The Health Benefits of Basil

December 13th, 2015 by Dr. Keith Nemec

Basil, or otherwise known as Saint Joseph’s Wort, is a herb that belongs to the mint family.   Purdue University researchers revealed a study that basil “contains a wide range of essential oils rich in phenolic compounds and wide array of other natural products including polyphenols such as flavonoids and anthocyanins.”  Basil has elevated amounts of (E)-beta-caryophyllene, which, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology research found useful in the treatment of arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Several studies have indicated that basil has been used in the reduction of swelling and that it can be helpful in the prevention of aging.  Basil has also been effective at removing molecules and aiding the prevention of damage caused by free radicals in brain, heart and liver. Basil has been used in association with head colds, intestinal digestion, stomach spasms and or loss of appetite, kidney conditions and fluid retention.  Basil has also been used for parasitic infections and in the treatment of insect and snake bites.  Basil increases blood circulation and is rich in antioxidants, and also contains vitamin A, C, K, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.  Basil also contains Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Copper, Riboflavin, Choline, Thiamin, Niacin, Folate, Manganese, Omega 3 fats and Zinc.   Basils Vitamin A content can aid in eyesight especially those that are low in Vitamin A, as lower levels are known to decrease evening eyesight.  Basil contains lutein and zeaxanthin which aid in the prevention of eye damage.  Basil’s Vitamin K is important for the proteins are that used in healthy tissue growth which would include bone, cartilage, lung and stomach tissues.  Vitamin K aids in assisting the body from blood clots and aids in the prevention of abnormal bruising.

Basil is also used in the protection of unwanted bacterial growth.  Basil’s essential oil contains antimicrobial properties which would be effective on Helicobacter pylori.  Basil is also effective for the growth restriction of Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterocolitica and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  Basil is not as strong as amoxicillin, but there are possibility of using basil with other spices in areas were antibiotics are not readily available.  Studies have also indicated that basil can lower oxidative damage which would increase enzymes in one’s system and also aid women with breast cancer.  Basil also benefits  hepatitis.

The flavonoids which are in basil, Orientin and Vicenare have shown to protect the cell structures and chromosomes from radiation damage.

In summary:

Basil is natural medicine that has anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and prevents DNA damage. It not only has a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals but also powerful phytochemicals that help your brain, heart liver and kidneys as well as aids in digestion. Basil boosts your immune system and helps your eyesight that tastes good and is good for you so blend it with some cucumber and fresh squeezed lime for a light salad dressing and if you want more creamy add an avocado. If you want to give it a little kick add a jalapeno pepper to it. Get away from store bought salad dressings and make them yourself fresh and nutritious and quite a boast to your health. God’s medicine is always the best.

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