Basil was originally a native plant to India, Iran, and other tropical regions in Asia. It was grown and used for its leaves and seeds because of medical health benefits. Basil is also a great flavor enhancer.
Basil is high in vitamin A which helps to act as a scavenger against oxygen-derived free radicals involved in aging. Fresh basil leaves contain 175 percent of the necessary daily dose of Vitamin A. Vitamin A has been discovered to be a powerful antioxidant and essential for good vision. Vitamin A also helps maintain skin health and protects the body from lung and oral cavity cancer.
Basil contains many nutrients necessary for a healthy body. Researchers have found that basil leaves contain Vitamin K, which aids in the production of clotting factors in the blood and helps with bone strengthening. Basil has potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is known to be beneficial in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Fresh basil leaves have been found to contain a lot of iron which is a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells. Of course, hemoglobin is of high importance for the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
Studies have found that the volatile oils in basil, especially eugenol, can help to block the enzyme cyclooxygenase in the body. Cyclooxygenase is the same enzyme that anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen are created to help block. Basil is a natural anti-inflammatory. Not only is it an anti-inflammatory, but basil is a natural solid antibacterial agent because of its volatile oils. Studies have been done that have shown promise in its ability to inhibit some pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to some antibiotic drugs.
Research has shown that the leaves of a basil plant contain phytonutrients such as orientin and vicenin. These are in the flavonoid family. Studies and research have found that flavonoids can protect cell structures and chromosomes from the damage caused by radiation.
Researchers are studying the link between basil and how it can help the body adapt to stress and normalize the harmful effects of stressors on various body processes. Early studies have seen improvements in oxidative stress levels after basil use. These studies have been done on rabbits and still need to be done on humans. Researchers found that the rabbits had cardiovascular and respiratory protection in response to stress. A significant decrease in blood sugar levels was observed as an added benefit.
Health Benefits of Basil
- Basil is high in Vitamin A.
- Basil contains many nutrients necessary for the health of the body.
- Basil is both an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.
- Basil may protect chromosomes from damage.
- Basil is being studied for its ability to help with stress.
Try These Delicious and Healthy Basil Recipes
Dr. Nandi’s Egg and Basil Red Sauce Finger Sandwich
Dr. Nandi’s Vegan Basil Zucchini and Tofu
Go get the recipe.
Dr. Nandi’s Tomato & Basil Risotto