Basil is an aromatic annual plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family, of which mint is a part. The cultivation of basil began more than five thousand years ago. Basil has different tastes; some of them have a sweet, strong, or pungent taste, and it is often used in Italian dishes. It is added to soups, meat, fish, herb butter, and other foods. The leaves of basil may change color if they are kept in the refrigerator, so it is better to keep them in a glass of water at room temperature or use dying basil.
Benefits of basil
- The basil plant helps relieve gas, calms the stomach, and can be used in cases of indigestion.
- Basil seeds help relieve constipation by increasing the volume of stool and excreting it outside the body.
- Basil contains acetic acid, which may help break up kidney stones and relieve the pain caused by them. Basil juice is also full of nutrients such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful for maintaining kidney health.
- Basil is used to treat colds, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, and worms.
- Basil helps reduce the risk of cancer, but this is not certain, and more studies are needed to confirm this.
- Basil extract may improve nerve function after a stroke, such as improving memory.
The side effects of basil
Eating basil in the normal amounts found in food is often considered safe, but it may not be safe to take it in medicinal quantities by adults, pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children. Basil oils are often unsafe when taken in large quantities for a long time. There are a number of situations that call for caution when eating basil:
- Consumption of basil extract or oil for people with low blood pressure causes a decrease in blood pressure.
- Basil oils or extracts may increase the risk of bleeding and slow blood clotting during surgical procedures for those who are going to have surgery.
Many types of basil are used to prepare tea, such as holy basil tea, sweet basil tea, and African basil tea. All of these types have a delicious taste and are considered caffeine-free. A cup of basil tea can be prepared by adding a teaspoon of fresh basil leaves, half a teaspoon of dried leaves, or one third teaspoon of basil powder to a cup of boiling water, then covering the mixture and leaving it to soak for at least 20 minutes. After that, the mixture is filtered, and it is ready to drink. Sweeteners can be added to it as desired.
Fresh or dried basil leaves can also be used in cooking to add flavor to different foods, where it can be added to vegetables, poultry, fish, etc.. Basil flowers are edible and can be used as a garnish for salads and other dishes.
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