Basil, also known as sweet basil, is a wonderful herb that has a wealth of uses in the kitchen - it is often used in Italian and Asian cuisine, making it a staple in countless recipes. And while it does add a uniquely delicious aroma and flavor to our food, it has other uses too. In fact, not only does basil have a number of medicinal properties (it can be used as an antibiotic, to balance blood sugar levels and reduce stress), it also has various skin and hair benefits as well.
Good to Know! Basil is a relatively easy herb to grow. Bear in mind that it is a delicate leaf, and prefers warm and sunny conditions. It is especially sensitive to frost. It may thrive better as an indoor herb, especially by a sunny kitchen windowsill.
So, let's take a look at what other things you can do with basil:
12 Alternative Uses for Basil
1. Use it to calm the stomach: Basil is thought to be especially beneficial for indigestion, and is known to alleviate feelings of fullness. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of dried or fresh basil leaves to a glass of water.
2. Use it to soothe a cough and a cold: Basil leaves may help alleviate a cough and a cold. Just chew on a couple of fresh leaves or make a calming tea of dried basil to help alleviate the symptoms.
3. Use it to alleviate a headache: A facial steam with dried basil leaves may help soothe a headache. To reap the benefits, add a tablespoon of dried basil leaves to 2 cups of boiling water in a large pot. Carefully lean over the pot, cover your head with a towel and breathe in the steam for 5 to 10 minutes. The headache should start to subside.
4. Use it to soothe stings and bites: For insect stings and bites, chew on a basil leaf and apply it to the bite to help relieve the pain and draw out the venom.
5. Use it to soothe an ear infection: The essential oil of basil contains antibacterial properties and may be used to help alleviate an ear infection.
6. Use it to keep blood sugar levels in check: While not thoroughly looked into, some studies indicate that Basil can help level out blood sugar if consumed regularly and drunk as a juice or tea.
7. Use it to calm nerves and reduce stress: Herbalists recommend adding 2 cups of strong basil leaf tea to a warm bath, to help reduce stress and facilitate relaxation.
8. Use it to improve skin tone: Sagging skin is a problem commonly observed in the cheeks, jowls and neck. To improve your skin tone, mix dried basil leaves with water and apply to the face with a cotton ball on a regular basis, especially before going to bed.
9. Use it to defy aging: To reap the benefits, apply a face mask made of fresh basil leaves and coconut oil, to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Coconut oil will make for an excellent base as it deeply hydrates skin cells, while basil's antioxidant activity helps ward off and even reverse free radical damage.
10. Use it to heal ringworm: This fungal infection is highly contagious. Get rid of it by crushing some basil leaves with a few drops of lemon juice, then apply it to infected areas.
12. Use it to control dandruff: Basil has incredible anti-fungal and antioxidant properties, and may therefore be used as an all-natural treatment for dandruff. Just crush lots of basil leaves and combine with some coconut oil (ideal for its hydrating properties) then massage into the scalp and shampoo after a couple of minutes.