Basil | Why It’s Not Just For Pesto


Ocimum basilicum (Sweet Basil) Basil is a medicinal plant that is native to India, Asia, and Africa. This plant species is part of the mint family, but you may know it best for its use in food. Aside from being the main ingredient in pesto sauce, it can be added to foods for flavor and pharmaceutical benefits. Essential oils and leaves are also used for medicinal purposes. 

Basil, like many medicinal plants, has polyphenols, phenolics, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. It has anti cancer and antimicrobial properties and has been shown to have radioprotective activity. Basil reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system. It protects against harmful microbes due to its antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. 

Medicinal Uses 

Digestive Health

One of Basil’s primary medicinal properties is digestive health. It can help with indigestion, diarrhea, stomach spasms, intestinal worms, and loss of appetite. 

Women’s Health

Basil may help with menstrual irregularities and blood flow before and after childbirth to promote blood circulation and start the flow of breast milk. 


Early research shows that basil might help with acne, likely due to its antimicrobial properties. 

Respiratory Illness

Basil may improve the symptoms of the common cold, influenza, bronchitis, and cough. It may help people with asthma to breathe easier. 

Other medicinal plants that may ease symptoms of the common cold are Black-Eyed Susan, Burdock, Echinacea, Elderberry, Goldenseal, Linden, Marshmallow Root and Leaf, and Peppermint. 

Other Medicinal Uses

Heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, promote circulation, kidney problems, earache, arthritis, anorexia, malaria, fever, warts, and snake and insect bites. 

Potential Side Effects

Basil may cause low blood sugar in some people.

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