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April 6, 2010
Basil or Holy Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a fragrant herb, a relative of peppermint, which is widely used in culinary, especially for sauces, soups and salads. The plants originates from India, but received its name after a Greek word “basileus” meaning “king”. Basil health benefits are numerous, and for many nations this herb symbolizes love. One of the prominent herbalists an botanists, Nicholas Culpeper, mentioned basil in his famous fundamental work, the Complete Herbal (published in 1653) as one of the most powerful natural aphrodisiac which has great effects on women.
Basil is valued for its high content of many nutrients and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese, vitamins A, C and K, dietary fiber and other useful components. Also, basil is a source of volatile oils like eugenol, cineole, estragole, limonene, linalool, myrcene, sabinene and others. These oils have very strong anti-bacterial properties and can be effectively used for killing many bacterial infections, such as enterococcus, staphylococcus, and so on.
However, very high content of flavonoids is one of the most important health benefits of basil linked to protecting our body cells from damage and blocking aging processes in the tissues. This herb is also known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties and it is especially recommended to those people who suffer from arthritis as eugenol inhibits production of an enzyme which causes swelling. Basil health benefits also include positive effects on heart and cardio-vascular system: in particular, this herbal remedy can improve blood circulation by relaxing vessels and preventing clots formation in arteries.
Basil teas and tinctures are used for treatment of throat infections, influenza, cold, cough, asthma and other various respiratory system disorders. In particular, very effective herbal remedies can be made by combining basil with ginger and honey. Basil herbal tea can ease the symptoms of urinary infections, colics, anorexia, gastric ulcers and diarrhea. Finally, valuable health benefits of basil also include good effects when treating such problems as skin rushes, eczema, psoriasis, acne, wounds, insect bites and so on.
Basil essential oil can be used in aromatherapy to calm down tension, nervousness, migraines and other negative effects of stresses. It can effectively treat depressions and help to focus and concentrate. This oil is recommended to those who suffer from cold, bronchitis and whooping cough. In terms of traditional Ayurvedic approach, basil can be used to treat such diseases and ailments as allergies, diabetes and blood sugar problems, impotence, and even infertility. Do not forget to talk to your health care specialist before starting any treatment involving basil and basil products.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.