Basil: what are the benefits of this plant?

The Basilic (Ocinum basil) is an aromatic and medicinal plant, native to Asia, very popular for cooking in Europe. Edible, this plant consists of a stem, leaves and flowers that appear at the time of flowering, in summer. Each part of the basil can be used, either in cooking, in infusion or in the form of essential oil.

What are the benefits of basil?

In preparing a herbal tea, or in cooking, it is mainly basil leaves that are used. This plant, eaten dried or fresh, has many virtues for our health:

  • Basil is an excellent digestive tonic, as it can both induce appetite and relieve heartburn
  • On a daily basis, it helps improve digestion, reducing gas, bloating and gas in the digestive system
  • It is rich in antioxidants, and thus helps prevent the premature aging of the body’s cells
  • Thanks to its antispasmodic action, it soothes digestive pains
  • It acts as a protector of the gastric mucosa
  • Finally, it helps support liver detoxification

Can we eat the basil flowers?

To produce the essential oil of basil, it is the aerial parts, including the flowers that are used. This essential oil is very interesting, especially for:

  • Its anti-infectious action (it will act against bacteria and fungi)
  • Its effectiveness in case of muscle pain and inflammation and inflammatory rheumatism
  • Its purifying power of the intestinal microbiota (to prevent food poisoning or viral gastroenteritis for example)
  • Its soothing action, which acts against stress

How to use basil essential oil?

Basil essential oil can be used diluted in a little vegetable oil. It is applied to the stomach in case of poor digestion, digestive cramps or nausea, and a circular massage is performed.

In case of joint or muscle pain, it is applied to the painful area, by light massages.

Good to know : basil essential oil is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Vitamins, minerals… What does basil contain?

Vitamins, minerals, trace elements … Basil contains many nutrients:

  • Beta-carotenes (Provitamin A): excellent antioxidant, which contributes to the good health of the eyes and the skin
  • Vitamin K: it helps blood clotting, bone mineralization and cell growth
  • Calcium: which contributes to the good health of bones and teeth
  • Iron: an ally of energy and the immune system
  • Manganese: antioxidant, it participates in the production of insulin (hormone regulating blood sugar) and contributes to the protection of bones

How is basil eaten?

Add a few leaves to the plate

To take advantage of its digestive properties, it can be eaten fresh, in the kitchen, by simply adding it to the plate, with a starter, a main course, and even a dessert! To take advantage of the antioxidants that this plant contains, avoid cooking or heating it …

Chew basil leaves

In case of nausea, stomach aches or difficult digestion, you can chew some fresh leaves, rinsed well with clean water.

Prepare an infusion of basil

In case of excess during a meal, of bloating, one can consume basil in the form of herbal tea: 1 handful of fresh leaves, or 1 teaspoon of dried leaves, in a cup of hot water. Let steep for 10 minutes before filtering the preparation.

Enjoy the basil as a pesto

It is possible to taste basil in the form of pesto, as an accompaniment to a dish. To do this, finely cut fresh leaves, add garlic, olive oil, a few drops of lemon (to prevent the leaves from oxidizing) and mix everything. Pesto is a good way to take advantage of the nutrients that basil contains, such as beta-carotenes (because together with oil, they are better absorbed by the body).

Flavor your water

To flavor your water in a natural way, you can add a few basil leaves in fresh water, with a few drops of lemon. In a few minutes, you obtain a detox, refreshing water, ideal for hydrating in summer.

How to keep a basil in winter?

If basil fears cold and frost, it can be eaten and stored both winter and summer when placed indoors. You can also freeze fresh leaves to enjoy the plant, or store it in an airtight pot filled with oil.

Thanks to Angélica Alcantara, Naturopath and Yoga Teacher (, at Somasana,

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