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The Outdoor Pharmacy: Basil

Basil in the outdoor pharmacy

On my list of “must have” spices, basil ranks in the top five.  It is one that you just can’t make due without for Italian-inspired dishes.  And just the thought of pesto makes me smile.  It turns out that basil is not only delicious, but it is very healthy and is said to even have medicinal qualities too.

A Little Background

Basil originally comes to us from the tropical regions of Asia.  It has been considered a “holy herb” in many cultures for ages.  It is a bushy annual plant that has many cultivars to impart slightly different flavors to your cooking, depending on what you are looking for.  If you want traditional type for spaghetti sauce, you use the most common (Mediterranean) “Sweet Basil.”  If you are going for a stronger flavor with a hint of clove, you use Asian Basil.  If you want a lemony tang to add to fish, you can use Lemon Basil.  And the list goes on.

The Health Benefits

Basil contains beneficial phytonutrients and polyphenolic flavanoids which are known to be health promoting/disease preventing.  In addition, it is known to provide many essential oils that have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  Basil has exceptionally high levels of vitamin A, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zea-xanthin.  These help rid the body of “free radicals.”  In addition, basil contains notable amounts of vitamin K, iron, copper, potassium, manganese, and magnesium.

Basil LeavesIn the Hindu religion, “holy basil” or Tulsi, is revered and believed to cure many things.  The list includes respiratory mucus and flu while working prophylactically to prevent malaria and dengue fever.  Basil tea is used for sore throats and is believed to “strengthen” the stomach and kidneys.   It is believed to lower cholesterol levels and “purify blood.”   Canker sores and other oral infections are treated by chewing basil leaves.  Consuming the herb is supposed to prevent insect bites and drinking the juices or applying a paste of the plant is supposed to relieve bites after the fact.   It is applied topically to cure ringworm also.   Basil tea is said to cure headaches.

Fresh basil is always superior to dried since the volatile oils are much more potent while fresh.  The anti-inflammatory properties credited to basil make it good for the natural treatment of irritable bowel syndrome as well as rheumatoid arthritis.

With all that members of the basil family have to offer, shouldn’t you have at least one variety of this wonderful plant in your medicinal garden?

What is your favorite use for basil?  Please comment.

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8 Comments on “The Outdoor Pharmacy: Basil”

  1. Jim Says:

    Hi, just wanted to mention, I loved this blog post.
    It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

    Reply

  2. Bryan Masar Says:

    Ringworm is quite itchy but it can easily be treated by over the counter topical anti-fungals. ‘”..:

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  3. Wanda Says:

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    five foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

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  4. Stanford Waterer Says:

    Canker sores can be treated by oral antibiotics and also taking in some sodium ascorbate. ,

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  5. Nicola Ventura Says:

    Virtually any discomfort or other difficulties due to a sore throat can be abated, or even cared for completely, along with effortless self-treatments you can do at home. Gargling can be a recommended apply. You might try out gargling along with tepid to warm water mixed with stand salt. Drinking plenty of water can also be essential. Get added slumber, with this promotes more quickly recovery. Popsicles or even cold refreshments are good for sore throats. `

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Outdoor Pharmacy, part 5: Oregano | PreppingToSurvive.com - February 7, 2013

    […] The Outdoor Pharmacy: Basil […]

  2. Book Review: Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide | PreppingToSurvive.com - February 12, 2013

    […] The Outdoor Pharmacy: Basil […]

  3. Are You Missing Out on Basil's Benefits? | one AWESOME article - February 14, 2015

    […] To read the article – click here! […]

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