Basil

posted Sep 17, 2014, 2:11 PM by Ivy Hunter   [ updated Nov 14, 2014, 12:17 PM ]
Comes in several varieties, all clove-like, and aromatic which adds a peppery sweet taste and zest to almost any food. The basil goes so well with tomatoes we have our common dish of bruchetta that has been served for over a century. Use basil with fish, game, chicken, salads, sauces, soups, stews, noodle dishes, and any cooked vegetable. This is currently one of the most commonly used herb. Basil has several names such as Ocimum basilicum, O. sanctum, common basil, holy basil, purple basil, St Josephwort, sweet basil, Thai basil, purple basil, chocolate basil, and more. The medicinal forms can be found in the market sold as capsules, oil, spice, tablets, and teas.

Medicinal Use

The medicinal components of basil is the part that offer the strong aromatic scent. Basil contains estragole - as much as 85% of the total oils in basil are estragole. The rest of the aromatic oils include safrole. Basils noted quality is antimicrobial and the estragole may be cancer causing if taken in huge masses over long periods of time.

Ocimum basilicum basil or Holy basil may reduce stress by affecting our dopamine receptors in our central nervous system. It also helps to reduce inflammation by affecting the metabolism of particular cytokines that stimulate inflammation such as the cyclooxegenase-2 enzyme or COX-2. It has the ability to lower blood glucose by stimulating the active and healthy beta cells to increase the insulin secretion, so diabetics that are diet controlled should monitor their levels closely, and be aware of this medicinal effect. See above about talking to a professional.

The side effects can include headache, trembling, confusion, palpitations, liver cancers if taken in massive doses, and low blood glucose levels when taken medicinally. Preparation of basil includes the following:

Tea:
1 cup 2 - 3 times daily between meals tor gas and distention, 1 cup of tea three dimes daily for 8 days to reduce gas, than reduce to twice a day for the next 7 days.

As an insect repellent
rub the diluted oil of the plant (1 part essential oil to 9 parts carrier oil such as organic olive oil or sunflower oil) then rub it onto exposed areas before going outside, and as a bug repellant it would need to be re-applied after about 2 hours as the aromatic oils may evaporate.

Warning
The blood glucose lowering effects and max dose of dried leaf powder of basil is 2.5 grams daily in the morning while blood sugars are monitored to see the effect. This plant may cause the blood pressure to drop, so use caution taking basil as a supplement and monitor the blood pressure and blood glucose levels closely. As with all supplements, let your doctor know what you are taking, why you are taking it, and talk to a pharmacist that can review your current medications to look out for a drug to herb interaction prior to starting this supplement.

Planting Basil:
Aka Ocimum basilicum this is an annual plant that stands 24 inches high and has white showy flowers. Plant 10 inches apart by seed in full sun, rich soil, and protection from wind. Several times in the year go and take the top four inches off from the plant and allow for re-growth to occur. (NHM 2006, Org Encyclopedia 1941).


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