- Healthy Food
Basil is a tropical plant with highly fragrant leaves. Its origin is in Indian Subcontinent. It is used as a major herb in various types of food and home medicines. It is one of the most popular herb world wide reputation.
Basil belongs to peppermint family. It has more than 60 varieties with differing tastes and aroma. Its scientific name is Ocimum Basilicum
Basil is an exceedingly useful plant of its numerous nutritional components some of which are listed below
- Vitamin A
- Dietary fiber
- Vitamin C
Researches have shown that basil is endowed with extraordinary qualities that make it very useful from health and nutrition point of view.
Some of the major health benefits of basil are
- DNA protection and Anti Bacterial Properties : Basil contains an active constituent called favonoids that provided cellular protection. Orientin and Vicenin are two of the flavonoids that protect white blood cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen based damaged . It has been also shown that basil protects against various types of unwanted bacterial growth. The volatile oils of basil containing estragole, linalool, myrcene and limonene play an active role in restricting growth of various types of bacteria that include among other Escherichia Coli and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. These are bacteria that have developed high level of resistance for antibiotic drugs.
- Anti Inflammatory Effects: Extensive studies have shown that volatile oils in basil have the potential to block the activity of an enzyme popularly called COX that is cause of inflammation in humans. This enzyme inhibiting effect of basil can provide healing effect for people with health problems like rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel condition
- Cardiovascular Health: Basil is a very good source of beta carotene which can easily convert itself into vitamin A. It protects cells that lining of numerous body structures including the blood vessels from free radical damage, and it also prevents the free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in blood. Thus it plays a crucial part in minimizing chances of cardiovascular arrest or heart attack. Basil is also rich in magnesium that helps cardiovascular health by strengthening muscles and helping blood vessels to relax
- In addition to these benefits basil has also proved to be very good source of iron, calcium, potassium and vitamin C, all of which are essential towards a healthy life.
Basil Culture and Use
Basil is very easy to grow. It grows best in sunny location and requires a well drained and rich soil. Moisture is important to basil plants. The plant is easily grown from seed and its indoor or outdoor location does not matter much once it is fully grown.
Basil is used in cookery and as herbs. It adds wonderful aroma to veal, lamb, fish, poultry, rice, pasta, pizza, and lots of other food items.
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