Basil is one of the most popular herbs in the world. It is also known as Ocimum basilicum. Basil is native to Malaysia, India, Asia, and North Africa. In Asia, it is not only used for flavoring foods but as a medicine and religious purposes. Basil plays an important role in the Hindu sects.
There are over 30 types of basil, such as, Holy basil, Thai basil, Cinnamon basil, African blue basil, Lemon basil, Genovese basil, Siam Queen basil, Spicy Globe basil, and Sweet basil. Even though there are variety types of basils – they all have the same unique health giving phytonutrients, caroteniods, antioxidants orientin and vicenin, and volatile oils eugenol and apigemen.
Studies show that all the compounds of basil can help prevent and treat a wide variety of health conditions. This is very important because many people can turn to the Mother Nature’s “gift” to help fight their health than relying on a lot of medication and its side effects. It is up to us in opening our minds and palates to accept Mother Nature’s remedies and sit down with doctors on opening their minds in considering that natural foods are as powerful as pharmacial drugs. Sad in which it all comes down to money. Doctors need to step back and think what is important for his/her patient – health or money (pushing medicine drugs).
Basil is an excellent source of vitamins A, K, C, and manganese. It is known as an anti-inflammatory agent. Wow! This means it can help treat diseases in which inflammation plays a significant key role, such as, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Basil – “Garden of Youth” – delays aging
“Stress-Busting” - anti-stress effects, normalized levels of cortisol,
lower blood sugar, decreases creatine kinase, and stop adrenal
It has the potential therapeutic value in the treatment of a heart attack. Therefore, basil reduces harming blood fats- cholesterol and triglycerides.
Basil has a nice sweet aroma just like fresh flowers. It thrives in the nice warm sun and must be watered. As you can see above (picture) – my “Sweet Basil” grew so much and healthy as well. Last summer I had “reaped the benefits” once again. I took advantage of my sunny windowsills and backyard and grew some organic herbs, vegetables, and fruits. I have made homemade basil pesto an alternative to tomato sauce and created a healthier twist on pesto. I combined basil, fresh spinach, and fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary), garlic, extra virgin oil, Parmesan cheese, and fresh squeezed lemon juice (keeps pesto bright and green) in a blender- poured it over some whole grain pasta. Delicious!
Do not worry I will give you a step by step in future postings on how to make it.
Most important to remember – do not buy fresh basil leaves if it has black marks and wilted. Buy fresh dark green leaves and if stems are still attached you can put them in a cup of cold water –either leave it on your table counter or cover it with a ziploc bag place in fridge.
Better yet – purchase a basil plant – nursery, farmer’s market, Home Depot, supermarkets, or Wal-Mart. Your farmer’s market will have better deals on all herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables plants.
Reap those benefits and don’t miss out!