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Health Research

5 Health Benefits of Basil [Infographic]

The aromatic basil, nicknamed the “king of herbs”, has numerous medicinal uses with the first recorded use dating back to the first century. Modern researchers indicate the herb helps relieve indigestion, increases mental alertness, improves blood sugar control, and stimulates antibody production. In addition to its benefits, basil adds a mildly sweet and minty flavor to tea blends.
What is basil?
Basil is an herb that is perhaps best known for its use as a culinary spice. It does, however, have a very rich tradition of medicinal use in many regions around the world including South America and Southeast Asia. The medicinal use of basil was first described by the famous Greek physician Dioscorides in the first century AD. The herb was used then to relieve flatulence, counteract poisoning, and as a diuretic. Basil was also used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for its therapeutic properties. Today, it is used for digestive problems, kidney conditions, and other ailments.
Botanical name: Ocimum basilicum
Other names: Sweet basil, common basil, garden basil, thai basil, tulsi
Description: An annual plant that grows to 1-2 feet tall and has aromatic, oval leaves and white flowers
Habitat: Native to India and other tropical regions of Asia and is now grown around the world
Properties*: Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, carminative, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, immunomodulatory
The health benefits of basil according to research
1. Digestive Health
Basil has a long history of use for digestive problems in traditional and herbal medicine. In India, the seeds were used for treating diarrhea and constipation while the leaves were used for relieving indigestion. In traditional Thai herbalism, basil was used as a remedy for intestinal problems and as a bulk-forming laxative and diuretic. In Africa, the leaves and roots were used to treat stomach discomfort.
Modern research studies have so far confirmed the traditional uses of basil, suggesting that it may ease symptoms of indigestion (particularly when there is excessive gas) and help soothe an upset stomach. The herb has been found to relieve constipation by acting as a bulk-forming laxative in preliminary studies.
2. Energy & Brain Support
Preliminary clinical evidence suggests that inhalation of aromatherapy consisting of basil improves attention, mental alertness, and mental focus. In one particular study, people who received aromatherapy with basil reported a 21% improvement compared to placebo after just one week of treatment.
According to the International Journal of Current Research and Review, the volatile oil of basil has been found to be beneficial for the alleviation of mental fatigue. In an animal study conducted in 2012, basil extract led to better effects against fatigue, facilitated aerobic glucose metabolism, and promoted exercise performance. Researchers concluded that basil may help alleviate some of the impairments associated with physical fatigue.
3. Heart and Circulatory Health
According to some early research studies, basil extracts contain a number of plant compounds which may help counter diabetes. Researchers at the Azad University of Agriculture and Technology in India found that basil leaves improves blood sugar control and cholesterol levels, suggesting that basil could potentially be a useful and safe way to help control diabetes and its complications.
4. Immunity and Overall Health
Basil has been demonstrated to exhibit antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. In one animal study, researchers discovered its ability to stimulate the immune system by increasing the production of disease-fighting antibodies by up to 20%. This may help explain its supposed effectiveness against bacteria and its traditional uses in treating a number of infectious illnesses.
Basil may also have anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer) effects. Clinical studies published in the academic journal Nutrition and Cancer reported that basil contains phytochemicals, substances which can help naturally prevent cancer, including skin, liver, oral and lung cancers. In animal studies, basil extract demonstrated an effect against cancer while protecting normal tissue and cells from the negative effects of conventional treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy.
5. Stress & Mood Support
Basil has a mildly sedative action, and has been used to treat nervous irritability, depression, and anxiety. The herb is considered an antidepressant by some because it exerts a positive effect on brain function, helping stimulate neurotransmitters that regulate the hormones that are responsible for feelings of happiness.
According to the academic journal Pharmaceutical Biology, preliminary animal studies have found that basil extract has anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties. Researchers have suggested that it may be a potential therapeutic agent against anxiety and depression.


* These are some of the pharmacological actions that have been observed or are under study in various evidence-based research studies. Herb may have other properties not listed here.
The statements on this page are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare practitioner prior to the use of any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have allergies or medical conditions.
The information has been sourced and extracted from scientific papers, academic journals, research abstracts, and other sources. While Purify Tea makes every effort to present accurate and reliable information on this website, Purify Tea does not endorse, approve, or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficiency, timeliness, or correct sequencing of such information. Use of such information is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficiency, and timeliness. While many traditional or folkloric remedies have a long history of use, modern research has only begun to investigate and substantiate their effectiveness. Research is still ongoing in many areas therefore conclusions are subject to change.


Abdullah Ijaz Hussain, Farooq Anwar, Syed Tufail Hussain Sherazi, Roman Przybylski. “Chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of basil (Ocimum basilicum) essential oils depends on seasonal variations.” Food Chemistry. June 1, 2008;108(3):986-995.
Alia Bilal, Nasreen Jahan, Ajij Ahmed, Saima Naaz Bilal, Shahida Habib, Syeda Hajra. “Phytochemical and Pharmacological Studies on Ocimum Basilicum Linn - A Review”. Int J Cur Res Rev. December 2012;4(23):73.
"Basil." The University of Michigan Health System. University of Michigan, May 28, 2015. Web. June 7, 2016.
"Basil: An Herb Society of America Guide." Michele Meyers. The Herb Society of America, 2003. Web. June 9, 2016.
Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. New York, NY: DK Publishing, 2016. Print.
Duke J. A. Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Natural Agricultural Library. United States Department of Agriculture. Web. June 26, 2016.
Ilhami Gülçin, Mahfuz Elmastat, and Hassan Y. Aboul-Enein. “Determination of Antioxidant and Radical
Scavenging Activity of Basil (Ocimum basilicum L. Family Lamiaceae) Assayed by Different Methodologies.” Phytother. Res. January 15, 2007;(21):354–361.
M.P. Venu Prasad and Farhath Khanum. “Antifatigue Activity of Ethanolic Extract of Ocimum sanctum in Rats.” Research Journal of Medicinal Plant. 2012;6(1):37-46.
Manavi Chatterjee, Pink Verma, Rakesh Maurya, Gautam Palit. “Evaluation of ethanol leaf extract of Ocimum sanctum in experimental models of anxiety and depression”. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2011;49(5):477-483.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Therapeutic Research Center. Web. June 22, 2016.
Seung-Joo Lee, Katumi Umano, Takayuki Shibamoto, Kwang-Geun Lee. “Identification of volatile components in basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) and thyme leaves (Thymus vulgaris L.) and their antioxidant properties.” Food Chemistry. June 2005;91(1):131-137.
Sleman Kadan, Bashar Saad, Yoel Sasson, Hilal Zaid. “In vitro evaluation of antidiabetic activity and cytotoxicity of chemically analysed Ocimum basilicum extracts.” Food Chem. April 1, 2016;196:106674. Epub October 22, 2015.
United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). November 28, 2015, Web. June 26, 2016.
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