Basil: The Wonder Herb
Whether you know it as “basil” in English, “basilico” in Italian, or the tongue-twisting “Albahaca” in Spanish, this is a highly nutritious herb that is frequently used in a variety of cuisines. Native to India and Persia, basil is now grown all over the world. This herb was revered in ancient Greece; in fact, the name basil is the same word for “royal” in Greek. Popular in ancient Rome as well, the Italians sometimes used basil as an aphrodisiac. Basil’s many distinctly flavored species offer a variety of tastes for the adventurous cook and can be used for medicinal purposes as well.
Basil is nutritious and healthy: In today's world of eating so much processed food, this is a convenient and tasty way of obtaining extra nutrition. Sprinkle basil on pizza, salads, chicken, fish, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, or even eggs to easily slip in additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Basil is the main ingredient of the Italian pesto sauce many of us are familiar with, especially those of us with a fondness for some of those delicious Italian pasta dishes!
Basil contains a number of vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A and C, magnesium, and manganese. Its soothing properties can relax the nervous system and help with digestion. In addition to this, basil is said to:
• Inhibit Growth of Certain Bacteria • Relieve Cold & Flu Symptoms • Protect Cells From Oxidative Free Radical Damage • Act as an Anti-Inflammatory • Improve Blood Flow By Acting As A Vasodilatator • Relieve Migraines • Help Treat Insomnia • Repel Insects & Soothe Bites •Alleviate Anxiety & Depression
Bottom Lines Healing Remedies book suggests adding fresh basil while cooking to help make the food more digestible and aid in preventing constipation. If you really have a taste for basil, add about ¼ teaspoon to a glass of white wine and drink after (not during) the meal to enhance these benefits. With such a wide variety of basil to choose from, you are sure to find a favorite flavor or two!