What is Basil – Troubleinthepeace

What is Basil?

Basil (Ocimum basilicum), also known as sweet basil, belongs to the mint family, grown for its fragrant leaves.

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Basil is a flavorful green leafy herb native to Asia and Africa. Widely grown as a kitchen herb. The leaves are used fresh or dried to flavor meats, fish, salads, and sauces; Basil tea is a stimulant.

Popular as a food spice, this aromatic herb is also used in teas and supplements that can provide a range of health benefits.

This article explains all you need to know about basil, its benefits, and uses.

Popular Basil varieties


The scientific name of basil commonly purchased for cooking is Ocimum basilicum (abbreviation O. basilicum ).

There are different types of O. basilicum, including:

Sweet Basil: Type basil Widely grown, most popular, famous for being used in Italian dishes. Usually sold dry in supermarkets. Has a licorice-clove flavor.Greek Basil: Has a strong aroma but mild flavor, so it can be substituted for sweet basil. Forms a compact bush with small leaves and grows well in a pot.Basil Thai: It has an anise-licorice flavor and is commonly used in Thai and Southeast Asian cuisines.Cinnamon basil: Sourced originally from Mexico. Has a cinnamon-like taste and scent. Usually served with spicy, sautéed beans or vegetables.Lettuce basil: Features large, wrinkled, soft leaves with a licorice-like flavor. Works well in salads or mixed with tomatoes and olive oil.

Basil commonly used in supplements and herbal teas is holy basil – sometimes called tulsi – which is O. tenuiflorum also called O. Sanctum . It is added to some Thai dishes because of its distinct taste.


Basil is most widely used for cooking, but many others – with slightly different flavor profiles – are available. The main type of basil for supplements and herbal teas is holy basil, which is a related but different species.

Nutritional ingredients in Basil

Since recipes call for a relatively small amount of basil, this herb contributes few vitamins and minerals in a typical diet.

Here are the most notable nutritional facts of 1 tablespoon (about 2 grams) of Basil:

Fresh leaves Dried leaves
Calories 0.6 5
Vitamin A 3% RDI 4% RDI
Vitamin K 13% RDI 43% RDI
Calcium 0.5% of RDI 4% RDI
Iron 0.5% of RDI 5% RDI
Manganese 1.5% RDI 3% RDI

Although dried basil is more concentrated in nutrients, you use less in recipes than fresh. Therefore, not a significant source of most nutrients – with the exception of vitamin K

Basil also provides beneficial plant compounds that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other health properties.

In addition, these compounds give basil its essence – or distinct aroma and flavor. That is why oils derived from basil and other plants are called essential oils.


Since basil is usually used in small amounts, the only significant nutrient it provides is vitamin K. Basil also provides plant compounds, which contribute to its aroma, taste, and health benefits. .

Basil’s Health Benefits

Basil is not only a popular folk remedy for ailments like nausea and bugs, but it is also widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and other holistic systems of medicine.

Today, scientists study the potential medicinal benefits of basil. Basil extract or essential oil, which provides a concentrated amount of the plant compound, is often tested instead of the whole leaf.

Test-tube or animal studies are often performed to determine if substances may be valuable for drug development and human testing.

Potential Benefits of Basil

Below is a summary of the potential benefits of sweet basil extract, based primarily on rat and test-tube studies. Whether the same results will occur in everyone is uncertain.

Preliminary research shows that sweet basil may:

Reduces stress-related memory loss and aging.Reduces chronic stress-related depression.Reduces stroke damage and aids recovery, whether given before or shortly after a stroke.Improvement fasting blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. Lowers blood pressure in people with hypertension. Relaxes blood vessels and thins your blood, similar to aspirin. Protects against aspirin’s damage to your gut you, especially preventing ulcers.Prevents some cancers, including breast, colon and pancreas. Increases mental alertness when inhaled as aromatherapy. Inhibits bacterial growth. bacteria that cause tooth decay. Improves food safety, such as if incorporated into food packaging by manufacturers. Provides an alternative to antibiotics for infectious diseases, including against antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Repels insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks.

Studies in rats typically give 100 extracts of 400 mg of basil per kilogram (220 II8880 mg per pound) of body weight. The appropriate human dose is unknown.

Benefits of Holy Basil

Holy Basil has a long history of use for many ailments, including many of those listed above. Although there are few human studies, their results are encouraging.

When 60 people with type 2 diabetes took 250 mg of holy basil extract along with their diabetes medication every day before breakfast and dinner for three months, they experienced an average 18 percent reduction in blood sugar compared to those with diabetes. drug users.

Additionally, in a study in 158 people with at least three symptoms of stress, taking 1,200 mg of holy basil extract daily for six weeks was 39% more effective at improving symptoms of overall stress than with placebo.

More human studies are needed to verify effectiveness and dosage.


Holy Basil has a long history of medicinal use. A few studies in people show benefits for blood sugar and stress, though more research is needed.

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How to grow and preserve basil

Although fresh basil gives a stronger flavor, dried basil is less expensive and more convenient. You can also buy basil frozen in recipe blocks in the freezer section of stores.

Basil is most common, but you can find other varieties at farmers markets or ethnic markets, such as Asian food stores. Alternately, try developing your own.

You can grow basil anywhere with nighttime temperatures above 15 degrees Celsius for at least two months. Basil is very sensitive to cold and likes to stay in the sun all day.

You can grow basil from a seed planted in the ground or cut a stem from another plant that you put in water until roots start to grow. Basil will thrive in a well-draining garden or indoor pot.

Harvest basil leaves as you need them, but don’t simply pluck them from your plant. To encourage proper growth, cut the stem downwards so that only two to four leaves remain on the plant.

Place fresh basil stalks in a pitcher with tap water to keep the leaves fresh for a few days. It’s debatable whether you should refrigerate fresh basil, as cold temperatures can discolor the leaves.

If you have plenty of fresh basil, you can dry the leaves and store them in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Avoid breaking the leaves until you need them, as this helps retain their essential oils, aroma, and flavor.


You can buy basil fresh, dried or frozen – although fresh basil tastes best. Try growing your own if you have at least a few months with warm nighttime temperatures. To keep it for a few days, place the stem in a jar with water.

Use Basil for cooking

Basil provides a zest for tomato dishes, salads, zucchini, eggplant, meat seasonings, stuffing, soups, sauces and more.

Pesto — a creamy green sauce — is one of the most common uses of basil. It is usually made with crushed basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts, although dairy-free options are also available. Try it as a dip or sandwich spread.

Basil adds other herbs and spices like garlic, marjoram, mustard, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, and sage.

If you have fresh basil, take only the leaves – not the stems. In general, it is best to add fresh basil at the last step of cooking because heat can reduce the flavor and bright green color.

If a recipe calls for fresh basil but you only dried it, use only 1/3 of the measurement, because dried is more concentrated.

If you’re cooking without a recipe, use the following amounts per 1 pound (450 grams) of food as a general guide:

Dried basil Clean basil
Vegetables, grains or legumes 1.5 teaspoons 2 tablespoons
Meat, poultry or fish 2 teaspoons 2.5 tablespoons
Baked goods 1.5 teaspoons 2 tablespoons


Basil enlivens many dishes, including pastas, salads, and sauces. If using fresh basil, add it towards the end of cooking as heat reduces its flavor and color. Use about 1/3 as much dry basil as fresh.

Basil side effects

Basil is generally safe when consumed in small amounts, but a few precautions are warranted.

Basil leaves are rich in vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting. High drug intake can interfere with blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin.

If you’re taking blood thinners, aim to consume the right amount of vitamin K daily so your doctor can adjust your medication. Eating foods made with a lot of basil — such as pesto — can make this difficult.

By contrast, basil extracts — such as those found in supplements — can thin your blood, leading to problems if you have a bleeding disorder or an upcoming surgery.

Additionally, people taking blood pressure-lowering or diabetes medications should use caution when supplementing with basil because they can lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Your doctor may need to reduce the dose of your medicine.

Avoid holy basil if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Animal studies show that holy basil supplements can negatively affect sperm and trigger contractions during pregnancy. Risks during breastfeeding are unknown.

Although basil allergy is rare, a few cases have been observed in people who react to pesto.


Basil is generally safe when eaten in small amounts, but certain health conditions and medications require caution. Holy basil supplements should be avoided by couples who want to get pregnant.


Basil has many varieties. While this herb may not contribute significant nutrients to your diet, it can spice up your meals.

Although holy basil is often added to herbal teas and supplements, studies show that sweet basil may offer similar health benefits, such as stress relief and blood sugar control. blood.

Keep in mind that more human studies are needed on both types of basil.

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Grow your own basil and add it to sauces, salads and soups – your taste buds will thank you.

Category: FAQ

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