Basil: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information
Basil – Tulsi
The king of herbs basil herb is one of the ancient and popular herbal plants brimming with notable health-benefiting phytonutrients.
Basil belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, in the genus: Ocimum. Its scientific name is "Ocimum basilicum."
Basil BenefitsThe beautiful green leaves of Basil- Tulsi has numerous health benefits. The health benefits of basil, also known as tulsi, include oral care, relief from respiratory disorders, as well as treatment of fever, asthma, lung disorders,heart diseases and stress. Basil, which has the scientific name Ocimum Sanctum, is undoubtedly one of the best medicinal herb that has been discovered. It has endless miraculous and medicinal values.
A few leaves dropped in drinking water or foods can purify it and can kill germs within it as well. Even smelling it or keeping it planted in a pot indoors can protect the whole family from infections, coughs, colds and other viral infections.
Nutritious Value And Benefits of Basil Herb - Tulsi
- Basil leaves hold many notable plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
- Basil herb contains many polyphenolic flavonoids like orientin and vicenin. These compounds were tested in-vitro laboratory for their possible anti-oxidant protection against radiation-induced lipid per-oxidation in mouse liver.
- Basil leaves compose of several health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
- The herb is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. Nonetheless, it is one of the finest sources of many essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are required for optimum health.
- Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
- Zea-xanthin, a yellow flavonoid carotenoid compound, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it found to filter harmful UV rays from reaching the retina. Studies suggest that common herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are rich in zea-xanthin anti-oxidant help to protect from age-related macular disease (AMRD), especially in the elderly.
- 100 g of fresh herb basil leaves contain astoundingly 5275 mg or 175% of daily required doses of vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucusa and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A has been found to help the body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Vitamin K in basil is essential for production of clotting factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening and mineralization.
- Basil herb contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron. It fresh leaves carry 3.17 mg/100 g (about 26% of RDA) of iron. Iron, being a component of
Health Benefits of Basil - Tulsi
The health benefits of tulsi include the following:
1. Basil Cures Fever
One of the main benefits of basil is that it cures fever, as the miraculous healing properties of Basil come mainly from its essential oils and the phytonutrients contained in it. Basil is an excellent antibiotic, germicidal, fungicidal and disinfectant agent and very efficiently protects our body from all sorts of bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Fever is mainly caused due to infections from protozoa (malaria), bacteria (typhoid), viruses (flu) and even allergic substances and fungus. Fever is not actually an ailment in itself. It is just a symptom which shows that our body is fighting against less visible infections. The tremendous disinfectant, germicidal and fungicidal properties of tulsi destroys all those pathogens discussed above and heals the resulting fever.
2. Treats Respiratory Disorders
Benefits of basil also include treating respiratory disorders. As Basil - Tulsi, along with curing viral, bacterial and fungal infections of the respiratory system, gives miraculous relief in congestion due to the presence of components like Camphene, Eugenol and Cineole in its essential oils. It is very effective in curing almost all varieties of respiratory disorders including bronchitis, both chronic and acute.
3. Treats Asthma
Basil - Tulsi is very beneficial in the treatment of asthma, since it relieves congestion and facilitates smoother breathing. The phytonutrients and essential oils, along with the other minerals in it, help cure some of the underlying causes of asthma as well.
4. Cures Lung Disorders
Another benefit of basil is that it cures lung disorders. As the compounds like vitamin-C, Camphene, Eugenol and Cineole that are present in the essential oils of tulsi do not only cure the infections in the lungs, but also cure congestion of the lungs. Furthermore, they are found to be effective in healing the damages caused to the lungs due to smoking, tuberculosis, and lung cancer. It also helps to cure tuberculosis due to its antibiotic properties.
5. Improves Heart Health
One of the great health benefits of basil is that it improves heart health. Basil contains vitamin-C and other antioxidants such as eugenol, which protect the heart from the harmful effects of free radicals. Additionally, eugenol is very beneficial in reducing the cholesterol levels within the blood.
6. Relives Stress
Basil is a very good stress releasing agent. Vitamin-C and other antioxidants in Basil, apart from repairing damages done by free radicals, also minimize the stress caused by these oxidants. They soothe the nerves, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and thus reduce stress. One such component is Camphene. Potassium also reduces blood pressure-related stress by replacing sodium and loosening the tense blood vessels.
7. Improves Oral Health
Basil - Tulsi is an excellent mouth freshener and oral disinfectant and its freshness lasts for a very long time. Basil destroys more than 99% of the germs and bacteria in the mouth and this effect can last all day. It also cures ulcers in the mouth. Finally, it is also known to help inhibit the growth of oral cancer which can be caused by chewing tobacco.
8. Basil And Dental Health
Basil destroys the bacteria that are responsible for dental cavities, plaque, tartar, and bad breath, while also protecting the teeth. It also has astringent properties which make the gums hold the teeth tighter, thereby keeping them from falling. However, tulsi also has certain compounds like mercury, which has rich germicidal properties that can actually be harmful for the teeth if kept in direct contact for too long. Therefore, it is advised to avoid chewing these leaves. It is actually discussed in holy books and Ayurvedic teachings that chewing these leaves robs them of their holiness. However, it has no harm if you do not chew it or consume its decoction.
9. Maintains Kidney Health
Basil - Tulsi, being a detoxifier and a mild diuretic, helps to reduce the uric acid level in the body, which is the main culprit as far as kidney stones are concerned. It also helps to clean out the kidneys through increased frequency of urination. Acetic acid and certain components in tulsi essential oils also facilitate dissolution of the stones. Finally, it has pain-killer effects and help bear the pain from kidney stones as they pass.
10. Improves Skin Health
Basil is also used for skin health and care. Try taking a daily bath with a decoction of Basil mixed with your bathwater, washing your face with it, or simply applying the paste of its leaves on an infected area of the skin in case of skin diseases. You can also just consume tulsi leaves, and still manage to keep your skin free from all infections. You may not believe this, but rubbing Basil leaves or its extracted oils on the body keeps mosquitoes and other insects away. It cures skin disorders both internally and externally, without any side effects. This property mainly comes from its essential oils, which are highly antibiotic, disinfectant, antibacterial and antifungal in nature. External application on the skin also removes extra oil from the skin surface. Camphene in it also gives a soothing, cooling effect.
11. Relieves Headache:
Basil is good in releasing headaches. Headaches caused due to migraines, sinus pressure, cough and cold, or high blood pressure can be effectively controlled by the use of a single tulsi serving. Camphene, Eugenol, Cineol, Carvacrol and Methyl-Chavicol have excellent analgesic, sedative, anticongestive and disinfectant properties.
12. Anti-Aging Properties:
Basil has anti aging properties. Vitamin-C, A, phytonutrients and the essential oils in Basil are excellent antioxidants and protect the body from nearly all the damage caused by free radicals in the body, which are hazardous byproducts of cellular metabolism that are responsible for a wide swath of diseases, including cancer. In Ayurveda, it is considered as a tonic to retain youth and avoid premature aging.
13. Boosts Immunity System:
Basil is so good for boosting up the immune system that it is hard to describe in words. It protects against nearly all infections from viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. Recent studies show that it is also helpful in inhibiting the growth of HIV and carcinogenic cells.
14. Eye Health:
Basil improves eye health. Wash your eyes daily with a few leaves of basil soaked in water and you will be free from conjunctivitis, boils and many other problems of the eyes which are caused due to viral, bacterial or fungal infections. It also soothes eye inflammation and reduces stress.
Regular consumption can protect your eyes from much of the damage done by the free radicals, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, vision defects, and opthalmia, due to the high antioxidant content of its essential oils, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
15. Fights Cancer
Basil not only works as a natural cancer treatment, but it prevents it. Research shows that people who regularly consume basil are less likely to be immune-compromised and less susceptible to developing cancer cells.
The phytochemicals in basil - tulsi prevent chemical-induced lung, liver, oral and skin cancers because they increase antioxidant activity, alter healthy gene expressions, induce cancer cell death, and prevent blood vessel growth contributing to cell growth and stop metastasis, which is the spread of cancer from one organ to another.
Tulsi also protects your body from radiation poisoning and heals damage from radiation treatment. It selectively protects the normal tissues against the destructive effects of radiation. Laboratory studies published in Alternative Medicine Review show that tulsi protects against toxic chemical-induced injury by increasing the body’s levels of antioxidant molecules, such as glutathione, and enhancing the activity of antioxidant enzymes. These enzymes protect cellular organelles and membranes by fighting free radical damage caused by a lack of oxygen and other toxic agents.
16. Balances Hormones
Basil - Tulsi has the amazing ability to regulate cortisol levels and keep hormone levels balanced naturally. Elevated cortisol levels can be dangerous; it’s commonly known as the stress hormone, and it can have a major impact on our learning, memory, immune function, bone density, weight gain and heart disease. Basil has a physical effect on the body and mental benefits as well. By drinking tulsi - basil tea or adding basil to your meals, you calm your system and keep your body running smoothly.
Other Benefits Of Basil:
- It can protect your body from radiation poisoning and also heal and damages from that sort of condition.
- It can be given after surgery to help heal wounds quickly and also to protect those healing areas from infections.
- It acts as a vaccine against pox if consumed regularly.
- It is anticarcinogenic and found to be effective in healing nearly all types of cancer and tumors.
- Being an expectorant is one of the most prized properties of Basil, making it very efficient in curing coughs and colds.
- It is beneficial in reducing labor pain, destroying rabies germs, treating gastroenteritis, cholera, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rheumatism, nausea, septic, urinary and genital infections, destroying worms in the stomach.
- Furthermore, its dried leaves can be mixed with food grains to be used as an insect repellant.
Apart from these many functions, more alternative applications and uses of this truly miraculous plant are always being discovered or experimented with.