14 reasons to add basil to your diet and beauty regimen

Basil’s fresh and flavoursome aroma is popular, but many don’t know the health benefits you’re reaping when incorporating this herb into your meals. Best part: it grows very easily.

Laura Caseley shared these 14 different ways that basil effects your health:

Soothes headaches

Basil works as a low-level muscle relaxant, so it’s great for soothing headaches. The simplest way to calm an aching head is to steep some fresh basil leaves in boiling water for a few minutes and sip.

You can also just pop a leaf into your mouth and chew if you like a stronger flavour.

Soothes an upset stomach

If your stomach is feeling off, try adding some basil to your next dish. It will soothe your stomach and help you not feel that heavy, over-full feeling.

If your stomach is upset to the point of not wanting to eat anything, try drinking half a teaspoon of dried basil in water.

Strengthens kidney function

To boost your kidneys’ health and function, munch on five or six fresh basil leaves every day on an empty stomach.

People with kidney stones have also reported that drinking basil juice and honey regularly can help with the passing of stones.

It’s great for cold season

Basil is great for boosting your immune system, which is a must when the weather starts changing.

Studies have shown that basil’s chemical makeup boosts your body’s production of antibodies, which fight off infection, by up to 20 percent.

Fights blemishes

Basil oil is great for combating breakouts and blemishes, and you can use basil to make a skin toner right at home. The herb is rich in antiseptic and disinfectant properties that kill off acne-causing bacteria.

Simply boil a handful of fresh basil leaves in a cup of water for about 10 minutes, and then skim out the leaves and let the liquid cool.

Dip a cotton ball into the cooled liquid and dab on your breakout areas. Wait about 10 minutes, and gently rinse. Repeat every day for clear skin.

Relieves PMS symptoms

If you suffer from cramps, bloating or other menstruation-related discomforts, add a bit more basil to your diet during that time of the month.

Why? Basil is rich in iron, which is important during PMS. Add chopped fresh basil to salads, sandwiches and pasta. It even works well with sweet flavors.

Try adding some slivers to pineapple slices, which help reduce bloating.

Improves eyesight

Basil is also rich in vitamin A, which is crucial in eye health. One hundred grams of fresh basil is enough to cover your recommended daily dose of vitamin A, in fact.

Fresh basil juice can ease eye soreness and night blindness, both of which are usually caused by vitamin A deficiencies.

Reduces overall inflammation

Inflammation of the body’s tissues is the source of many, many ailments, aches, and pains.

Basil’s oil is full of eugenol, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Eugenol is also found in cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and celery.

Eating basil regularly can help with inflammation issues, including rheumatoid arthritis and some bowel conditions.

Clears a congested throat

Many cough syrups include basil, or the chemicals found in basil, in their ingredients. Its chemical makeup helps mucus in your body move more easily, clearing up congestion in the respiratory system and throat.

Try boiling five cloves and eight fresh basil leaves in a cup of water for 10 minutes, then sipping the liquid to relieve coughs and sore throats.

Helps reduce fever

In Southeast Asia, basil teas were traditionally used to treat malaria and dengue fever.

The leaves’ germicidal and disinfectant properties are great for killing bacteria throughout the body, and can help reduce fevers.

Keeps the circulatory system strong

Basil is rich in vitamin A, iron, and magnesium, among many other nutrients, that are great for circulation, reducing cholesterol oxidation, and preventing free radical damage.

Its properties as a mild muscle relaxer also facilitate blood flow, which helps with the relief of minor aches and pains, too.

It’s full of antioxidants

Antioxidants help pretty much everything in your body, but their effects are most clearly seen on the outside.

Making sure your body gets enough antioxidants means you’ll get to appreciate glowing skin and bright eyes, among other things, and after a long enough time, you might notice that signs of aging slow, too!

Soothes an itchy scalp

Basil is great for alleviating an itchy scalp, as well as keeping the skin and hair healthy. Basil oil can be used as a scalp rub (dilute it with some olive or coconut oil), or you can add mashed-up fresh basil leaves to a hair oil you may already own.

It has a cooling effect on the scalp, reduces itchiness, and can even promote hair growth.

It’s all-around calming

Basil, especially holy basil (the kind used in Southeast Asian cooking) is full of phytochemicals that, studies suggest, lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

To calm yourself, try sipping basil tea, hot or iced. You can use basil alone, or try adding it to other flavors of herbal tea for some interesting combinations. We recommend combining basil and rose!

 

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(Comments posted on this issue may be used for publication in the Sun)

  AUTHOR
Holly Konig
Journalist

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