Basil has round, often pointed leaves that look similar to peppermint. This herb is highly fragrant, and its leaves are often used to add seasoning to different food dishes. From relieving stress to clearing blemishes on your skin and promoting heart health, this herb is packed with some serious health benefits! If basil isn’t a staple ingredient in your home, check out these reasons why it should be.
1. Basil Protects DNA and Has Antibacterial Properties
Basil contains active flavonoids which protect the body’s cells. Orientin and vicenin are two water-soluble flavonoids in basil that have been shown to protect cell structures and chromosomes from radiation- and oxygen-based damage. The anti-bacterial properties of basil are attributed to its oils, which have been shown to restrict the growth of numerous bacteria including listera, staphylococcus and E. coli, among others.
2. Basil Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
A component of basil’s oils known as eugenol has been shown to block the activity of an enzyme in the body called cyclooxygenase, the same enzyme that many anti-inflammatory medications work to inhibit. The anti-inflammatory effects of basil allow it to provide healing benefits, as well as relief from symptoms in those suffering from inflammatory health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Basil Contains Nutrients Essential for Cardiovascular Health
Basil is a good natural source of Vitamin A, which contains beta-carotene and powerful antioxidants which help to protect the cells that form the lining of the blood vessels against damage from free radicals. These nutrients prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood stream, helping the body to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Basil also contains magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health by relaxing the muscles and blood vessels to improve blood flow. Not only does this herb help improve cardiovascular health, but by lowering cholesterol levels and blood glucose, it can help protect against diabetes.
What Else Can Basil Do?
1. Basil Can Erase Blemishes
Basil helps to combat the bacteria that causes breakouts. Boil a handful of fresh basil leaves in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes and let it cool. Use a cotton ball to pat the mixture onto your breakout zones and leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse with water.
2. Basil Can Relieve Stress
Holy Basil contains phytochemicals which studies suggest may lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The aroma of basil is also thought to elevate mood. If you’re feeling tense, add some basil to your water or iced tea.
3. Basil Replenishes Iron
If you’re looking for a way to incorporate more iron into your body, try basil. Especially when menstruating, basil can help the body replenish some of the iron lost. For a treat that combats bloating, try some sliced basil over chopped pineapple.
4. Basil Can Make Your Skin Glow
Finely chop or crush fresh basil leaves and mix them with lemon juice, then use the mixture on your face to even out your skin tone and disinfect acne-prone or oily skin.