A big Thank You to Crystal from Passiflora Aromatics for always providing me with new ideas for my blog.
Today I want to delve into the wonders of Basil. Basil or Ocimum basilicum was also known as St. Joseph’s Wort not to be confused with St John’s Wort. In Wiccan lore basil is used to maintain fidelity in relationships, calm the heart, improve income for the self employed and assist in resolving fights. In cooking it is used to flavour Italian and Asian dishes and in my favourite of all Pesto! Most people however, are unaware that basil also has medicinal properties.
Basil is used for:
- Reducing Inflammation
- Reducing Swelling
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
Basil has been studied for its antibacterial effects and the results are positive. Many drug resistant bacteria strains have been inhibited by basil extracts. The main extract eugenol can block harmful enzymes.
Inflammation and Swelling
Basil has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis because of the effects of eugenol for treating inflammation and swelling. It is found to have similar effects to those of aspirin.
The antioxidant properties of basil help protect the cells of the body from free radical damage. See my blog from Dec 2012 here for an explanation for antioxidants and free radicals. The protection also covers vascular walls which can help reduce the buildup of cholesterol.
What an incredible and undervalued vitamin this is. Vitamin A is excellent for aging eyes. When you have been diagnosed with dry eye and given drops to maintain the moisture; vitamin A helps maintain the moisture level in the eye.
Vitamin A also helps maintain heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs.
Vitamin K is an excellent vitamin for blood clotting. If you are on blood thinners then you really don’t want to be taking vitamin K. It also improves bone density and helps prevent bone fractures in post menopausal women.
Basil is also a delicious addition to salads, sauces and is even thought to be…you guessed it…an aphrodisiac!
Here is my favourite Pesto Recipe. Enjoy both the taste and the health benefits.
3 cups fresh basil
1 cup parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/3 to 1/2 cups toasted pine nuts (depending on taste)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic (depending on taste)
Salt and Pepper
Toast pine nuts on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven only until gently brown
Place all ingredients except oil into a food processor. Slowly add olive oil to the mixture till it is the consistency of a paste. You may want to use more or less oil depending on the look of your pesto. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the food processor while blending the ingredients. Taste the pesto when you are done and adjust the salt and pepper to taste or leave out entirely.
The pesto can be used immediately over fresh cooked pasta. Just add a tablespoon or so. If you would like to keep some, place the pesto in a jar with a lid. put just enough olive oil over the pesto to cover it and freeze. The olive oil will keep your pesto from changing to a brownish colour. If you are keeping the pesto in the fridge it will last up to one week but make sure to cover it with olive oil.
THIS BLOG IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE ADVICE OF YOUR DOCTOR OR NATUROPATH