Basil is one of the most commonly used and consumed herbs and not only does it taste amazing, but there are also some good benefits of basil that many do not know about.
If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your immune system or fight off pre-existing infections, basil may do the trick!
Basil extract has even been shown to help in inhibiting resistant strains of bacteria that are unable to respond to antibiotics.
Potential Benefits of Sweet Basil
Preliminary studies suggest sweet basil may:
- Reduce memory loss associated with stress and aging
- Reduce depression related to chronic stress, stroke damage and support recovery, whether given before or right after a stroke
- Improve fasting blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides
- Reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension
- Relax blood vessels and thin your blood, similar to aspirin
- Protect against aspirin’s damage to your gut, particularly preventing ulcers
- Prevent types of cancer, including of the breast, colon and pancreas
- Increase mental alertness when inhaled as aromatherapy
- Inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause dental decay
- Improve food safety, such as if integrated into food packaging by manufacturers
- Provide an alternative to antibiotics for infectious diseases, including combating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria
- Repel insects, such as mosquitos and ticks
Consuming basil leaves also boosts your intake of vitamin K.
The vitamin K in your body activates proteins needed for healthy tissue growth including your cartilage, bone, stomach and lung tissue.
It also plays a major role in helping your body form blood clots, and works to prevent abnormal bruising, internal bleeding and blood loss.
Fresh basil leaves serve as a generous source of vitamin A. A quarter-cup of chopped basil boasts a vitamin A content of 559 international units.
This provides 24 percent of the daily intake for women and 19 percent for men, recommended by the Institute of Medicine.
Vitamin A’s main role in your body is supporting cellular differentiation, or maturation. It also regulates gene activity, turning on genes that new cells need to contribute to functional tissue.
Consuming fresh basil leaves as a source of vitamin A also benefits your eyesight, because low vitamin A levels compromise your ability to see at night.