Basil is a key ingredient in many traditional dishes from the temperate zones of europe to Central Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. It brings cooling, fresh flavor to food and healing properties to those who enjoy it.
Basil Fights Free Radicals and Supports the Immune System
Because basil contains phytochemicals, water soluble flavonoids called orientin and vicenunare, it helps protect white blood cells so they can do their job effectively. In addition, it protects DNA and cellular structure integrity from free radical damage, it may help stop damage before it begins. As a result, it helps inhibit the growth of cancer cells and boost the immune system. It contains significant levels of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant,which is converted to vitamin A in the body. This herb contains powerful support for the body’s white blood cells. Tasked with fighting invading bacteria and viruses, white blood cells are essential to the immune system. Taken as a tea or used in soup, basil may help soothe fever, headache, sore throat, cough, and other symptoms of the cold and flu.
A Good Source of Vitamin K
Just two tablespoons contains 20% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin K, an essential nutrient. Among its many purposes, the body uses vitamin K to create blood factors that allow for clotting. Every time you get a cut and it stops bleeding, you can thank vitamin K.
Inflammation is a normal response to injury, like a bee sting, a twisted ankle or a bump to the head. As the damaged tissues are repaired or replaced, it usually resolves after a short time. Chronic inflammation may be localized to a specific region of the body, or spread throughout. Lasting months, decades or a lifetime, it can lead to concerns such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and even Alzheimer’s. Basil contains the essential oils eugenol, citronellol and linalool, which help lower inflammation.
Basil, ginseng, rhodiola, ashwagandha, and eleuthero, have been used for thousands of years for their adaptogenic properties. This describes the combination of the properties discussed above, namely, reduced inflammation, especially that caused by stress, immune support, and balanced bodily function. A 2007 study found several benefits, including a significant decrease in stress levels and improved immune function following the daily ingestion of fresh basil leave in rabbits.
As discussed in our previous article, How Gardening Reduces Stress, growing your own may be the perfect way to calm down and tune in.
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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any health concern. Consult your medical professional regarding all health concerns and treatment options.