While basil is now grown throughout the world, it is native to India, Africa and Asia, and basil is widely used in a variety of world cuisines, including Thai cooking, Italian cuisine, Vietnamese culture and Laotian cuisine.
The name basil comes from an old Greek word “basilikohn”, which translates to royal. This name origin reflects the attitude the ancient Greeks held toward basil, which was considered to be both noble and sacred. In India, basil was traditionally held as an icon of hospitality, while in Italy it was seen as a symbol of love.
Major benefits of basil
One of the things that makes basil such an important superfood is its value as a DNA protectant, as well as its antibacterial properties. In particular, basil contains a wide array of active compounds known as flavonoids. These compounds are thought to provide protection from disease at a cellular level.
In studies of two of these flavonoids contained in basil – orientin and vicenin, they were found to protect cell structures and from radiation damage. This ability of the compounds in basil to protect cells and chromosomes could make it valuable in the fight against cancer, as well as a variety of degenerative diseases associated with aging.
Additionally, the herb known as basil may be able to protect against excess growth of bacteria. These antibacterial properties of the herb are thought to be associated with its volatile oils, including linalool, estragole, cineole, sabinene, eugenol, limonene and myrcene. Studies in the laboratory have shown basil to be effective at reducing the growth of many different kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and listeria.
In addition to its usefulness as an herb, the essential oil obtained from the leaves have shown the capability of restricting the growth of many types of pathogens, including many which have evolved to be resistant to many antibiotics. This pathogen fighting ability is one of the most exciting and potentially valuable benefits of basil.
Moreever, basil is a rich source of many nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin C. Basil is also a good source of such important minerals as iron, potassium and magnesium.
Apart from its role in protecting cells from damage and protecting the body from common pathogens, basil is believed to have important health effects on the heart and cardiovascular system. In addition, the high levels of vitamin A contained in basil make it important to maintaining good eyesight and healthy skin and hair.
Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow at home, and many people prefer the benefits of having a steady supply of fresh basil. There are many recipes that make full use of this aromatic herb, and fresh basil tends to provide a better taste the dried variety.
Of course the dried basil available in local grocery stores, health food stores and supermarkets also provides the many health benefits
associated with this common herb. Dried basil is an excellent alternative to fresh for those who do not wish to grow their own. When choosing dried basil, however, it is important to choose those varieties that have undergone the least possible amount of processing. How herbs such as basil are processed can have a significant impact on both their nutritional value and their good taste.
Fresh basil should be chosen over the dried variety as much as possible, however, since the fresh variety is of superior flavor and nutrition. When choosing fresh basil from the supermarket, it is important to choose basil that is deep green and vibrant looking. In addition, the basil should not contain any yellow or dark spots.
Fresh basil can be stored in the refrigerator, either in its original packaging or in a dampened paper towel. Basil can also be frozen, either whole or chopped, as long as it is stored in an airtight container.
When purchasing dried basil, it is a good idea to seek out organically grown varieties, and to be sure that the herb has not been irradiated. Irradiated basil has been shown to lose some of its nutritional value, especially the healthy carotenoids that make it such a superfood.
Originally posted 2019-10-11 12:03:47.