SERVING SIZE: 1 tbsp
SPECIES: Ocimum basilicum
How Can This Ayurvedic Food Make You Feel Great?
Powerful Herbs in Your Spice CabinetDon't overlook the medicinal power of your spice cabinet! Like many common spices, Basil is a powerful healing herb. Each and every spice has unique healing properties. For this reason, in Ayurveda your spice cabinet is your medicine cabinet. Basil is the spice equivalent of a popular Ayurvedic herb called tulsi, but is a powerful herb in its own right.
Reduce Congestion & Breathe FreelyWhether dealing with a chronic lung condition or acute cold symptoms, basil can help cut through mucus and relieve congestion. It contains cinnamanic acid, which helps you breathe freely by enhancing circulation, breaking up and removing phlegm from your bronchial tubes.
Immune BoostBasil is a good anti-bacterial herb with anti-inflammatory properties and a walloping punch of vitamin C. So, make a nice cup of basil tea when you feel a cold coming on! Alternatively, make a lemongrass soup heavily garnished with basil. By flushing the surface of your skin, sinuses, and lungs with blood that is rich with immune fighting cells, Basil can help you sweat out the bug! Like most members of the mint family, basil induces profuse sweating because of its aromatic qualities. In this case basil is also pungent and warming.
This concept of "sweating it out," is called releasing the exterior in chinese medicine. When your body realizes it's been exposed to a pathogen, your wei-qi, the part of your immune system responsible for defending your body through circulation and your skin, clamps down and closes your pores. Have you ever noticed that right before you get "really" sick, you get a neck ache, body aches, and a tight, cold chill throughout your body? You are feeling your wei-qi closing your pores and tightening up all the muscles in order to keep out "wind" pathogens.
In order to push the pathogen back out the way it came, Chinese Medicine, like Ayurveda, prescribes diaphoretic herbs to induce therapeutic sweating. As these herbs (like basil and ginger) begin to work, wei-qi relaxes and opens pores back up, you start to sweat, and your neck relaxes.
Use in DiabetesThe benefits of basil point strongly to one disease- diabetes. Basil has been shown to stabilize blood sugar, tonify the kidneys, reduces cholesterol, and aid in weight loss through it's diaphoretic action. Like all members of the mint family, basil is an effective nervine, so has a positive effect on neuropathy. It also sharpens your memory.
Basil for Heart HealthBasil is an excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant. Beta-carotene protects the cells that line your blood vessels from free radical damage. It also helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood stream. Cholesterol only builds-up on your blood vessel walls to cause atherosclerosis after its been oxidized. So, incorporating lots of anti-oxidants into your diet can protect you from a heart attack or stroke, extreme end results of severe atherosclerosis. A cup of basil tea daily is excellent for heart health both by tonifying your heart and reducing cholesterol.
Basil is high in magnesium, the mineral responsible for relaxing muscles in your body, including your heart muscle. When your heart is relaxed, blood flow remains smooth and even to your heart, reducing the risk of irregular heart rhythms and stress induced high blood pressure. Basil also contains Omega 3 fatty acids, whose anti-inflammatory properties protect your heart.
Calms Inflammation for Pain Relief & Deep HealingBasil offers relief from painful inflammation. A chemical in basil's volatile oil called eugenol has been shown to block activity of the same enzyme (cyclooxygenase) that aspirin and ibuprofen block in order to reduce painful inflammation. Basil also contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, while providing strong anti-oxidants in the form of beta-carotene.
Anti-oxidants, as mentioned in depth above, neutralize free radicals which are a contributing factor in disorders of chronic inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and asthma. A few fresh leaves of basil every day may help manage these disorders and other inflammatory conditions.
BUYING & PREPARATION
Store fresh basil in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. Or simply place your bunch in a wide mouthed glass with an inch or two of water in the bottom. Basil comes in many varieties, such as Italian sweet basil. Purple basil, used in Asian countries, is more bitter. Other varieties include lemon basil, and the famous Ayurvedic herb Tulsi, also called Holy Basil.
COOKING BASILBrowse Recipes
Basil is most famous as an ingredient in tomato sauce and classic pesto. It is nearly synonymous with Italian cooking. Basil's appeal reaches beyond the Mediterranean. Across the world it plays a prominent role in thai coconut curries and Vietnamese noodle soups. At home, try chopping fresh basil and sprinkling it on chicken.
You might not think of Basil as a dessert spice, yet it appears as a classy garnish atop exotic desserts like strawberry & balsamic ice cream, on a creme-brulee, or atop your favorite key lime pie. Basil can be a tasty bitter accent in sweet watermelon smoothies.
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WHY EAT AN AYURVEDIC DIET?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with at any given time. Ayurveda shows you your specific body type’s needs and what should be favored in your Ayurvedic menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you experience optimal health.
Is Basil Good for My Ayurvedic Diet?
AYURVEDIC MEDICINAL QUALITIES
Experiences are PersonalExperiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary. The list of actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
APPETIZERHerbs that cleanse the palate & stimulate hunger or desire to eat.
CARMINATIVEStimulates the release of gas. Helpful for bloating or cramping abdominal pain. Propels food downward.
ANTISPASMODICHerbs that reduce or inhibit muscle spasms or cramping, such as in asthma, colic or IBS.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestion.
SPLEEN-TONICAn herb that strengthens spleen function by improving strength of the blood. Spleen tonics Builds agni, brighten the person's appearances & firms up tissues.
Cleanse and Detox:
Heart & Circulation:
CARDIAC-STIMULANTHerbs that increase the heart rate. Useful in cardiovascular health, blood stagnation, and subjective feeling of heaviness in the chest area.
HYPERTENSIVEAn herb that increases blood pressure.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORYReduces inflammation in the body. Different herbs and carriers target different body systems.
ANTIBACTERIALHerbs that kill bacteria or slow their growth.
IMMUNE-STIMULANTStimulates and strengthens the immune system. Helpful when fighting off a cold or flu.
Kidney & Urinary:
DIURETICHerbs that promote urine formation, thereby flushing the kidneys and urinary tract while eliminating any excess water retention. As diuretics reduce water retention, they are often used to reduce blood pressure.
Lung and Sinus:
BRONCHODILATORAn herb that encourages the widening or opening of the lung airways. Helpful in cough and asthma.
DECONGESTANTAn herb that reduces mucus congestion in the sinus or lungs by restricting blood flow to mucus membranes.
LUNG-TONICStrengthens the lungs. These herbs are helpful when recovering from either acute or chronic lung issues like bronchitis or pneumonia.
Mind, Stress & Sleep:
NERVINEHerbs that specifically go to the nervous system and brain. They can help with stress, memory, early alzheimer?s, even chronic pain.
GALACTAGOGUEIncreases production of breast milk.
Skin Care & Beauty:
DIAPHORETICAn herb that induces sweating, often by dilating blood vessels close to the skin.
HEALTH & WELLNESS PRACTITIONERS!
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Eat Well for Life With Ayurveda: Balance Your Dosha
HOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
View Other Ingredients for SpringBasil is recommended for Spring. Check out these other Spring foods here.
Comments & Impressions of 'Basil'Do you like 'basil'? Why or why not? What makes it unique? Is there something you'd like to know about 'basil'?
Postpartum mothers enjoy lactation promoting benefits from basil.
a traditional home remedy forThis information has not been validated by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Respiratory HealthAnimal/dander allergy, Difficulty expectorating, Large amounts of mucus, Lung Inflammation, Mucus Congestion, Mucus/congestion in mornings, Pneumonia, Post nasal drip, Thick mucus, White mucus
Blood and CirculationAtherosclerosis, Chronic Fungus infection, Diabetes (Adult Onset), Feet or Ankles Swelling, Heaviness in heart area, High Blood Pressure, High Blood Sugar, High Cholesterol, Insulin Resistance
Mind Stress SleepCry easily
Weight LossFat back of arms, Fat on back, Fat on buttocks, Fat on thighs
DigestionFrequent Burping, Hiatal Hernia, Slow, heavy digestion, Sweet taste on tongue
PoopStool formed, but porous & airy
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.