Basil (Tulsi) also known as French Basil or Sweet Basil is an erect glabrous herb, 30-90 cm high is indigenous to India. The leaves of basil have numerous oil glands with aromatic volatile oil. The freshly picked bright green leaves turn brownish green when dried and become brittle and curled. The major types are American Basil, French Basil, Egyptian Basil and Indian Basil.
It is indigenous to the lower hills of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and is cultivated throughout India. It is also cultivated in Southern France, Egypt, Belgium, Hungary, and other Mediterranean countries and also in USA.
The dried leaves and tender four sided stems are used as spice for flavouring and for extraction of essential oil. Apart from flavouring numerous foods, it is used for seasoning in tomato paste products. The sweet basil oil is widely used in perfumery compounds.
Basil is very helpful for metabolism. It aids digestion and bowl movement. It also can improve appetite and reduce stomach cramps.
Also read about the benefits of other commonly used spices like Mint, Ginger, Fenugreek, Fennel, Curry Leaves, Cumin Seeds, Coriander, Cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Bay Leaves, Asafoetida, Aniseeds on our digestion and metabolism.
Anti Viral: Basil leaves are very effective in treating viral infections like cold and flu. It is a very good expectorant and helps in cough.
Acidity and Gas: Basil has ability to control body acidity by balancing the pH level. It helps gastric conditions and gives quite relief in bloating conditions.
Diarrhoea: Basil has anti-bacterial properties. It helps lose motion and diarrhoea. It is also useful in parasitic intestinal worms.
Reduces Stress: Basil is said to be quite helpful in stress and depression. Basil leaves have soothing effect on our nervous system and can also be used to treat headache.
Treats Opthalmia: Opthalmia is inflammation of the eye in certain conditions. It is quite useful in treating Eye conjunctivitis and certain other eye infections.
Bone Health: Basil is very rich source of Vitamin K, which helps keeping our bones and teeth healthy.
Cholesterol and Blood Sugar: Basil helps in the reduction of cholesterol level in the body, and is useful in lowering Blood Pressure levels. It may also help Blood Sugar patients.
Aphrodiasic: The aroma of basil is believed to have ability to increase libido or sexual desire.
Anti Inflammatory: Basil is known anti-inflammatory and is good for arthritis. It can also be used in case of insect bites.
Skin: Basil leaves contain Vitamin C and other phytochemicals which bring benefits to your skin.
Fungal Infections: Basil leave essential oil has anti-fungal properties which can kill and reduce the fungal growth.