(Natural News) Basil is not just for pesto anymore, but a plant of many health benefits. Basil is a plant that looks similar to the peppermint plant, as they both come from the same family. The leaves are tender and minty green and grow to 30-130cm tall. Basil, a highly fragrant plant, is best known as the ingredient in pesto using parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil.
A few types of Basil
- Sweet basil, the one used in Italian cooking
- Thai Basil
- Holy basil
- Lemon basil
- Anise basil
- Cinnamon basil
Each one of the types, has its own specific flavor and uses. Actually, there are over 60 types of plants and each one offers its own unique smell and taste. There are also, many types of basil in the Middle East, which are used strictly for the smell and grown as ornamental plants. Basil..s scientific name is Ocimum basilicum.
Health Benefits of the basil
- Lowering blood pressure
- Cholesterol lowering benefit
- General detoxifier
- Cleansing the blood
- Lowering blood sugar levels
- Anxiety relief
- Can be used as an "adaptogen"
- Anti-microbial properties
Basil Natural Remedies (a few selected ones)
Remedy: Use Basil extract directly on the skin and expect to see relief in three days.
Remedy: To get immediate relief you can chew on some of the leaves.
Remedy: Take one teaspoon of the extract of basil, two times a day and expect to see relief in three months.
Remedy: Apply the extract directly to the rash and expect to see relief in one week.
Remedy: Take one teaspoon of basil extract, three times a day and expect to see relief in one week.
Remedy: Place four to five leaves in some boiling water and then add in 1/2 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of honey and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom. Sip this tea slowly and expect to see relief in six hours.
Remedy: Put three to four leaves in some boiling milk and drink this remedy. Expect to see relief from dizziness immediately.
Drinking too much alcohol
Remedy: Make a tea of basil, using one cup of boiling water and three leaves or one tablespoon of the dried leaves. Remove from the stove and let the tea sit for 20 minutes and then strain. You can expect to see relief from the symptoms of intoxication immediately.
Remedy: Before sleeping, take one teaspoon of the basil extract and expect relief in one week
Remedy: Take one teaspoon of basil extract, three times a day and expect to see relief in one month.
Low Blood Pressure
Remedy: Crush 10-15 leaves and add them to one teaspoon of basil juice and then mix with one teaspoon of honey. This remedy should be taken on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning. You can expect to see relief from low blood pressure in one month.
Remedy: Use the extract directly on the skin, twice a day and expect to see relief in one month.
Remedy: Crush 10-15 leaves and the rind of one orange together. Use this mixture as a tooth cleaner and expect to see results in one week.
Note: Basil has no known side effects and can be used in conjunction with most other remedies.
How to choose the right varieties and storage
Fresh basil is always the optimum choice over dried, as the fresh leaves are the best in flavor. Look for basil that has vibrant looking leaves, that are dark green. Make sure they do not have any brown marks or yellowing spots. There are many varieties of both basil plants and the dried spices. Always look for organic spices when possible and make sure they have not been irradiated, which would decrease the vitamin C and carotenoid content.
What does irradiate mean?
The process of irradiation in food, means the food is exposed to radiation. The radiation is meant to destroy microorganisms,.... bacteria, viruses or insects that could harm the products being consumed. This very harmful process, also prevents sprouting and delays ripening further of the produce. It is messing with Mother Nature, in other words. The irradiation damages the DNA and stunts the growth of the food.
The fresh basil should be stored in a paper towel, that has been sprayed lightly with water and then stored inside a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Basil may be chopped and placed in the freezer also, but it looses much of its flavor and texture that way. The dried herbs need to be placed in glass containers with tightly sealed lids and placed in a dark cool place. Dried herbs may be kept for up to six months.
Left over pesto, minus the parmesan cheese may be stored in ice cube trays. To be used as needed. Add the parmesan once the pesto is defrosted. You can also place fresh leaves in the ice cube trays and top with some water, to be used later for soups or pesto.
Recipes for using Basil
The typical recipe using basil is a simple pesto. It is very easy to make.
1. In a food processor add in one tablespoon of pine nuts and chop.
2. Add in two handfuls of fresh basil
3. Mix well.
4. Slowly add in 1/2 cup of olive oil and mixing very well.
5. Add in 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and season with salt and black pepper.
6. Add some of the pasta water to the pesto as needed.
This can be used over some whole wheat spaghetti.
A simple sandwich
Scramble two eggs with one small chopped tomato, one ounce of goat cheese, and some salt and pepper.
Let it cool slightly and using a very thin whole wheat tortilla, place the egg mixture on the tortilla and top with some fresh basil leaves. Roll and place on a grill and heat slightly until the edges are browned.
**Note - It is best to add the fresh basil at the end of the cooking, as the basil oils are volatile. By adding them at the end, you get the maximum flavor and essence.