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What are the Medicinal Properties of Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)?

Basil

Introduction

Basil is also known with the name Saint Joseph's wort and belongs to the Lamiaceae (mint) family. This culinary herb is native to tropical regions from Southeast Asia to Central Africa. This tender plant is used for cooking various cuisines worldwide. Its leaves have pungent, strong and usually sweet taste. Basil has many varieties along with some hybrid species as well. Sweet basil is the type of this herb used commonly as a flavoring agent. Other than this other types used more frequently are Thai basil, holy basil and lemon basil. Most of its varieties are annuals but few of them are also perennial which grows in tropical, warm climates. Holy basil is one of them.

General Description

It is an annual or a perennial herb of which leaves are used. Plants of basil can reach up to height  30cm-150cm and leaves are dark green and ovate in shape. Size of its leaves can vary between 3cm-11cm long and 1cm-6cm in width. It grows as the central and thick taproot. Flowers of basil are white and small.

Phytochemistry

Due to the various essential oil content of basil, it may have different fragrances. Sweet basil possesses a scent of clove due to the presence of Eugenol in it.

Distribution

It stretches from Africa to central Southeast Asia and this herb is a native to India and other tropical countries. Basil has become globalized due to its wide spread cultivation throughout the globe.

Cultivation

Ocimum basilisum is the most popular species of this herb. It grows well in a dry, hot climate and is sensitive to cold weather conditions. Owing to its popularity, basil is grown throughout the world on a large scale. After flowering it produces black color seeds which can be used to grow more basil plants.

Medicinal Properties of Basil

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticarcinogenic
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti- aging
  • Nutritious
  • Digestive
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti depressant
  • Immunemodulator
  • Antidiabetic
  • Detoxifier
  • Blood vessel-protector
  • Antipyretic
  • Analgesic

Therapeutic Importance of Basil

Basil is rich in various medicinal properties and help to treat many health ailments naturally.

  • Basil possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties which help to fight against various diseases and disorders. Essential oils present in it fight inflammation and help to relieve inflammatory signs and symptoms like swelling, pain and redness of affected part.
  • It is one of the amazing herbs which helps to restore the digestive health of a person. Basil helps to treat indigestion and other digestive troubles. Eugenol oil in this herb acts as an anti- inflammatory agent and treats the digestive troubles.
  • Restores the pH of the stomach by balancing the acid within.
  • It possesses natural antioxidants which prevent oxidative damage to the body by free radicals. It eliminates or kills free radicals from the body. Basil has two antioxidants that strengthen the immunity of the body.
  • Basil is a strong and natural skin cleanser which clears the skin and removes the impurities and dirt from the pores which clog them. For this local application of the herb should be used.
  • Acne can also be prevented by applying basil paste owing to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Basil stimulates neurotransmitter that maintains the balance of the hormones that regulates emotions like energy and happiness. Hence helpful in treating depression.
  • It is a powerful stress reliever and adaptogen due to its anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulatory.
  • Regular consumption of basil results in slow release of sugar in the bloodstream that is helpful for diabetic patients to maintain blood sugar level in them. It has a really low glycemic index.
  • Basil lowers down the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood preventing cardiovascular damage.
  • It possesses amazing detoxifying properties which help in treating liver diseases.
  • Basil helps to reduce age and stress related memory loss and enhances the memory naturally.
  • If given before or after stroke, it can reduce the damage caused due to stroke and also supports the faster recovery.
  • Hypertensive people can take this herb to maintain their blood pressure and it also maintains blood sugar level, both random and fasting.
  • Works as an aspirin in terms of thinning the blood and relaxing blood vessels.
  • Inhaling the aroma of the basil helps to increase the alertness of the mind.
  • It possesses antibacterial properties. Hence helps to combat the infections caused by bacteria without the help of antibiotics.
  • Washing mouth from its decoction inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth and it also preventsdecaying of teeth.
  • It is one of those rare herbs which fights cancer naturally. Basil helps to prevents cancer naturally . This herb contains antioxidants that causes apoptosis of cancerous cells and prevent them from spreading further.
  • This herb is a natural adaptogen which helps the body to adapt for the surrounding environment and stress. This powerful herb fight both mental and physical stress.
  • Essential oils present in this herb, especially eugenol helps to fight against free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to the body.
  • Antimicrobial activity of the basil prevents various bacterial, molds, yeasts and viral infections. Infections like candida and various skin infections can be prevented and treated by basil.
  • Basil promotes cardiovascular health by maintaining healthy blood pressure. Owing to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action, it helps to relax the blood vessels and hence promotes healthy blood pressure.
  • Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulatory effect of this herb help to prevent cardiovascular disease by enhancing the immunity and preventing chronic cardiac diseases.
  • Balance of pH in the gut of a person can be maintained by regular use of basil, improving digestion and immunity which helps healthy bacteria to grow and flourish in the digestive tract.
  • It has been portrayed as a symbol of love for centuries in Italy. Basil's aroma is known to increase the arousal and libido in the person by increasing the flow of blood to the body parts.
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