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Basil

Do you know Basil for Italians and Romanian portrayed love?

· Spice

Long ago, For Italians a pot of basil on the windowsill of a young lady was a symbol of love since it meant that a handsome boy was welcome for dating.
And when a Romanian man accepted a shoot of basil from a woman, they were considered engaged.
Hailing from India, I always knew about religious, spiritual and medical importance of basil. But had no clue about such a cute love importance of the pious herb.

Religious importance…

Basil particularly, Holy Basil is considered as the “Queen of Herbs” in India. It is sacred herb in the Hindu Religion and revered for its protective and healing properties. According to Hindu mythology, Basil plant is an avatar of the goddess “Tulsi”, offering divine protection. It is absolute common practice in Indian families to keep a living holy basil plant just outside the front entrance and offer prayers daily (morning and evening) to this plant. Basil’s woody stalks are commonly made into beads used in meditation malas or rosaries during chanting.

Exploring Basil…

Due to popularity of pesto sauce and tomato-basil Italian sandwiches many people think basil is traditionally Italian, but its native to India, Southeast Asia and South Africa. Basil is a thick, bushy shrub with oval and ragged leaves. There are 30 different varieties of basil ranging from light green to dark purple in color. Sweet basil is usually used in cooking. Basil can be used is both fresh and dried forms. Dried basil is sweet-smelling and is used in soups and stews.

All basil are therapeutic containing uniquely health-giving phytonutrients and are flavorful, but we are focusing more on holy basil. Holy basil plant bears gentle lavender-colored flowers and tiny rust-colored fruits.

Health Benefits

1. Basil combats stress..
In today’s fast paced busy world, we are always rushing and working on deadlines. It is very common to experience stress. When you are under stress, body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin. Basil regulates cortisol, lowers blood sugar which spikes under stress and balances all stress related hormones. Thus, basil can have an anti-stress effect and give a calming feeling.

2. Basil can be used as natural pain reliever..
If you have smelled basil, you must have witnessed sweet clove like fragrance. This aroma is due to eugenol, the same compound that makes oil from clove a very powerful pain killer. Eugenol works like aspirin or ibuprofen by blocking the pain triggering enzymes and providing relief from pain. So next time, you are in pain try sniffing and then eating basil to get rid of pain with no side effects.

3. Basil helps detoxify the body..
Liver is a very crucial organ for the body as it plays a vital role in metabolism. It also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. Basil with its strong detox properties supports liver function and prevents fat build-up in the liver. Thus, keeping the liver healthy.

Home Remedies

1. For relief from any kind of fever, boil basil leaves in water, add few drops of honey and drink frequently.
2. For memory and brain health grind few basil leaves, add some honey and eat every day on an empty stomach.
3. For relief from cold, cough, sinusitis or allergies, boil basil leaves in water and steep for few minutes and drink daily.
4. For babies suffering from cold, crush basil leaves to get juice, add honey and make a baby lick it.
5. Massage babies with basil oil to fight against pneumonia and to increase the immune system.
6. For relief from earache boil basil leaves in coconut oil or sesame oil on low flame for 10 mins. After cooling add few drops of this oil to the ear.
7. For best oral health boil basil leaves, black pepper and black salt in water and gargle daily.
8. For relief from toothache grind basil leaves, black pepper and black salt and massage on the gums nearby.
9. For optimal health make basil tea and consume daily.
Procedure: Add 1 cup of boiling water to 2 teaspoons of fresh holy basil and let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain the leaves and enjoy.
10. For stomach issues and for increasing appetite make this savory basil chutney
Procedure: Grind basil leaves, Thai chili, salt and ginger. Add lemon juice and enjoy.

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