The benefits of basil leaves are quite a lot. Here are some you may not have known.
Basil is a flavorful, leafy green herb that originated in Asia and Africa.
Basil leaves are used in a variety of culinary preparations. In addition to the flavour, the culinary herb is said to preserve and enhance the properties of the food.
Benefits of eating basil
Basil contains vitamins and minerals and several antioxidants, and scientists are studying the potential benefits of extracts or essential oils of basil. Preliminary research suggests that it may:
- Reduce memory loss associated with stress and aging
- Reduce depression related to chronic stress
- Help fight free radicals in the body that produce cell damage that can lead to several conditions such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.
- Control blood sugar levels.
- Relax blood vessels and thin your blood, similar to aspirin
- Inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause dental decay.
- Prevent heart disease as the eugenol in basil can block calcium channels, which may help to lower blood pressure and its essential oils can lower your cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Improves mental health as its compounds can help alleviate anxiety and depression and lower the risk of age-related memory loss.
- Reduce inflammation as essential oils present in basil –eugenol, linalool, and citronellol– can help to fight inflammation in the body.
- Prevent certain cancers, including of the breast, colon and pancreas
- Protect against infections because of its antibacterial properties.
Grown your own basil
You can grow basil anywhere with nighttime temperatures above 60℉ (15.5℃) for at least two months. Basil is sensitive to cold and likes sun exposure all day.
If you have a lot of fresh basil, you can dry the leaves and store them in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Avoid crumbling the leaves until you need them, as this helps retain their essential oils, aroma and flavor.
You can cultivate basil from a seed planted in dirt or a stem cut from another plant that you put in water until roots start to grow. Basil will flourish in a garden or patio pot that drains well.