Contributor: Saffron & Sage
Photographer: Taylor Balding
There are many varieties of basil, but sweet basil is a popular herb used in a number of recipes and may be best known for its prevalence in Italian dishes. In Ayurvedic medicine, holy basil is often used to maintain respiratory health and can be grown in the home to reduce environmental toxins. Although not all basils are used medicinally, both sweet and holy basil can be used to treat a variety of common ailments.
The Health Benefits of Basil
The antimicrobial properties of basil are perfect for decreasing the appearance of blemishes. In addition to these cleansing abilities, basil’s antioxidant content helps prevent signs of aging to keep skin looking young and glowing.
Along with many herbs in the peppermint family, basil is an excellent stress reliever. Holy basil is particularly useful for stress relief because it works as an adaptogen, allowing our bodies to respond to stressors to the best of their ability.
Keep a Happy Gut
Remedy indigestion and constipation with basil oil. Fresh basil also has the ability to help eliminate symptoms associated with menstruation thanks to its high iron content.
Enjoy your favorite basil tea or simply chew on fresh leaves to combat bad breath.
Boost Heart Health
Basil is a great source of vitamin A and magnesium, both of which help prevent the occurrence of stroke and heart attack. Vitamin A battles free radical damage and magnesium improves blood flow.
Along with other holistic ways to keep your eyes healthy, a yellow flavonoid carotenoid found in basil helps filter harmful UV rays from reaching the retina and protects from macular degeneration.
How to Use Basil in Your Kitchen
Add fresh basil to soups, stews and pasta dishes for additional flavor. Sprinkle pineapple or cantaloupe with basil for added nutrients.
Our Favorite Use: Basil pesto is delicious and easy to make. Freeze small batches to preserve this summer flavor for year-round use.