The Spice Basil Can Help Improve Your Health
|Holy Basil||Darrell Miller||05/15/09|
May 15, 2009 01:08 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Holy Basil
Basil is a common seasoning that can be found in many kitchens all over the world. This herb is often used to make pesto and to flavor soups, stews, and other foods. Additionally, basil has been used for a long amount of time throughout the world for medicinal purposes. This herb is especially used in Asia and Africa, along with India, where it is thought to be a sacred herb. Basil has been used to treat exhaustion, as it works as a stimulant to promote energy. This herb has antibacterial properties and may help to draw out poisons from stings and bites.
Basil is a low-growing herb that is prominently featured in Italian cuisine. This herb is also a huge part of Southeast Asian cuisines like those of Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The plant has a similar taste to that of anise, but has a pungent and sweet smell. There are multiple varieties of basil, with the one most typically used in Italian food being sweet basil. Asia, on the other hand, uses Thai basil, lemon basil, and holy basil. Although most types of basil are considered to be annuals, some are perennial and grow in warm, tropical climates. These include the African Blue and Holy Thai basil. Originally native to Iran, India, and other tropical regions of Asia, basil has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years.
The basil plant grows between 30-130 cm tall and has light green, silky leaves that are approximately 3-11 cm long and 1-6 cm broad. The flowers are very big and white in color. They arrange themselves along the plant in a spike shape. The basil plant is extremely sensitive to cold, as it grows best in hot, dry conditions. If there is any chance of frost, the plant will behave as an annual. This plant only grows well in Northern Europe, Canada, the northern states of the U.S., and the South Island of New Zealand if it is grown under glass in a pot, and planted outdoors in late spring or early summer, when there is little chance of a frost. The plant does its best in well-drained sunny places.
Basil is not only a flavoring, but a definite source of health benefits. One study done by the University of Baroda in India found basil to help to lower fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyercide levels significantly. Basil may also help non-insulin-dependent diabetics to control their diabetes. Additional research has found that basil can also be useful for killing intestinal parasites, treating acne, and stimulating the immune system.
The leaves of basil are used to provide anthelmintic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, galactagogue, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in basil are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, D, and B2. Primarily, basil is very beneficial in treating insect and snake bites, colds, headaches, indigestion, absence of lactation, and whooping cough. Additionally, basil can be extremely helpful in dealing with intestinal catarrh, constipation, stomach cramps, fevers, flu, kidney problems, nervous disorders, respiratory infections, rheumatism, urinary problems, vomiting, and worms. For more information on the many health benefits of basil, feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
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