Basil is most known for its culinary uses
What isn’t as well know are the various other herbal uses of Basil. It is a traditional remedy that has been used in various cultures for hundreds of years for many uses besides cooking. These are my top uses:
- Basil Pesto- This culinary use is one of Basil’s most popular uses and variations of this are used in cultures around the world.
- General Cooking- Dried basil can be easily added to practically any dish. Basil is used around the world in many different cuisines with good reason. It adds a depth and flavor that is not rivaled by other herbs. You can make a homemade spice blend that includes basil and add it to practically anything.
- Calming the Stomach- The Italians may be on to something with adding Basil to everything. It is thought to have a calming effect on the stomach and 1/2 teaspoon of dried or fresh. Basil Leaf in water can often help sooth indigestion and alleviate feelings of fullness.
- Coughing and Colds- I’ve heard several Amish in our area suggest using Basil leaf to help alleviate coughing and colds. They chew fresh leaves to calm coughing or make a calming tea of dried basil to help sooth illness.
- Facial Steam for Headache: A facial steam with dried basil leaf can help alleviate a headache. Add a tablespoon of dried basil leaf to 2 cups of boiling water in a large pot. Carefully lean over the pot, cover head with a towel and breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes until headache starts to subside. Bonus, you get to smell like an Italian restaurant for the rest of the day!
- Antibiotic properties: According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “European scientists are investigating the use of basil oil as treatment for antibiotic resistant infections with Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, and Pseudomonas.”
- Stings and Bites: If you are working outside and get bitten or stung by an insect and don’t have any Plantain growing nearby, chewing up a basil leaf and applying to the bite will help relieve the pain and draw out the venom.
- Ear Infections: According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “The essential oil is antibacterial, and drops of basil oil may relieve ear infections.”
- Blood sugar: There is some evidence that Basil can help level out blood sugar if consumed regularly and drank as a juice or tea.
- Stress Reduction: One herbalist I know suggests adding 2 cups of strong Basil Leaf tea to a warm bath to help reduce stress and facilitate relaxation.