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Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits of Basil

Basil is a common herb in most of our kitchens, but did you know that, besides tasting good in our chicken and pasta dishes, it can be of use toward having more healthy bodies? It is an excellent alternative health treatment for many minor ailments.

Grown originally in Asia and the Middle East, basil traveled the world along the spice trail. It has been grown and used for 5000 years and has hundreds of varieties and is now cultivated in many countries. All of its varieties have unique and individual chemical make-ups; and yet the base medicinal properties remain consistent from one strain to another.

The volatile oils of dried basil are weak, so fresh basil is usually better in both our cooking and our healing treatments.

The main use of basil medicinally is as a natural anti-inflammatory. It is similar to the compounds found in oregano and medical marijuana – and may be used as a substitute for the later because it offers the same relief without the “high.” The same compound that makes it useful as an anti-inflammatory is also believed to help combat bowel inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis.

Many naturopathic doctors prescribe basil in treatment of diabetes, respiratory disorders, allergies, impotence, and infertility. This may be because basil contains cinnamanic acid, which has been found to enhance circulation, stabilize blood sugar, and improve breathing in those with respiratory disorders.

It is also know that basil is very high in antioxidants, especially when it is used as an extract or oil. These antioxidants can protect your body against free radical damage associated with aging, some skin ailments, and most forms of cancer. Antioxidants have become an important part of keeping our bodies healthy, and basil may be among the safest and most effective sources of these life-giving compounds.

Additional scientific research has shown that the volatile oils in basil, combined with their antioxidant effects, make it a great health boost for our immune systems.

Fresh basil leaves and basil oil have antibacterial properties. They can be used to disinfect surfaces. Leaves, applied to wounds, may eliminate infections. Basil used in your cooking or taken as a nutritional supplement can assist in combating common viruses like colds, flu, and the herpes family of viruses – in a manner similar to that of Echinacea.

Treatments Using Basil

  1. Healing: Sharpen memory, use as a nerve tonic, and remove phlegm from your bronchial tubes. Repeat up to once an hour. Leaves can strengthen the stomach and induce perfuse sweating. The seeds can be used to rid the body of excess mucus.
  2. Fevers: Basil leaves are used for quenching fevers, especially those related to malaria and other infectious, eruptive fevers common to tropical areas. Boiling leaves with some cardamom in about two quarts of water, then mixed with sugar and milk, brings down temperature. An extract of basil leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours; between doses you can give sips of cold water. This method is especially effective for reducing fevers in children.
  3. Coughs: Basil is an important ingredient in cough syrups and expectorants. It can also relieve mucus in asthma and bronchitis. Chewing on basil leaves can relieve colds and flu symptoms.
  4. Sore Throat: Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as a tonic or used as a gargle when you have a sore throat.
  5. Respiratory Disorders: Boiling basil leaves with honey and ginger is useful for treating asthma, bronchitis, cough, cold, and influenza. Boiling the leaves, cloves, and sea salt in some water will give rapid relief of influenza. These combinations should be boiled in about two quarts of water until only half the water remains before they are taken.
  6. Kidney Stones: Basil can be used to strengthen your kidneys. In cases of stones in your kidney, the juice of basil leaves mixed with honey and taken daily for 6 months will expel them through the urinary tract.
  7. Heart Problems: Basil can be used to strengthen those weakened by heart disease. It can also reduce your cholesterol.
  8. Children’s Illnesses: Pediatric complaints like colds, coughs, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting have been know to respond to treatment with the juice of basil leaves. Also if the rash associated with chicken pox is delayed, basil leaves with saffron will bring them to the surface more quickly.
  9. Stress: Basil leaves can be used as an anti-stress agent. Chewing 12 basil leaves twice a day can prevent stress. It will purify the blood and help prevent many other common ailments.
  10. Mouth Infections: Chewing a few leaves twice daily can cure infections and ulcerations of the mouth.
  11. Insect Bites: Basil can be used preventatively and as a curative. A teaspoonful of the basil leaf juice taken every few hours is preventative. Rubbing the bites with juice can relieve the itching and swelling. Also a paste of the root is effective for treating the bites of insects and leeches.
  12. Skin Disorders: Basil juice applied directly to the effected area is good for ringworm and other common skin ailments. Some naturopaths have used it successfully in the treatment of leucoderma (patches of white or light-colored skin).
  13. Tooth Problems: Dry basil leaves in the sun and grind into powder for a tooth cleansing powder. You can also mix with mustard oil to make herbal toothpaste. Both of these methods will counter bad breath and can be used to massage the gums, treat pyorrhea, and other dental health problems.
  14. Headaches: Basil is a good headache remedy. Boil leaves in half a quart of water, cooking until half the liquid remains. Take a couple of teaspoons an hour with water to relieve your pain and swelling. You can also make a paste of basil leaves pounded with sandalwood to apply to your forehead to relieve headache and provide coolness in general.
  15. Eye Disorders: Basil juice is a good for night-blindness and sore eyes. Two drops of black basil juice in each eye at bedtimes each day is soothing.


DISCLAIMER: Please remember these treatments options are only meant as guidelines and in no way replaces the advice or treatment provided by your medical practitioner. It is always good to seek the advice of your physician, homeopath, naturopath, or herbalist for professional advice in any matter related to your health. This article is for information purposes only.


You Can Make Powerful Herbal Medicines Secretly in Your Kitchen

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  1. excellent information

    • Great info….I suffer with rheumatoid arthritis. …hate taking meds as I feels so tired all the time…and doesn’t help the pain…would love to try natural anti inflammatory therapy…

      • Try some turmeric with bioperine, it will help you with your pain. I started taking it for chronic back pain and I have been able to cutrack on my meds. It reduces the inflammation in the body. I hope it helps you. Check out amazon.

  2. Thank you so much for this incredible informative article. I loved every word and learned a whole lot!


  3. Fantastic! This is such an easy and prolific herb to grow. I can’t wait to get some more in the ground this year.

  4. Thank you so much for all info. It will be very useful. Will plant asap. I grow mint in a pot and will add basil asap. Grew basil last year but lost in the freeze. Did know it had so many uses. Thanks again.

  5. I have it growing all around my house but didn’t know it is as much beneficial. The local name for it in my area is “Efinrin”.

    • Efinrin is nor Basil. Please clarify this so you do not expect Basil services from Efinrin.

      • Efinrin is definitely basil. Your botanist friends wouldtell you it is.

        • Efinrin is surely what is referred to as Ocimum basilicum (basil).
          The problem here is that, the Efinrin you have in your local environment is the one called Ocimum gratissimum, they both belong to the same family. so i guess they should do similar work of about 80%. you can lookup their pictures online: Ocimum gratissimum & Ocimum basilicum.

          ***Ocimum gratissimum is the Efinrin we have in Nigeria.

  6. great education on basil i new nothing about the many uses of basil ,but now thats a different story.thank you!!!!

  7. It is wonderful news, since I realize how much basil leaves can work on people. I did try my swollen legs by rubbing the leaves for a week . I ate 20 pcs a day.. I notice the difference. I can walk without my crane. Thank you for the information. I will passed it to my friends.

  8. Thanks for telling everyone how wonderful basil is!

  9. I write to you to find out if you might have a book on the uses of herbs of medical uses.I just read your ardical o bazil and would like to know about other plan I’m growing lavander now and look medical uses.and purslane.

  10. I really like it whenever people get together and share
    ideas. Great website, keep it up!

    my webpage ダウンジャケット 超歓迎

  11. thankyou so much for this great education on besil.

  12. Thank you so much for valuable info. I love to eat it fresh from the garden on tomatoes and sometimes cheese. I have some ailments you mentioned in the article. I will definitely try the cures mentioned. I’m going to have to grow more Basil!

  13. I am having tons of trouble finding anything about Ocimum x citriodora (Greek Columnar Basil, aka Aussie Sweetie, aka Lesbos basil?). I’m inclined to think that the tingly sensation would help a lot w/ an array of minor illnesses/ailments. Would you possibly be able to shed some light on this or point me in the right direction. I’m even hard pressed to find culinary uses for this type of basil. I just bought a plant because I love all basil and had never seen this one. Thanks in advance!

  14. Carmen, Excellent article and could I get your references? There is so little of it on the web that is reliable and I am a student writing her materia medica that needs to be referenced. Thanks so much Donna

  15. Thai Basil is a completely different taste, I just had it in green tea with a little honey; WONDERFUL. Had to mugs.

    My favorite restaurant The Thai House in Orlando, puts up with my requests for herbal experiments around me eating papaya salad, squid and the occasional cucumber salad. Every month I manage to get Thai tea smoked & barbequed Duck out of them; to which I’ve been hopelessly addicted to for over 12 years at the same restaurant. With fragrant Jasmine rice and finishing of with sticky rice, coconut and a fresh mango splayed out across the rise with pools of sweet chili sauce in big dots all around the plate. It satisfies with sweet smooth sticky, spicy& cooling all at the same time. And with the Thai basil and green tea with honey? AWESOME!

    I broke 178 of 203 bones in my body by being hit by a car in 2003. The moment that I was able to motivate first by wheelchair then by walker to get to the restaurant; I went once a week to satisfy cravings & build up strength.

    Kaffir Lime leaves are a great skin cleanser as well.

  16. Research studies indicate that Basil can also assist in controlling one’s blood pressure. Can you please try to find out what type of Basil it is for me please?

    I do so look forward to hearing from you.

    With Kind Regards,

  17. Basil oil is a godsend! I use it for ear infections and throat infections. It provides relief for me and kids and makes them better much better quicker

  18. I am studying aromatherapy and while at the grocery store this morning, I decided to picked up fresh, organic Rosemary and Basil leaves [I’m also making all my own products because of all the toxic in the ingredients.]

    I am familiar with the oils, but if anyone can recommend as to how to cook the leave that would be a lifesaver. In the meantime, as I was cleaning I dropped a heavy glass on my pinky toe and I think I broke it. Needless to say, I don’t have patience right now to search the internet. I have an ice pack wrapped around a cloth to keep the swelling down, and mixed the necessary oils.

    Thank you SO much !!


  19. aldene cavalcante

    Very good information. My husband has epistin brr and he had very low inmuni system , he was very sick for 1 year he went to many different Doctor , took loud of medication , vitamins and did not get any better, then I thought about my grand mother’s tea recipe which was 3 Little onions , 1 good peace fresh of turmeric ,1 peace fresh of ginger, 3 little brunch of oregano and 3 little brunch of basil mashed a little bit one by one put all together in a tea pot added boiling water, caver for a few minutes drink in the morning . now days he is so much better. I’m so happy for my husband because now i can see the difference. And I’m sure is the miracle of the Nature.

  20. I read the article off basil medical uses my question is how basil oil is made so I can make it at home….

  21. Thanks for all the great ideas, I personally make a tea out of fresh basil, Rosemary, and a peppermint teabag, it REALY helps with my irritable bladder flair ups, now I know it’s doing all kinds of good things.

  22. thank you for the information….very useful and very helpful 🙂

  23. This is native advertisement!

  24. Chicken or pasta pesto is what I love best when talking about basil! It has more nutrients than other herbs out there. Thank you for the info!

    In true health,

  25. thanks for all the extra information I did not know. just used clove oil on area where I had dental work done and seen something about basil and here I am. my reply is not on medical however, but a complaint about birds attacking my plants, I do not know what made me pick some basil and put it around my plants, but, I did, yep! it works. I did try to root some in water, I read that somewhere, did not root for me, so in the dirt it went, yep! evidently roots better in the dirt. I think the basil growing in my dragon leaf begonias is a beautiful addition. now to start nibbling/grazing while working in the yard to get rid of my high chloresterol. just love my basil, love to also pinch it so as to have the odor on my fingers also. as for purslane, more omega-3 than any plant bought in the stores, grows wild, suppose to be a weed, but, its a herb.

  26. I harvest basil in the summer but need to use it in the winter so what is the best way to preserve it?

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