Health Benefits of Sweet Basil
Sweet basil is known as a Wonder Herb in India, native to tropical Asiatic regions, where it has been grown for more than 5,000 years. Sweet basil or ‘Ocimum basilicum’ is one of several varieties of basil known not only for its ability as a flavoring agent, but medicinal properties as well.
Like most herbs, it is loaded with various health benefits from being a rich source of vitamin K, beta carotene, and iron, the plant is also known for its unique anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. The majority of the great benefits of basil can be conjugated to its volatile oils and flavonoids – powerful, plant-based antioxidants that reduce inflammation, help fight aging, and promote healthy arteries.
Studies have revealed the ability of Basil oil to restrict the germination of microbes like:
- Escherichia coli (E-coli)
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Listeria monocytogenes
Research studies on sweet basil have represented unique health-protecting effects in two basic areas: basil’s flavonoids and volatile oils.
DNA Protection including Antibacterial Properties
The unique array of active components called flavonoids found in basil provides protection at the cellular level. There are two water-soluble flavonoids in basil Orientin and Vicenin that have been of specific attention and in studies on human WBC. These components of sweet basil protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxidation via free radical formation. In addition, basil helps to provide protection against unnatural bacterial formation for the presence of its volatile oils, which contains Linalool, Estragole, Cineole, Eugenol, Myrcene, Sabinene, and Limonene. Lab studies proved the effectiveness of basil in obstructing the development of numerous bacteria, including: Listeria monocytogenes, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli O: 157:H7.
The presence of essential oil of basil, obtained from its leaves, has demonstrated the ability to restrict several species of pathogenic bacterial action that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotic medicines.
Eugenol the anti-inflammatory substance of basil’s volatile oils has been the main interest of extensive study, though this substance can hamper the ability of an enzyme activity in the body known as Cyclooxygenase (COX). Many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS), including Ibuprofen and Aspirin, as well as the commonly used medication Acetaminophen, work by inhibiting the same enzyme activity. This enzyme-inhibition properties of the Eugenol in basil known as an “anti-inflammatory” food that can serve important healing benefits along with symptomatic comfort for individuals with inflammatory health issues like inflammatory bowel conditions or rheumatoid arthritis.
Nutrients Essential for Cardiovascular Health
Basil is loaded with very good concentration of pro-vitamin A i.e. Beta-carotene. Though it can be transformed into vitamin A, Beta-carotene is a more active anti-oxidant than vitamin A and not only insulates the epithelial cells (the cells that develop in the lining of various body structures, including the blood vessels) from free radical formation, but also helps to resist free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the RBC. Only after it has been transformed via oxidation does cholesterol formed in blood vessel walls, initiating the possibilities of atherosclerosis, whose end result can be a stroke or heart attack.
Moreover, basil contains the minor element magnesium, which helps to providing good health for the cardiovascular system by prompting muscles and blood vessels to relax, thus recovering blood flow and lessening the risk of irregular spasms or a deviation in heart rhythm of the heart muscle and blood vessel.