Basil in cooking |  Don’t miss on this magical herb
Ayurvedic MedicinesFood

Cooking with Basil: 10 Healing and Delicious Ideas

One of the oldest herbs known to mankind, basil is a holy boon. Its role in our sacred rituals is well known to all. But, do you also know that using basil in cooking can protect you from an array of diseases

You must have heard the amazing tips to use basil leaves. Chew some basil leaves to cure your sore throat. Or crush some leaves to apply it on a wound. But using basil in cooling is a forgotten art! 

Believe it or not, basil was once an intrinsic part of Indian cooking!

Loaded with medicinal properties, this holy herb is used in Ayurvedic medicines for years. From curing migraines to relieving spasms to curing infections, Basil is a miraculous medicine. Its leaves are also used to treat insect and snake bites.

These are just a few of its medicinal benefits. The list is ceaseless!

Since ancient times, tulsi has been the fast aid for many ailments. That explains why this holy plant is present in every Indian household. Our ancestors also used this amazing medicinal herb in preparing authentic delicacies. 

They used this herb to preserve and enhance the properties of food!

Check out these amazing benefits of basil leaves that kept your ancestors young and strong for long!

Also Read: Health benefits of basil seeds

7 surprising benefits of basil leaves 

1. Tulsi tackles your digestive woes

Basil enhances your digestive powers. It fortifies the digestive and nervous system. It’s a good remedy for headaches and insomnia. Both of which can slow down your digestive power. It contains a compound called eugenol which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Eugenol and other essential oils in tulsi soothes the digestive tract

2. It’s an amazing Anti-inflammatory agent

Basil or Tulsi has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a storehouse of essential oils like eugenol, citronellol and linalool that lowers inflammation. This helps in the prevention of diseases like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions. Basil also comes to aid in curing fever, headaches, sore throats, colds, cough, and flu. 

3. It’s got anti-oxidants to fight free radicals

Basil is a strong natural antioxidant. It contains water-soluble flavonoid antioxidants—orientin and viceninare. This helps protect body tissues against free radical damage. It also strengthens the immune system, protects the cellular structure, and delay skin ageing.

4. Tulsi to treat depression

In Hindu mythology, Tulsi is a symbol of positivity. It is a natural remedy for mental diseases. Scientifically, Tulsi is a great adaptogen. The essential oils in Tusli help manage depression and anxiety too. Its aromatic smell lowers cortisol, alleviates stress and enhances mood. 

5. Tulsi for Diabetes management

Basil can slow down the release of sugar in the blood, thereby managing diabetes. The essential oils in basil help cut down triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Thereby cutting down the risk for diabetes. Hence, Ayurvedic doctors recommend using basil in cooking for preventing this epidemic. 

6. Get a healthy gut

Basil helps to restore the body’s natural pH levels. It further feeds your healthy bacteria within the gut microflora. Enhancing the gut flora is the key to overall wellness. It improves digestion, assimilation, absorption and immunity.

7. It resets your upset stomach

The essential oils of basil come to your aid in treating tummy problems. It’s an amazing cure for indigestion. Basil can help reduce bloating and water retention. It can stimulate the loss of appetite and cure acid reflux.

Basil in cooking

I won’t tell you to bring home a basil plant, because you probably already have one!

So, I would urge you to use this magical herb in your cooking!

With so many health benefits, this aromatic herb also enhances your food flavouring. It goes well with different cuisines especially Indian and Italian dishes. You may use the fresh leaves in your meals or add them as a seasoning herb.

Cooking the herb for a long time destroys its flavour and tamper its medicinal properties. That’s why its better to take it raw. Basil goes well with tomato sauce, fresh pesto, basil oil, and many other dishes. It is also used in bread like focaccia. 

How to use Basil in Indian cooking?

  1. Sprinkle some basil leaves over garlic bread and enjoy it as a snack.
  2. Flavour your soup with fresh or dried basil. It goes especially well with tomato soup.
  3. Flavour your salads with the aromatic basil. 
  4. Basil can be added to stir-fried vegetables just like you add coriander.
  5. The herb can be used as a marinade with garlic and olive oil.
  6. Add basil to your cheese and make it your appetiser.
  7. Finely chopped basil leaves can be added to butter or with minced garlic.
  8. Fresh basil and garlic can be mixed and grind into olive oil to make a deliciously healthy sauce.
  9. Put in iced tea for a refreshing garnish.
  10. Garnish your moong dal or tur dal with chopped basil leaves. 

3 Things you must remember

Choosing the right type

  • There are many types of basil. It is very important to choose the right type!
  • Westerners prefer sweet basil which is not the same as Thai basil.
  • Sweet basil goes well with European dishes. In Thai dishes, Thai basil is used. Indian dishes use locally grown basil. 

Add basil at the right time

Since basil has a strong aroma and therapeutic characteristics, it’s important to retain them. Hence, you must add the basil leaves at the right time. If you cook it for long, the aroma would disappear and so would some of its benefits. To prevent the loss of flavour, basil is added later in the cooking process.

Store it correctly

  • If you want to use dry basil herbs then you must store it in the right way. Chop fresh basil leaves and freeze them in an ice cube. Drop these cubes into your soups or beverages. 
  • Fresh basil can also be stored in a container of water in the refrigerator. 
  • The herb can also be dried and stored in a container. Dried basil should be stored away from light, in an airtight container.

Bring back basil in your cooking

The sacred basil leaves have been a part of the Indian diet for millennia. And it’s about time we bring back these wise ancient practices. These are simple home remedies that can make a great deal of difference to your general health. 

So, try it yourself before judging the wisdom of your ancestors!

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Anju October 14, 2020 at 4:36 pm

Wow a store house of goodness and various health benefits. Thanks for the amazing mouth watering tips you suggested to make the best use of the herb in our cooking

Dr. Brahmanand Nayak October 15, 2020 at 2:48 am


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