Basil (Ocimum basilicum, Ocimum sanctum)
Basil is a popular culinary herb that many people grow in their gardens. It is a tender plant, and the fragrant tasty leaves are used in many different types of dishes. It is very popular in Italian cooking. There are many varieties of the herb that can be found at the local plant nursery, so you can choose one that looks nice in your garden and still get all the benefits of herbal remedies too. Holy basil (O. sanctum) is a variety that is used in India both for culinary flavor and medicinally.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Basil can be used to treat cough, sore throat, rash, stings, night blindness, hives, ear infections and fever. Leaves contain a tonic for the nerves and can improve memory. It helps to remove phlegm from the bronchial tubes and strengthens the stomach. A tea of leaves is taken to prevent malaria and dengue. Leaves can be chewed to aid colds and flu. Kidney stones will be expelled from the urinary tract if a mixture of herb juice and honey is taken for six months.
Basil is beneficial to the heart, and it helps reduce cholesterol. The herb is safe for children to take, and can help chicken pox to hurry through its course. It's leaves can be chewed to relieve mouth infections. Powdered dried leaves can be used to brush the teeth, which freshens the breath, cleans the teeth and stimulates the gums. A decoction of leaves can help with headache.
Externally Basil juice is helpful when applied directly to ringworm and other diseases of the skin. If leaves are pounded to a pulp and mixed with sandalwood paste and applied to the forehead, it can relieve headache and overheating. Two drops of juice can be used for eye disorders.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
It can be combined in a decoction with cardamom for high fevers. The decoction is mixed with some sugar and milk. For respiratory disorders, a tea of herb leaves can be combined with ginger and honey. Mixed with cloves and salt, this decoction can be used for influenza.
Leaves The leaves are used both for cooking and medicinally. Essential oil is also made from the leaves.
Pregnant women should use basil with caution and they should avoid the essential oil.
Preparation and Dosage
Capsules of basil can be taken two or three at a time, up to twice a day with meals. For tincture or extract, put 30 to 40 drops in a small amount of water and take it three times daily between meals.