulsi)
One of the oldest and most popular of herbs, Basil with its aromatic fragrance, known, as ‘The Incomparable One’ is a plant used largely while dishing out Italian, Thai and Southeast Asian cuisines. Despite its popularity in cooking, Basil containing medicinal properties is capable of healing various conditions. Hence, it is one of the key ingredients in most Indian medicines like Siddha, Ayurveda and unani.
Native to the Indian soil, Basil, growing largely in most tropically warm conditions, derives its name from Basileus, which denotes ‘King’ in Greek. Known as Ocimum Basilicum in Botanical terms, Basil belongs to the family of mint known as Labiatae or Lamiaceae.
Other Names of Basil
|Sweet Basil, St Josephwort|
Physical Characteristics of Basil
Basil extends to a maximum of one foot with certain varieties growing up to ten feet tall. Comprising of silky light green coloured leaves arranged in opposite direction, Basil, depending upon the variety, bears spiky flowers in a wide array of colours ranging from white purple to lavender with black or brown coloured nut lets or seeds.
Different Varieties of Basil
Although there are many different varieties of Basil, the most popular of them all is the classic Italian sweet Basil. Other varieties include Purple Ruffles Basil, Thai Basil, Round Midnight Basil, Lemon Basil, Greek Basil, Spicy Saber Basil, Genovese Basil, Cardinal Basil, Green Ruffles, Basil Boxwood Basil, Summer long Basil and Lime Basil
Basil Nutritional Profile
|Nutritive Value Per 100 grams|
|Total Fat||0.64 g||2%|
|Dietary Fibre||1.60 g||4%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.209 mg||4%|
|Vitamin A||5275 IU||175%|
|Vitamin C||18 mg||30%|
|Vitamin E||0.80 mg||5%|
|Vitamin K||414.8 µg||345%|
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BASIL (TULSI)
› Basil comprises of significant plant-derived substances that offer protection against health related serious conditions.
› The herb contains antioxidant elements in the form of vicenin and orientin, polyphenolic flavonoids.
› Although Basil consists of various types of vitamins, minerals and other healthy nutrients, the herb contains zero cholesterol with minimal calories.
› Basil contains potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of volatile oils such as terpineol, eugenol, limonene, citral, linalool and citronellol. The anti-inflammatory factors attributed to eugenol, impedes the cycloxygenase (COX) enzyme thereby providing relief from inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. As an antibacterial element Basil restrains several bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Shigella, Enterococci and Staphylococcus.
› A rich source of iron, Basil enables supply of oxygen throughout the body.
› Laden with sufficient quantities of minerals such as magnesium, copper, manganese and potassium, Basil helps maintain healthy levels of blood pressure and heart rate. Basil also aids the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, with effective utilisation of manganese.
› Containing unusually elevated levels of vitamin A, Beta-carotene, lutein andzea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin, Basil help scavenge the harmful free radicals the main culprit paving the way for premature ageing along with a host of other health disorders.
› The vitamin A compounds with high antioxidant levels present in Basil facilitates the health of mucous membranes, vision and skin. Besides these, they prevent the occurrence cancers in the oral cavity and lungs. The Vitamin K substance however helps mineralisation of bone density along and highly beneficial for blood coagulation.
› Rich in antioxidant substance, carotenoid known as Zea–xanthin, a yellow flavonoid, Basil, prevents the occurrence of AMRD (age related macular degeneration). This is due to the absorption of this vital substance by retinal macula lutea, which inhibits the harsh ultra violet rays from getting in touch with the retina.
USES AND BENEFITS OF BASIL (TULSI) IN VARIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS
Benefits of Basil in Respiratory Disorders
› Chewing Basil leaves also provides relief from cough cold and influenza.
› Boiling Basil leaves in water and drinking the liquid or using as a gargle pacifies a sore throat.
Benefits of Basil in Fever
› Due to antimicrobial properties existing in Basil, they prevent the attack of viral infections.
› Boiling tender Basil leaves and drinking the concoction protects the body from dengue and malaria.
› Boiling the leaves in half a litre of water with a pinch of powdered cardamom blended with milk and sugar lowers the highest of temperatures.
› Basil juice mixed with cloves and cinnamon relieves chills.
Benefits of Basil for Child Health
› Warm juice of Basil eliminates intestinal parasites and worms.
› Basil with honey acts as an expectorant and helps soothe cough and cold in children too.
› Regular administration of Basil juice and massaging the juice mixed with honey on babies tender gums prevents teething problems in babies.
› Basil leaves and honey makes a great combo preventing chicken pox.
› Basil juice addresses other kids health related problems like vomiting, diarrhoea, cold and cough.
Basil Benefits for Women’s Health
Basil eliminates symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as tension, mood swings, irritation, and helps regulate menstrual cycles. Since Basil is a rich source of iron, they help replenish the body with lost iron during menstruation. In pregnant women induces labour and after childbirth prevents a retained placenta.
Basil to cure Headache
Basil for Digestive Health
Basil promotes digestive health relieving stomach puffiness, lack of appetite, vomiting, flatulence and constipation.
Benefits of Basil for Dental Health
› Basil supports dental health promotes healthy gums preventing inflammation of the gums, toothache, pyorrhoea and bad breath.
› Using powdered dry Basil leaves for brushing teeth or mixing them with mustard oil relieves dental problems.
› Basil plays the role of a mouth freshener to perfection alleviating bacteria and germs.
Benefits of Basil for Vision Health
Since Basil is a good source of Vitamin A, drinking Basil juice protect the eyes from soreness, stress, boils, conjunctivitis and night blindness. Flushing the eyes with Basil immersed in water keeps eyes clean and clear.
Basil Heals cuts
Owing to their antiseptic and healing properties, Basil heals bruises wounds and cuts quickly.
› For insect bites, applying a teaspoon of fresh Basil juice or a pate made from the roots provides relief.
› Grinding together the leaves and roots of Basil helps draw out the venom from a bee/scorpion sting and snake bite. Mixing lemon juice with crushed Basil leaves also serves the purpose. Drinking Basil juice or applying on the affected area provides relief from pain.
Basil’s Anti-oxidant Properties
Owing to the anti-carcinogenic substances in Basil, they prevent the occurrence of certain Cancers of the breast and mouth, inhibiting the development and growth of tumours. Basil contains Vitamins C and A, anti-oxidants that help prevents cell damage.
Basil for Circulatory Health
Basil promotes circulatory health by improving blood flow and preventing coagulation.
Basil for Cardiac Health
Due to ample amounts of Eugenol, vitamin C antioxidants and magnesium content, Basil protects the body from cardiac related problems and associated symptoms of weakness. Since Basil destroys the harmful free radicals, they help prevent and maintain healthy Cholesterol and Blood pressure levels.
Basil Stabilise Blood sugar
According to several studies regular consumption of Basil juice or basil tea helps stabilise blood sugar levels.
Basil helps detoxify the liver getting rid of harmful unwanted toxins from the body.
Basil Juice for Renal Stones
Drinking Basil juice mixed with honey help flush out renal stones. Since Basil, acts as an effective detox they help balance the uric acid levels, one of the major contributors of renal stones.
Basil for Lungs
Substances such as Vitamin C eugenol and camphene help relieve congestion of the lung and cures damages from tuberculosis and smoking.
Basil for Mental Health
Consuming Basil juice regularly helps combat stress, nervous tension, depression, fatigue and insomnia. The herb also helps sharpen the senses, boosts memory, improves concentration levels and uplifts mood.
Basil Helps Quit Smoking
Munching on a handful of Basil leaves relieves damages caused by smoking and eliminates the desire and urge to smoke. (Know harmful effects of smoking)
Basil for Skin Problems
Honey and Basil alleviates ringworm and provides relief from itchy skin.
Basil for Acne
Basil with anti inflammatory and antibacterial bacterial properties helps eliminate acne. (More tips to get rid of acne naturally)
Basil helps Sinusitis
Inhaling hot water steeped with Basil leaves helps sinusitis.
Basil for Ear Infections
Since Basil is an antibacterial, a few drops of Basil essential oil relieve ear infections.
Basil as Air Purifier
Being a disinfectant growing a Basil plant at home purifies the air with its minty fragrance.
ANCIENT TRADITIONS AND SUPERSTITIONS
› To please their Gods, the ancient Egyptians burned myrrh and Basil as incense
› The ancient Egyptians embalmed their bodies with Basil and myrrh.
› Basil denoted insanity and hostility to the ancient Romans and Greeks
› The ancient Romans and Greeks depicted poverty by painting woman in rags with Basil by her side.
› They believed in shouting and swearing in anger while sowing seeds to grow fragrant Basil semer le Basilic (Sowing Basil) means ranting in French
› Persians and Malaysians plant Basil in graves yards
› Basil is associated with love in many folk traditions
› Exchanging sprigs of Basil among lovers indicates sign of faithfulness in Northern Europe
› Sprinkling Basil water around the shops helped ward off evil and bring prosperity
› Using Basil promoted a merry cheerful heart
› Basil brings home happiness
› Placing a bowl of Basil inside the house drives out melancholy
› Basil creates understanding among people.
› Basil brings money and good luck to a new home
› Basil promotes mental strength to face life’s troubles and difficulties
› In India, the herb is known as tulsi
› Basil is a holy and sacred plant in India
› According to Hindu mythology, Basil (tulsi) symbolises one of the important deities, Goddess Lakshmi
› The herb symbolises love, eternal life, purification and protection in Hindu tradition
› Women worship the herb in Hindu religion and impart longevity to their husbands
› The herb grew in the location during Christ’s crucifixion
› People bring Basil to church to receive blessings on St Basils feast observed in Greece on January 1st