What Are the Health Benefits of Basil?

Meshell Powell

Basil is a type of herb that has a lot of health benefits and is frequently used in cooking. Some of the benefits of basil include antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as maintenance of optimal cardiac health. In order to make the most of the various health benefits of basil, this herb should be added toward the end of the cooking process.

Crostini with basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes.
Crostini with basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes.

Basil is renowned for its antibacterial properties. Several strains of bacteria have become immune to many of the standard prescription antibiotics available, making basil an excellent choice when attempting to prevent infection. As fresh fruits and vegetables are prone to becoming contaminated with bacteria, adding fresh basil to vinaigrette salad dressing is a good way to utilize the antibacterial properties of this herb.

Basil.
Basil.

Another of the desirable health benefits of basil includes the natural anti-inflammatory properties it possesses. An enzyme found in basil has been found to work in much the same way as many over-the-counter pain relievers, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. Those who suffer from medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis may particularly benefit from this property of basil.

One of the most significant benefits of basil is its contribution to maintaining cardiac health. The herb is an excellent source of vitamin A, promoting healthy blood vessels and minimizing cholesterol buildup inside the blood vessels. Magnesium is found in abundance in this herb as well, working to improve overall blood flow and lessening the chances of heart attack or stroke.

Other health benefits of basil include the abundance of other important nutrients it contains. This herb is an excellent source of calcium, iron, and potassium. It also contains vitamin C Iron is vital in carrying oxygen to the various cells of the body and maintaining optimal health. Calcium and potassium work to support muscle, bone, and organ health. Vitamin C supports the body's natural immune system and promotes eye and skin health.

The benefits of basil can be immense, and this herb is safe for most people. Those with any existing health concerns should discuss the use of this herb with a doctor or nutritionist. While rare, there may be certain medical conditions in which frequent use of this herb may not be recommended, especially in combination with some prescription medications or other herbal treatments.

Thai basil is a cultivar of sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum.
Thai basil is a cultivar of sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum.

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