BASIL called as mother of medicine in nature. It is native to India. It is been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. It is a half hardy annual plant which is best known as culinary herb mainly featured in Italian cuisines. It has also played a major role in Southeast Asian cuisines of Indonesia, Thai, Maley, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Taiwan. Some basil benefits include antioxidants, antiviral and antimicrobial properties used for treating cancer. There are various varities of Basil that are grown:
Basil benefits for health, skin and hair (tulsi)
etc…It is most commonly used fresh in cooked recipe and generally added at the last moment as cooking will destroy the flavour of basil. Seeds of various basil are soaked in water to make it gelatinous and are used in Asian drinks and dessert such as faluda, sherbet.
It has been widely used for its medicinal properties in Ayurveda. The most notable basil is the HOLY basil which in Hindi known as TULSI grown in every home of India and Nepal. Tulsi is sensitive to cold temperature and best grown in hot and dry conditions. In India, (tulsi) is placed in the mouth of the dying person to ensure they reach God. In Europe, basil is placed in the hands of the dead to ensure a safe journey.
The ancient Egyptians and ancient greeks believed it would open the gates of heaven for a person passing on.. Tulsi plant is worshipped by the Hindus in the morning. Tulsi is used as a supplementary treatment of stress, asthma and diabetes in India.
Health benefits of basil
Due to excellent healing properties, basil benefits the stomach and facilitate copious perspiration. They are effective in removing catarrh matter (1) and phlegm (2) from the bronchial tube. Tulsi leaves have antiseptic properties and are hence, used in the treatment of ulcers, cuts and wounds. They help in reducing the pain caused by measles, chicken pox and small pox. A mixture of tulsi leaves juice and coconut oil can be applied on cuts and wounds to give relief .
Heal Stings and Bites
Chewing a tulsi leaf or applying the juice of tulsi leaves on the area stung or bitten by an insect will help relieve the pain.
Relieve Stress and Sharpen the Mind
Basil benefits are considered as an ‘adaptogen’ (3) or anti-stress agent. Chewing around 12 basil leaves twice a day on a regular basis purifies your blood, prevents stress and develops a sharp mind.
Beneficial in Cancer
Having a mixture of 10 grams of juice of tulsi leaves in 20-30 grams fresh curd or 2-3 spoons of honey religiously is likely to cure cancer.
Relief from Frequent Vomiting
If you are suffering from frequent vomiting, you can try having a mixture of tulsi leaves juice, ginger juice and honey for immediate relief.
Beneficial for Children
The juice of basil leaves benefits in case of common paediatric (4) such as cough, cold, diarrhea and vomiting. Basil leaves taken with saffron hasten the appearance of chicken pox pustules. Children experiencing loose motion at the time of tooth eruption can be given a mixture of pomegranate juice and powder of dried basil leaves for quick relief.
Treatment of Sore Throat
A concoction made by boiling tulsi leaves in water can be taken as a drink or used for gargling to get relief from sore throat.
Treatment of Fever
Being rich in phytonutrients and healing oil, basil benefits in curing malarial and dengue fevers. Tender basil leaves boiled with tea should be given to the patient. In case of very high fever, basil leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in ½ litre of water mixed with sugar and milk should be given to the patient at an interval of 3 hours to bring down the temperatures. Basil leaves form good germicidal and a natural disinfectant that protects the body against all types of viral and bacterial infections.
Treatment of Common Cold and Cough
Basil leaves are effective in alleviating coughing and colds. Chewing fresh leaves or drinking a tea of dried basil leaves can calm coughing and relieve cold and flu. their leaves are used as an ingredient in cough syrups and expectorants and help to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma.
Good for Heart
Basil leaves purify the blood by removing toxins. tulsi leaf tea helps in controlling blood pressure. Basil leaves contain an antioxidant eugenol (5) that helps in reducing cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and other cardiac diseases.
Treatment of Respiratory Disorders
A decoction of their leaves with honey and ginger is a natural remedy for respiratory disorders like bronchitis, asthma, cough and cold. A decoction made by boiling their leaves and cloves in half a liter of water mixed with salt gives immediate relief in case of influenza.
Relief from Headache
Health benefits of Basil leaves are considered a great medicine for headache. A facial steam of dried tulsi leaf is effective in alleviating headache. For this purpose, add a tbsp of dried basil leaves to 2 cups of water in a large pot. Covering your head with towel, carefully lean over the pot and breathe in the steam for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also apply pounded basil leaves mixed in sandalwood paste on your forehead to get relief from heat and headache as well as cooling effect in general.
Helpful in Quitting Smoking
Chain smokers can try chewing basil leaves to get rid of their addiction. These can be more beneficial than nicotine patches, flavoured gum or even plain candy to curb the urge. While the juice has a cooling effect on your throat, the chewing will distract you and the antioxidants will repair the damage caused due to years of smoking.
Help to Get Rid of Bad Breath
Bad breath can be detrimental to your self-confidence. Tulsi leaves can be a healthy substitute to special toothpastes and chewing gums to ward off bad breath. You can chew a handful of basil leaves to prevent bad breath.
Beneficial for Eyes
Being rich in vitamin A, tulsi leaves play an important role in eye health. You can soak a few basil leaves in water and wash your eyes with them every morning and before going to bed to prevent conjunctivitis, swelling, inflammations, boils and other infections. Basil benefits and act as relaxants for your eyes to sooth stress induced fine lines. Chewing a couple of basil leaves helps to ward off eye problems caused by free radicals such as vision degeneration (6), cataracts and glaucoma. tulsi leaves juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night blindness.
Aid in Weight Loss and Curb Laziness
Benefits of basil leaves for weight loss taken with home-made fresh curd help in reducing excess weight and fight laziness by renewing your energy levels and facilitating new blood cells formation.
Basil leaves can be dried in the sun, powdered and used for brushing teeth or mixed with mustard oil to be used as toothpaste for maintaining dental health and massaging the gums. It is also effective in curing pyorrhea and other teeth disorders. The anti-bacterial agents in leaves prevent bacteria build up whereas the antioxidants ensure clean plaque free teeth.
Treatment of Kidney stones
The juice of tulsi leaves taken with honey regularly for 6 months will expel kidney stones from the urinary tract.
Benefits of basil leaves for skin
As far as skincare is concerned, basil leaves are an excellent skin rejuvenator which have the potential to ward off skin diseases, thus providing you with a clearer and healthier skin. Whether eaten raw or applied as paste, leaves offer a host of benefits for your skin.
Prevention of Acne and Pimples
Basil leaves benefits prevent the outburst of acne and pimples as they purify your blood by removing toxins. They contain anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents and you can apply a paste of these leaves mixed with sandalwood paste, neem paste or rose water to prevent inflammation.
Beneficial for Facial Skin
Rubbing dried basil leaves on your face improves your facial skin in many ways, giving it a younger and fresher appearance. Applying a paste of basil leaves on your face and neck improves your skin tone.
Prevention of Blackheads
Basil leaves also prevent the appearance of blackheads. Wet the top side of the tulsi and place one leaf on each side of your nose for 5 minutes. After this take it off and wash your face.
Treatment of Skin Infections and Ringworms
Due to their anti-bacterial, anti-biotic and anti-fungal properties, tulsi leaves can restrict the growth of bacterium like E coli and B anthraces (7) which cause skin infections. A concoction prepared by grinding and boiling 200-250 grams of basil leaves with equal quantity of sesame seed oil can be applied on the skin to cure itching. A mixture of ground tulsi leaves and lemon juice can be applied on the skin to treat ringworm.
Treatment of Vitiligo
Regular intake of basil leaves has the potential to cure ‘vitiligo’, a disease characterized by white patches on the skin.
Basil benefits for hair
Strengthen the Hair Shaft
If you are suffering from brittle hair or hair thinning, you can consider basil benefits in strengthening the hair shaft.
Rejuvenate Hair Follicles
Basil leaves benefits help in rejuvenating and producing healthy hair by stimulating the hair follicles.
Prevention of Damage by Radiation
Basil leaves have antioxidant properties. They contain the flavonoids, orientin and vicenin (8) that protect the chromosomes and cell structures from oxidation, thus preventing cell ageing and death and providing protection against radiation damage
Prevention of Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common problem which can occur due to itchiness and sweatiness of scalp. You can make a paste of tulsi leaves and add it to your hair oil. Applying this oil on your scalp will keep your scalp cool, reduce itchiness and promote hair growth by improving circulation in your scalp.
Treatment of Grey Hair
For this purpose, soak dried tulsi leaves powder and amla (gooseberry) powder in water overnight and wash your hair with it after straining it the next morning. This prevents graying of hair as well as hair fall.