Basil tea is generally brewed from the leaves of the culinary herb basil. Tea made from this herb is believed to have a number of health benefits, including aiding digestion and cardiovascular health. It may also help support the healthy function of the hair, skin, and eyes. Basil tea is usually made by steeping basil leaves in hot water for five to ten minutes. This tea should ideally be brewed in a covered container, and the basil leaves should be allowed to float freely in the hot water for maximum benefit.
Most proponents of this herbal tea advocate using 2 teaspoons (3 grams) of dried basil in about 8.5 ounces (250 milliliters) of boiling water. This tea is generally considered safe for consumption as often as desired. Many proponents of basil tea drink it after every meal. Cold, leftover tea can be used as a soup stock or in the baking of savory pastries and breads. Others have used cold basil tea as a savory stock in which to prepare rice.
The benefits of basil tea are said to be many. Two teaspoons (3 grams) of dried basil typically contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals, such as manganese, vitamin K, iron, calcium, and magnesium. When properly brewed, basil tea can offer a good source of these nutrients.
The many nutrients in basil tea are believed responsible for its health benefits. It is said to help ease digestion and soothe gas, upset stomach, and stomach cramps. It is said to be good for anorexia, diarrhea, gastric ulcers, and colic. This may be due to the herb's high content of potassium and magnesium, which are believed to aid digestion by maintaining an appropriate fluid balance in the digestive tract.
This herbal tea also contains significant levels of beta carotene, which the body generally uses to synthesize vitamin A. Beta carotene is also considered to have anti-oxidant properties, and many believe that basil tea can help support healthy hair, eyes, and skin. This herbal tea may also have some cardiovascular health benefits.
Most proponents of basil tea as a health tonic recommend that it be neither sweetened with sugar nor served with milk. It has been suggested, however, that honey or another natural sweetener can be added for those who believe it improves the taste. The tea is, however, said to be quite pleasant tasting without added sweeteners or milk.