What is Basil?
Basil is a delicious culinary herb, which actual botanical name is Ocimum Basilium. It belongs to the family of the mint, lavender, and sage. According to texts and evidence, it may have originated in the Hunan region of China and has been cultivated for 5000 years. This herb can easily be grown indoors since it does not need much sunlight. That is why people all over the world grow it at home and reap its benefits.
The Mystic History of Basil
Basil has a very interesting history full of superstitious beliefs. It was thought to have magical healing powers and people used it for strength during fasting. Being a royal herb, it was used in embalming for the mummification process. The Ancient Greeks considered it as a symbol of mourning. The Indians believed it was a protector of the poor and in the afterlife.
Basil and Nutrition
Basil is fully packed with vital nutrients.
It is abundant in protein – one serving contains 0.2g.
It contains a lot of vitamins:
- 277IU of vitamin A,
- 0.9mg of vitamin C,
- 21.8mcg of vitamin K,
- 3.6mcg of folate.
Basil is rich in minerals:
- 9.3mg of calcium,
- 0.2mg of iron,
- 3.4 mg of magnesium,
- 2.9 mg of phosphorous,
- 15.5 mg of potassium,
- 0.2 mg of sodium,
- 0.1 mg of manganese.
Basil has been famous for its many medicinal uses since the early ages. Its components help fight various diseases and build strong immunity. Researchers have done a big job to scientifically understand its benefits.
Here are the 11 Amazing Health Benefits of Basil!
1. Supports Brain Function
Brain decline has become a serious problem for old people nowadays. Studies show that regular basil consumption is very helpful for the prevention of cognitive degradation. Manganese in basil increases the electronic transmitter activity in the brain, associated with mental reflexes. The herb contains copper, which stimulates the mind by enhancing its functionality.
2. Manages Arthritis
Arthritis is a very painful disease that often results in physical disability. Basil contains beta-caryophyllene, which are associated with effective pain management. These are also anti-inflammatory chemicals that help in soothing the burning sensation in the joints caused by arthritis.
3. Relieves Stress
Basil contains compounds such as adaptogens that help the body cope with both physical and emotional stress. Basil consumption supports the maintenance of balanced functionality of the body even during stressful periods of life. Ocimum Sanctum, or “holy basil”, takes part in reducing hormone and corticosterone levels in the human organism.
4. Anti-Aging Properties
Basil is full of antioxidants. A major reason for looking and feeling old can be the free radical damage to both the skin and the brain. The antioxidants in basil help decrease the effects of free radical cells, thus preventing the body and mind from enduring oxidative stress.
5. Strengthens Bones
The loss of bone density leads to fragile bone development, as well as bone-related injuries and physical conditions. This fact is especially valid for women because osteoporosis is more common in women than in men. The nutritional facts show that basil is a great source of vitamin K, which helps the body absorb calcium better. That is why it is extremely useful in maintaining healthy bones.
6. Aids Metabolism
A good metabolic rate is important to keep the body healthy. Basil is a rich source of manganese. It aids the body release enzymes that are beneficial in metabolizing amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates.
7. Relieves Post Menstrual Syndrome
This time of the month can be extremely painful for at least 75% of women. Suffering from cramps, depression, and fatigue is characteristic for post menstrual syndrome. Luckily, the manganese in basil relieves these symptoms by balancing hormones. This, in turn, reduces stress and fatigue.
8. Source of Energy
Basil contains copper, which produces adenosine triphosphate. This is a compound that assists in eliminating the effects of fatigue and exhaustion. Prepare your smoothies with basil so that your energy levels are kept high.
9. Anti-Microbial Properties
Basil contains volatile compounds that are antimicrobial in nature. Basil essential oil has been found to exhibit antimicrobial activity against a wide range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, mold, and yeast.
10. Contains Strong Antioxidants against Cancer
Basil contains anthocyanins and phenolics, which are strong antioxidants. These protect the body from reactive oxygen species that are the main cause of cancerous cell formation.
11. Maintains Eyes Healthy
Basil contains beta-carotene. This is an essential compound that cooperates in the prevention of eye muscle degeneration. Basil is also a good source of vitamin A and Ascorbic acids that cure the dry eye syndrome.