If you cook much of anything, you probably have dried basil in your kitchen. Basil is practically a staple when it comes to seasoning food – especially any food that includes tomatoes or tomato sauce, or any traditional Italian foods. While basil definitely adds flavor, did you know that it is also giving you numerous health benefits?
The General Health Benefits of Consuming Basil
Basil contains flavonoids, which in turn create antioxidants. These are essential in reducing and combating free radicals that cause cancer. Basil is also full of vitamin A and Magnesium. Magnesium is important for protecting the heart. Basil can also limit the growth of bacteria inside and outside of the body, including bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Additionally, it can help to essentially kill off any existing bacteria that are present on the food before you consume it.
Basil also has anti-inflammatory properties, for use inside and outside of the body. These properties help to block the enzyme cyclooxyganase, which is the same enzyme that Ibuprofen blocks. If you have arthritis, you need to consume more basil. Basil has also been known to help with a variety of respiratory problems, such as Asthma, colds, and bronchitis. Basil can also help to calm motion sickness, and in some cases, nausea.
The Health Benefits of a Basil Tincture
One of the most effective uses of basil for health purposes is not to include it in food. Instead, the healthiest way to use basil is to make a tincture, but this takes approximately fifteen days. To make a tincture, use 20 grams of minced or crushed basil with 100 milliliters of alcohol, kept at room temperature. Leave the mixture for fifteen days and then filter the mixture into a bottle that will seal tightly. Mix one teaspoon of the tincture with a glass of water and drink it three times each day, or add it to a compress for external use.
The Health Benefits of a Basil Tea
While tinctures are more beneficial than any other form of use for basil, you can also use it to brew a tea. Use about two teaspoons of shredded basil leaves and boil it in about 250 milliliters of water. Allow it to infuse for about two minutes, and then drink the tea while it is still hot or warm. It is especially beneficial to consume the tea after each meal. You can sweeten the tea with honey if you prefer.