Basil: Nutrition, Health Benefits, Uses and More
Basil is a pleasant, leafy green plant native to Asia and Africa.
It is a member of the mint family, and there are several kinds.
This fragrant herb is used as a culinary flavouring and is also used in teas and supplements, which may give a variety of health advantages.
Ocimum basilicum is the scientific name for the basil that is frequently purchased for use in cooking (abbreviated O. basilicum).
There are several kinds of O. basilicum, including;
- Sweet basil: is the most extensively produced and popular basil, and it is well-known for its usage in Italian recipes. In supermarkets, it is commonly offered dry. It tastes like licorice and cloves.
Bush or Greek basil: has a strong perfume but a moderate flavour and can be used in place of sweet basil. It grows nicely in a container and forms a compact shrub with little leaves.
- Thai basil: This herb has an anise-licorice taste and is often used in Thai and Southeast Asian cooking.
- Cinnamon basil: is a Mexican plant. It has a cinnamon flavour and aroma. Typically accompanied with beans or spicy stir-fried veggies.
Lettuce basil has huge, wrinkled, delicate leaves that taste like licorice. It’s great in salads or mixed with tomatoes and olive oil.
Basil is not just a well-known folk treatment for diseases such as nausea and insect bites, but it is also frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and other holistic health systems.
Scientists are now researching the therapeutic properties of basil. Instead of entire leaves, basil extracts or essential oils, which contain concentrated concentrations of plant components, are often examined.
Potential Benefits of Sweet Basil
The following is an overview of the possible advantages of sweet basil extracts, based mostly on rodent and test-tube research. It is unknown if the same outcomes would occur in humans.
- Reduce memory loss caused by stress and age
- Reducing depression caused by persistent stress
- Reduce stroke damage and aid recovery, whether administered before or immediately following a stroke
- Enhance fasting blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels
- Lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients
- Similar to aspirin, it relaxes blood vessels and thins the blood
- Prevent ulcers by protecting your gut from the effects of aspirin
- Prevent some malignancies, including as breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer
- When breathed as aromatherapy, it increases mental alertness.
- Basil adds flavour to tomato meals, salads, zucchini, eggplant, meat spices, stuffing, soups, and sauces, among other things.
- Pesto, a creamy, green sauce, is one of basil’s most popular applications. Crushed basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts are usual ingredients, while dairy-free variations are available. Make it into a dip or sandwich spread.
- Basil blends well with garlic, marjoram, mustard, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, and sage
- If you have fresh basil, remove only the leaves and discard the stem. It’s better to add fresh basil at the end of the cooking process because heat can dull the flavour and vivid green colour.
- If a recipe asks for fresh basil but you only have dried basil, use just 1/3 of the amount because dried basil is more concentrated.