10 Unusual Ways to Use Basil
|Written by Aylin Erman|
Branch out beyond pesto or marinara and discover ten new uses of basil that are beyond ordinary. Its fragrance and taste are but a clue of how powerful basil truly is for your health and beauty. From settling an upset stomach to preventing cancer, basil is a small, but potent herb to improve your health.
Infuse your tea with the aromas of fresh basil! Collect three tablespoons of chopped fresh basil and add them to a tea pot. Pour two cups of boiling water into the teapot and let it steep for about five minutes. Pour tea through a sieve to remove the leaves. Sweeten with stevia or honey.
2. Upset Stomach Relief
Use basil to help you relieve an upset stomach. Basil contains a compound in its oils called eugenol, which is helpful in treating gastric ailments.
3. Cancer Prevention
Due to basil’s high anti-oxidant content, it may be useful in the prevention of cancer. Phenolics are a group of organic compounds that account for most of basil’s antioxidant properties. Anthocyanins are a subtype of phenolics and responsible for the pigmentation of purple basils. Purple basils contain up to 126 milligrams of phenolics per gram, which is half the amount found in green tea. Ultimately, phenolics are linked to cancer prevention and make a health-facilitating part of the diet. Basil’s apigenen content also helps to reduce DNA oxidative damage, stall the growth of leukemia cells, and induce cancer cell death.
4. Homemade Pasta
This isn’t what you think. Instead of garnishing pasta with fresh basil, add fresh basil leaves to pasta dough before shaping them into noodles. This way, you create both a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
5. Acne Treatment
Basil acts as an antiseptic and thus helps to clear acne-causing bacteria as well as improve circulation to the skin, giving you a healthy glow. Basil’s oils pack the antiseptic power are you can benefit from ingesting basil or applying it topically.
6. Ice Cubes
Give regular ice cubes a boost by adding fresh leaves to the ice cube tray before freezing. After freezing, add the cubes to a glass of water to infuse it both with an impressive look and delicately fresh taste.
7. Immune System Boost
Basil contains apigenin, which is a bioflavonoid generally found in leafy plants and vegetables and contributes to a healthy immune system. Be sure to include basil in your diet, especially during the winter months.
8. Salads and Sandwiches
Instead of using regular lettuce in your salads and sandwiches, give things a big boost by adding fresh basil to the mix. You can completely replace lettuce in sandwiches with fresh basil, but only add a handful to a salad as to not overwhelm the taste buds.
9. Heart Health
Basil is a good source of magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health. Magnesium allows the muscles and blood vessels to relax, which improves blood flow and reduces the risk of irregular heart rhythms.
10. Ice Cream
Have you heard of the one-ingredient ice cream? Well, why not make it, only with a lighter touch – a handful of fresh basil – blended into the mix? Simply take 2 bananas, peel them, chop them into pieces, place them in a sealed plastic bag, and pop them into the freezer. Once the bananas have frozen, place the pieces along with a handful of fresh basil leaves into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add honey or another sweetener to taste.