The king of herbs basil herb is one of the ancient and popular herbal plants brimming with notable health-benefiting phytonutrients. This highly prized plant is revered as "holy herb" in many cultures all around the world.
It is a traditional remedy that has been used in various cultures for hundreds of years for many uses besides cooking. These are my top uses:
- Basil Pesto– This culinary use is one of Basil’s most popular uses and variations of this are used in cultures around the world. At our house, we add pesto to everything from eggs, to meats, to slices of fresh cucumber. Here’s my recipe.
- General Cooking– Dried basil can be easily added to practically any dish. Basil is used around the world in many different cuisines with good reason. It adds a depth and flavor that is not rivaled by other herbs. I make a homemade spice blend that includes basil and add it to practically anything.
- Calming the Stomach– The Italians may be on to something with adding Basil to everything. It is thought to have a calming effect on the stomach and 1/2 teaspoon of dried or fresh Basil Leaf in water can often help sooth indigestion and alleviate feelings of fullness.
- Coughing and Colds– I’ve heard several Amish in our area suggest using Basil leaf to help alleviate coughing and colds. They chew fresh leaves to calm coughing or make a calming tea of dried basil to help sooth illness.
- Facial Steam for Headache- A facial steam with dried basil leaf can help alleviate a headache. Add a tablespoon of dried basil leaf to 2 cups of boiling water in a large pot. Carefully lean over the pot, cover head with a towel and breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes until headache starts to subside. Bonus, you get to smell like an Italian restaurant for the rest of the day!
- Stings and Bites- If you are working outside and get bitten or stung by an insect and don’t have any Plantain growing nearby, chewing up a basil leaf and applying to the bite will help relieve the pain and draw out the venom.
- Ear Infections- The essential oil is antibacterial, and drops of basil oil may relieve ear infections.
- Blood sugar- There is some evidence that Basil can help level out blood sugar if consumed regularly and drank as a juice or tea.
- Stress Reduction- One herbalist I know suggests adding 2 cups of strong Basil Leaf tea to a warm bath to help reduce stress and facilitate relaxation.