Basil is a herb which is proved to help various medical problems and is also added as a spice to enhance taste to cuisines. It is still used as a traditional medicine in various parts of southeast Asia in India. It is considered as sacred in India and is called as “tulsi”. It has powerful immune boosting properties and is used in Ayurvedic treatments across India. Tulsi has an important place in Hindu traditions and is linked to a goddess figure. The health benefits of basil are vast and are also very effective. It has been used for treatment since centuries and is widely used to promote health naturally.
25 Health Benefits Of Basil
1. Prevents Acne
Acne is caused by bacteria that infect the skin. Basil has powerful anti bacterial properties and can kill off the bacteria effectively. Eugenol present in the basil oil is a powerful anti-bacterial agent and is used to treat many skin disorders. You can use coconut oil as a carrier as it can penetrate the skin better than other types of oils.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Basil has powerful oils like eugenol, linalool and citronellol. It helps in reducing skin inflammation caused due to increased immune response or caused to infections of external agents.
3. Fights Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are mainly caused in women due to vaginal infections. Due to the antiviral and antibacterial properties of basil; it gives protection from yeast and molds and also from many types of skin irritations.
4. Fights Depression
Holy basil benefits the brain by impacting the adrenal cortex and releasing hormones that induce pleasure. It also stimulates the neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that increases happiness in a person. Thus, it affects the depression and anxiety or other mood-related disorders.
5. Supports Liver Function
One of the health benefits of basil is that it promotes detoxification of the body and thus, takes stress off the liver. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggested that when sickly rats were given basil extracts over a period of five days; their detoxification enzymes were increased and there was a reduction in the fat accumulation in the liver that can cause fatty liver.
6. Improves Digestion
Tulsi promotes better digesting of foods and prevents constipation, vomiting and also makes the stomach feel less bloated. Due to the presence of anti-bacterial agents, it can kill harmful bacteria that aid indigestion.
7. Promotes Weight Loss
Another of the health benefits of basil are that they can help in reducing excess weight. This can help you feel energetic and carry out more activities to lose weight.
8. Acts As A Natural ‘Adaptogen’
Studies have shown where rabbits were given fresh basil leaves and exposed to high-stress environment. After a period of 30 days, the researchers found that there was an increased protection against cardiovascular and respiratory problems in rabbits. They also noticed that there was decrease in blood sugar levels and increase in antioxidants properties. Thus, it shows that basil can normalize the stressors on bodily processes.
9. Alkalizes The Body
Consuming a high acid diet can be very harmful to the body. This can lead to acid reflux and lowering of the pH of the body. Alkalizing the body can reduce harmful gut bacteria and improve digestion as well as immunity.
10. Increase Sex Drive
Basil has been a symbol of love for centuries in Italy. Basil can be used as a natural aphrodisiac as the aroma of it can cause an increase in sexual activity and increase sexual arousal. In Ayurveda, tulsi is used to promote sexual functions.
11. Reduces Risk Of Diabetes
Basil can reduce blood sugar levels as well as maintains cholesterol levels. They can reduce the blood sugar level by increasing insulin sensitivity and thus is a safe way to control diabetes.
12. Prevents Kidney Stones
Basil acts as a natural diuretic and has a strengthening effect on the kidneys. Consumption of basil helps to remove the kidney stones from the urinary tract and also helps in detoxification of the kidneys. It can helps reduce uric acid levels in the kidneys and thus takes strain off of the kidneys.
13. Treats Sore Throats
Due to it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, basil can relieve sore throats. Drink basil leaves boiled in water, until the symptoms subside. You can also gargle this concoction.
14. Treats Fever
Fever can often be caused due to bacterial or viral infections. Take a decoction of tulsi leaves boiled in cardamom powder in half a liter of water mixed with sugar and water. This will fight against the bacterial or viral infections. This is one of the health benefits of basil.
15. Powerful Healing Properties
Basil can be used as a natural antiseptic and can be used in the treatment of ulcers or wounds. It can also be used to reduce the inflammation of measles, small pox or chicken pox. It can also be used to reduce the inflammation of bug or insect bites. It can also be used to draw the venom out.
16. Fights Cancer
Basil has two soluble flavonoids antioxidants called orientin and viceninare. They help in supporting the immune system and help in cell repair. They prevent DNA damage that is caused by free radicals known as carcinogens. These carcinogens can lead to cancerous uncontrollable cell growth and lead to rapid aging. The antioxidants fight against cell aging and neutralize free radicals or oxidative stress. It also induces cell death of harmful cells and stops cancerous tumors from spreading. Basil inhibits oral cancer, lung, liver and breast cancer.
17. Treats Gum Disorders
The health benefits of basil are that, they are powerful antibacterial as well anti-inflammatory agents. They can relieve toothaches and inflammation of gums caused by bacteria. They can inhibit gingivitis, pyorrhea and other dental problems. Mixing tulsi powder with toothpaste to brush the teeth can help prevent tooth cavities and tooth decay.
18. Removes Bad Breath
Bad breath is caused due to acid reflux or poor oral hygiene. Bacteria can infect the gums and release gases those results in to bad breath. To inhibit this, mix basil powder with your toothpaste or start chewing on basil leaves. This will effectively get rid of bad breath.
19. Relieves Headaches
To alleviate headaches, take two tablespoons of dried basil leaves in two cups of water and boil. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam or you can apply a paste of basil leaves and sandalwood to your forehead. This will provide you with a cooling effect and relieve headaches quickly.
20. Lighten Blemishes On The Skin
Tulsi kills bacteria and also has antioxidants that promote growth of new skin cells. Thus, by adding a paste of tulsi and besan (gram flour) to your face, it can reduce scars or marks and make your skin fair. It can also promote skin lightening and improve your complexion.
21. Prevents Hair Loss
Dandruff, dry scalp or fungal infections can promote hair loss. Clogged pores due to oil glands can also results in loss of hair. To counteract this problem, basil can be used as it has anti-fungal properties as well as cleanse and remove clogged pores. Massage a mixture of basil and coconut oil on the scalp and after a few hours wash if off with warm water. Tulsi also increases blood circulation to the scalp and thus promotes hair growth.
22. Prevents Radiation Damage
As noted above, the health benefits of basil are that they are rich in antioxidants. UV radiation or exposure can damage the skin cells and can lead to oxidative stress. The antioxidants prevent cell damage and promote cell repair and slow ageing.
23. Pain Reliever
Basil is a natural antiseptic and can relieve pain caused due to infection. It can also naturally reduce inflammation and pain without any side effects.
24. Treats Ringworms
Basil can restrict the growth of E. coli and B. anthracis that cause skin infection and itching. Applying basil on the affected area can prevent the spread and also kill off the harmful bacteria. Thus, this is one of the health benefits of basil.
25. Treating Grey Hair
Some are embarrassed of grey hair. If you want to treat this naturally, then basil can help. Soak basil and amla powder overnight and then wash your hair with this the next morning. This prevents the graying of hair naturally without any side-effects.
Historical Use Of Basil Or Tulsi
Holy basil is the “queen of herbs” and is considered as most scared in India. It has been around for 5000 years and is considered as a healing agent for the mind, body and spirit. There are three types of Tulsi: Rama tulsi, Krishna tulsi and Vana tulsi. The roots, seeds and leaves are used for it’s medicinal purposes. In Jewish forklore; basil is thought to strengthen them while fasting. Also, the French refer to it as ‘the royal herb’ and is used in Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines as well as Italian cuisines. Thus, there are many health benefits of basil.