A world famous culinary herb used in countless gourmet dishes to kick up flavor, texture, and aroma; basil (Ocimum basilicum) is an annual plant native to India and other Asian tropic regions. It’s most popular in Italian cuisine but is also used in other countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan, Laos, and many parts in the United States. Apart from being a highly versatile herb that complements almost any dish, there are more things to love about basil. One is its long list of benefits for the health, which you would surely want to take advantage of. Here are 15 of them.
Basil Health Benefit # 1 – Promotes cardiovascular health
On top of the list of basil’s health benefits involves your heart health. Being rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene and other types of carotenoids, basil doesn’t only protect against free radical damage but also inhibits these harmful substances from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood. Thus, cholesterol buildup, which can eventually lead to heart-harmful plaque along the arteries, can be avoided. It’s also packed with magnesium, which boosts the circulation of blood, relaxes blood vessels and muscles, and reduces risks of heart spasms, among many others.
Basil Health Benefit # 2 – Makes skin and hair healthier
Make your hair healthier and your skin suppler with essential oils from this herb. It’s an effective organic moisturizer that removes skin dryness, as well as resolve skin health problems like acne, psoriases, eczema, rashes, ringworm, and many more. As for the hair, it adds luster to an otherwise dull looking hair turning it into the crowning glory it’s supposed to be. To use it on your hair, mix two drops each of basil, lavender, and rosemary oils. Add a half ounce of jojoba oil and a little bit of almond oil. Massage the mixture onto your scalp gently with your fingertips. Let it stay for about half an hour. Rinse thoroughly with water, then use shampoo. Rinse again. Use this treatment plan two to three times a week. In less than six months, you’ll find your hair looking better than ever.
Basil Health Benefit # 3 – Prevents certain forms of cancer
Yes, you heard it right. Basil can actually help in the fight against the big C. Basil’s antioxidants protect the body against cellular damage caused by free radicals, thus combating various forms of cancer. A 2007 study released by the Journal of Medicinal Food revealed that basil’s efficacy on fighting oxidative stress that causes cancer was tested on rats. Over a five-day testing period, it was shown that basil inhibited the formation cancer-causing toxins. In another study that was published in the Taiwan Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2010, basil was found not only to lower cholesterol and boost immune function but also to fight cancer. The research conducted at the Chung Shan Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan discovered that the active component in basil called caffeic acid can be an effective prevention against cervical cancer.