What is Basil?
Basil is a culinary herb belonging to the mint (Lamiaceae) family. The herb is also known as great basil or Saint Joseph’s Wort. Its scientific name is “Ocimum basilicum”. It is used as in cooking and may have some health benefits. The plant is known as a “holy herb” in many parts of the world. As a culinary herb, Basil has its origins in Italian cuisine where it is used to create pesto sauce. Other cuisines that use Basil extensively are Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian. There are different types of basil with each type having its own unique taste and smell. Sweet basil possesses a strong clove scent while lime and lemon basil both possess a strong citrusy scent.
Benefits of Basil
Basil leaves contain many important health-benefiting phytonutrients that research has shown to have disease-preventing properties. Two of the active ingredients in Basil are orientin and vicenin. These phytonutrients have been shown to have antioxidant properties. Basil leaves also contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Basil is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carothene that are critical for optimal health. The consumption of foods and herbs with high levels of Vitamin A has been shown to lower rates of contracting lung and oral cavity cancers. In addition, basil contains other minerals such as potassium, copper, iron and magnesium that help to control heart rate and blood pressure and increase the level of hemoglobin in the blood.
Basil can also be used to make a tea which in good for the treatment of nausea.
How to Use Basil
Basil Tea – To make basil tea, use 1 tbsp. of dried basil and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it per serving. Tea from fresh basil calls for twice as much of the herb. Steep the tea for 30 minutes, or to taste. The long brewing time allows the hot water to extract more flavor from the basil.
NOTE: We highly recommend that before using any herbal medications you should consult your health care provider or medical doctor for professional advice.
Disclaimer: All herbs and spices listed on http://www.islandherbsandspices.com/ or sold for medical and household use only, again we advice that before using any HERBS for medical purposes, please consult your physician.