Often touted as the king of all herbs or the divine herb, holy basil is actually one of the most popular and beneficial types of herb we know. It is also overflowing with many important phytonutrients. This makes it very beneficial for our health. Give this article a read if you want to learn more about this herb.
Holy Basil: What Is It?
Scientifically, holy basil is known as Ocimum tenulflorum. It a part of the Lamiaceae plant family from the Ocimum genus.
Originally, basil was native to the countries of India and Iran, as well as some other tropical countries in Asia. An annual herb, it was cultivated for its medicinally beneficial seeds and leaves. Basil grows best in warmer, tropical countries.
The mature holy basil plant may reach up to 100 centimeters in height. Its silk smooth leaves, which approximate 1-2.5 inches long and .5-1 inches wide, range from purple to dark green. They are organized into spike-like formations.
Many basil subspecies can be found around the world, including:
- Mediterranean basil, usually known as sweet basil, has light green-colored leaves
- Asian basil has humungous, hairy stalks and stems with pink flowers and pink or purple leaves. It also has a strong, clove-like odor.
- Lemon basil has a pleasant, lemon-like flavor.
- Thai basil is similar to Asian basil, yet features light green, pointed, narrow leaves and a very sweet, licorice-like scent.
- The European variety, or sweet basil, is a bit mild and has a sweet clover or anise scent. For the very same reason, it’s used for culinary purposes in cuisines around the world.
Different Parts of the Holy Basil Herb
From the leaves to the seeds, the holy basil is considered a tonic for the body, spirit and mind. Various parts of this herb are suggested for treating various illnesses:
- Holy basil essential oil comes from the leaves and is essential for insect bites.
- The alcohol extract from holy basil is essential in treating eye conditions and stomach ulcers.
- Holy basil ointment and pills are good for eczema.
- The whole holy basil plant is beneficial for vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.
- Holy basil leaves and seeds, combined with black pepper, are essential in treating malaria.
- The fresh flowers of the holy basil herb are beneficial for bronchitis.
Nutritional Value of Holy Basil
Holy basil is highly nutritious. In fact, it has ample amounts of vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Furthermore, it also has good amounts of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, zinc, sodium and iron.
100 grams of holy basil may contain about:
|Principle||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Total Fat||0.64 grams||2%|
|Dietary Fiber||1.60 grams||4%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.209 milligrams||4%|
|Vitamin A||5275 IU||175%|
|Vitamin C||18 milligrams||30%|
|Vitamin E||0.80 milligrams||5%|
|Vitamin K||414.8 micrograms||345%|
Health Benefits of Holy Basil
Here are some of the most amazing health benefits of holy basil:
- Helps boost immunity. Holy basil is essential in protecting against almost any infection caused by protozoa, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Studies also show that it is beneficial in inhibiting the growth of carcinogenic cells and HIV.
- Helps relieve headaches. The different compounds in holy basil possess amazing sedative, disinfectant, anti-congestive and analgesic properties, which are essential in relieving headaches.
- Helps reduce stress. The different antioxidants, like vitamin C, are essential in repairing damage caused by free radicals. Not only that, they are also essential in relieving stress.
- Helps prevent heart diseases. The eugenol, vitamin C and other antioxidants in holy basil help protect the heart against the harmful effects of free radicals. Furthermore, the eugenol reduces cholesterol levels.
- Treats respiratory conditions. This is one of the best health benefits of holy basil NS is all because of the anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiviral properties of the herb. In fact, it is beneficial in treating almost any respiratory condition, including acute and chronic bronchitis.
- Treats fever. The essential oils from holy basil help treat fever and have great antibiotic, fungicidal, disinfecting and germicidal properties, as well. These qualities are what make holy basil beneficial in treating various conditions, including fever.