For relief from headaches to youthful skin, look no further than basil
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Basil is derived from the Latin word ‘basileus’, which translates to ‘king’, suggestive of the way this herb was seen in ancient times — noble and sacred. India isn’t alien to the herb’s myriad uses – be it for religious or medicinal purposes. Worshipped in many households, this plant marks a place of importance for itself in Ayurveda, thanks to its antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. 

What’s on my plate: 

If you haven’t yet treated yourself to the herb’s many wonders, it’s high time you do. From taking care of your body, both inside and out to add a boost of ‘health’ to your daily diet, its superpowers go beyond simply bringing positive energy or fighting cold and flu.   

Superpowers: 

Basil, one of the oldest and most useful health tonics that all grandmas swear by, is actually key to a whole new and improved health and beauty routine.  There’s almost nothing that this plant can’t handle. 

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Manages stress 

Always stressed? Don’t let stress take the better of you. Ayurveda believes that tulsi leaves could be the answer to all your stress-related problems. Tulsi leaves work as an ‘adaptogen’ or an anti-stress agent. An online study suggests that tulsi “is a safe herbal intervention” that can help maintain the normal levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body and also help keep a check on blood pressure levels. To reap the benefits of this natural medicine, you could chew on about 10 to 12 fresh tulsi leaves daily. These leaves can help soothe nerves, regulate blood circulation and even help get rid of free radicals, all of which are common side effects of stress.  

Youthful skin 

Your grandma was definitely onto something when she’d ask you to apply some tulsi on that nasty pimple. Turns out tulsi has purifying properties and eating its leaves, drinking its juice or applying it topically as a face or hair pack can make it your natural beauty potion. Say no to acne and blemishes by embracing the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of tulsi. Besides, it helps balance the pH levels of your hair and scalp, helping get rid of any product build-up, thereby stimulating better circulation to hair follicles and strengthening hair roots. Goodbye hair fall!

What's more, when consumed internally, it can help purify blood, giving you a natural glow from inside out. All you have to do is grind a handful of freshly washed and dried tulsi leaves. Next, mix the powder with some warm coconut oil and massage your scalp with it. For the face, grind some tulsi leaves and apply directly over affected areas. You could also throw in some sandalwood powder or turmeric powder to up your beauty regimen. Doing this once a week should help achieve an acne-free skin.   

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Beats the flu 

Chuck away all those over-the-counter medicines and instead go all natural by embracing the goodness of tulsi, the next time you’re under the weather. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that tulsi leaves help stimulate the production of immune cells, preventing and helping the body ward off any infections. It’s mainly the anti-bacterial and antibiotic properties of this herb that help bring down a fever or provide relief from cold.

You can directly chew on some fresh tulsi leaves, preferably on an empty stomach, once or twice a day. Else, boil around a handful of fresh tulsi leaves with one-two teaspoons of cardamom powder in half a litre of water. Once boiled, reduce the heat and let the concoction reduce to half its volume. To get rid of the bitterness, you could use some honey and sip on this miracle drink several times a day. Tulsi leaves also have the potential to cure any other fever, be it due to dengue, malaria or other common infections, and even insect bites according to this study. In case of an insect bite, either mix a handful of fresh leaves in your bath water or apply the fresh juice directly on the affected skin.

Bid adieu to headaches

Tulsi has pain relieving and decongestant properties, thereby making it the best natural cure for headaches. If you are suffering from a headache caused due to sinusitis, allergies, cold or even migraines, simply boil a handful of tulsi leaves in two cups of water and let cool. Soak a clean piece of cloth in it, wring out the excess water and gently place this on your forehead to treat a headache. Alternatively, you can also add a few drops of tulsi oil or extract to the water. Additionally, you can also reap the benefits of its cooling effects by making yourself a paste of ground basil leaves and sandalwood. Apply this to your forehead, sit back and feel relaxed and calm.

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Other health benefits 

The fungicidal and antibacterial properties of this herb can help destroy bacteria in your mouth, helping you keep your chompers in good health and your mouth always smelling fresh. Natural that it is, basil’s effect can last longer than store-bought mouth fresheners. Basil can also help soothe ulcers in the mouth. Consider mixing a pinch of dried tulsi leaves powder with your regular toothpaste while brushing your teeth once in a while. Tulsi is also known to work wonders in case of a sore throat. All you’ve got to do is boil a few leaves in some water and use that to gargle your mouth every two hours. 

Where to buy:

While it’s best to grow your own plant, you can also find this medicinal herb at almost every high-end supermarket in your city or at your local vegetable vendor. 

Eat this: 

While you can throw in a few basil leaves in almost every dish from your parathas to your smoothies, you could start small by making yourself a warm bowl of soup on a gloomy day. After a long day at work, you could rewind in style by fixing yourself an alcoholic drink, leaving you refreshed and also hitting you at the right spot. You can pair your booze with this spicy appetizer for the perfect evening. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, experiment with some unique flavours by making yourself this yummy pasta.  

Now that you know the health benefits of basil, here are some basil recipes to get you started!

Discover More Superfoods
Rich in nutritional value, superfoods are the easiest way to boost the health quotient of your daily meals. To discover more superfood ingredients, check out the rest of our superfood series:
Amla: This superfood can fix every part of your body! Don't believe us? Read on to find out the health benefits of amla.

Ashwagandha: Can't get sleep? Check out the sleep-inducing and other health-promoting properties of the Ayurveda approved Ashwagandha.

Black Carrots: You’ve seen the red ones and you’ve seen the orange ones, but ever witnessed black carrots? Check out how they look and their many health benefits.

Brahmi: Are you afraid of the increasing rates of Alzheimer’s disease? Include this superfood in your diet to boost your brain health. Read about the other health benefits of Brahmi.

Camu Camu: One of the richest sources of Vitamin C, this superfood comes all the way from the Amazon rainforest! Read about its health benefits.

Chia Seeds: This Mexican native is now being used in many Indian kitchens. Check out the various health benefits of chia seeds.

Chilli: Do you love to eat spicy food? Well, good news! Check out how those spicy chilies boost your health.

Dandelion: Not only do they brighten up your garden, but dandelions also boost your health. Confused about how you can include this flower in your diet? We have answers for you right here.

Hog Plum: Looking for a remedy to cure ulcers? Tired of getting diarrhea every time you eat out? Hog plum can come to your rescue! Check out the amazing health benefits of this not so popular superfood.

Jamun: Apart from tinting your tongue purple, jamun has several medicinal properties. Here’s why you must include jamun in your diet.

Kale: Coming across a lot of kale in salads, pizza toppings, and even chips? Check out why kale has suddenly topped the charts for being a healthy option.

Karela: Reading this will prevent you from screwing up your face every time someone mentions karela.  

Kokum: Along with being a refreshing summer drink, kokum also helps you shed extra kilos. Find out more about the sour and fruity kokum.

Makhana or Lotus Seeds: It is rapidly becoming the choice of snack for weight watchers. Check out the nutrient profile of this incredible superfood.

Moringa or Drumstick: Looking to boost your iron and calcium levels? Don’t restrict yourself to just meat and milk. Know more about moringa and how this superfood can be made a part of your diet.

Mushrooms: These fungi are loaded with nutrients. Click here to know why you should be consuming them more often.

Muskmelon: The juicy and aromatic muskmelon has several health-boosting properties. Find out more about this nutritious fruit.

Ragi: This grain has made its way into the plates of many. From ragi dosa and idli to ragi porridge, it is being promoted in the diets of old and young. Find out why health experts are recommending this superfood.

Sabja: Slurped a tall glass of falooda? If it had sabja seeds, you have no reason to feel guilty. Click here to know why!

Sacha Inchi: These nut-like seeds are rich in omega-3. Check out the other health benefits they have in store for you!

Sweet Potato: A rich source of Vitamin A and fiber, sweet potato is a great alternative to the white potato. Take a look at all the reasons why you need to include it in your diet.

Tofu: Often known as the vegan cousin of paneer, tofu is derived from soybean and comes loaded with protein and minerals. Read more about the health benefits of tofu.

Turmeric: Think twice before you say no to “haldi wala doodh”. Find out why your grandma trusts turmeric for every infection.

Zucchini: Did you know that you can use your favorite zucchini not only in pasta and pizza but also in a cake? Wondering how it’s possible? Click here to know more.


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