When I started my garden this past Spring with my little one (Shadow is what I call him) it was for the intent of getting him more interested in trying foods and seeing how foods many foods grow from a seed and become the foods we eat. Seeing how our foods have been hijacked by GMO’s and toxic pesticides was another reason I wanted to start taking control of more of the foods that were once deemed good for us now if they come from a store are suspect. At least I know growing in my garden what we are feeding it with and what we are using to deter pests. What started out as a learning lesson for both of us soon grew into a labor of love. I have been meeting some interesting people along the way with learning new things about gardening and getting the most out of our produce growing. I even got involved with an organization, Stir the Pot, https://www.facebook.com/HelpStirThePot that is really doing some big things with helping to feed the homeless and just all around teachers of growing your own produce.
I wanted to grow everything but I realized I was still a newbie and had more learning to do about some produce. I learned about investing in growing herbs and how beneficial and natural deterrents many of them were to many unwanted pests that were trying to get at our crops. One particular herb, basil was at the top of my list for having because for 1 I wanted to add to my spaghetti sauce, and yes the flavor is in a whole other world. The freshness is just something that will keep you from going back to store-bought. I began doing more research on this herb and my findings lead me to learn it was more than just a flavor booster in your foods but also a great asset to have for many other issues both inside and outside of the body.
Basil for Skincare Needs
As far as skin care is concerned, basil leaves are an excellent skin rejuvenate which have the potential to ward off skin diseases, thus providing you with a clearer and healthier skin. Whether eaten raw or applied as paste, basil leaves offer a host of benefits for your skin.
- Prevention of Acne and Pimples:
Basil leaves prevent the outburst of acne and pimples as they purify your blood by removing toxins. They contain anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents and you can apply a paste of these leaves mixed with sandalwood paste, neem paste or rose-water to prevent inflammation.
- Beneficial for Facial Skin:
Rubbing dried basil leaves on your face improves your facial skin in many ways, giving it a younger and fresher appearance. Applying a paste of basil leaves on your face and neck improves your skin tone.
- Prevention of Blackheads:
Basil leaves also prevent the appearance of blackheads. Wet the top side of the basil and place one leaf on each side of your nose for 5 minutes. After this take it off and wash your face.
- Treatment of Skin Infections and Ringworms:
Due to their anti-bacterial, anti-biotic and anti-fungal properties, basil leaves can restrict the growth of bacterium like E coli and B anthracis which cause skin infections. A concoction prepared by grinding and boiling 200-250 grams of basil leaves with equal quantity of sesame seed oil can be applied on the skin to cure itching. A mixture of ground basil leaves and lemon juice can be applied on the skin to treat ringworm.
Here is a wonderful recipe to help deter those pesky pimples:
- 5 basil leave
- 5 neem leaves
- 5 drops of lemon juice
- 1 tsp Honey
- Grind basil and neem leaves together to form a paste.
- Add lemon juice and honey to this paste and mix well.
- Apply mixture as a face pack and leave on for 25-30 minutes.
- Wash with water pat dry with a clean towel.
The combination of basil and neem (or Karanja oil) is very effective in fighting acne problems. Lemon works as an astringent while honey hydrates dry skin.
This little herb with the big leaves also benefits your body in these ways too:
Basil for the Body
- Treatment of Common Cold and Cough:
Basil leaves are effective in alleviating coughing and colds. Chewing fresh leaves or drinking a tea of dried basil leaves can calm coughing and relieve cold and flu. Basil leaves are used as an ingredient in cough syrups and expectorants and help to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma.
- Treatment of Sore Throat:
A concoction made by boiling basil leaves in water can be taken as a drink or used for gargling to get relief from sore throat.
- Heal Stings and Bites:
Chewing a basil leaf or applying the juice of basil leaves on the area stung or bitten by an insect will help relieve the pain as well as draw the venom out.
- Beneficial for Children:
The juice of basil leaves is extremely beneficial in case of common pediatric such as cough, cold, diarrhea and vomiting. Basil leaves taken with saffron hasten the appearance of chicken pox pustules. Children experiencing loose motion at the time of tooth eruption can be given a mixture of pomegranate juice and powder of dried basil leaves for quick relief.
- Relief from Frequent Vomiting:
If you are suffering from frequent vomiting, you can try having a mixture of basil leaves juice, ginger juice and honey for immediate relief.
- Relieve Stress and Sharpen the Mind:
Basil leaves are considered as an ‘adaptogen’ or anti-stress agent. Chewing around 12 basil leaves twice a day on a regular basis purifies your blood, prevents stress and develops a sharp mind.
- Beneficial in Cancer:
Having a mixture of 10 grams of juice of basil leaves in 20-30 grams fresh curd or 2-3 spoons of honey religiously is said to help cure cancer.
- Aid in Weight Loss and Curb Laziness:
Basil leaves taken with home-made fresh curd help in reducing excess weight and fight laziness by renewing your energy levels and facilitating new blood cells formation.
- Beneficial for Eyes:
Being rich in vitamin A, basil leaves play an important role in eye health. You can soak a few basil leaves in water and wash your eyes with them every morning and before going to bed to prevent conjunctivitis, swelling, inflammations, boils and other infections. Basil leaves act as relaxants for your eyes to sooth stress induced fine lines. Chewing a couple of basil leaves helps to ward off eye problems caused by free radicals such as vision degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. Basil leaves juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night blindness.
- Dental Health:
Basil leaves can be dried in the sun, powdered and used for brushing teeth or mixed with mustard oil to be used as toothpaste for maintaining dental health and massaging the gums. It is also effective in curing pyorrhea and other teeth disorders. The anti-bacterial agents in basil leaves prevent bacteria build up whereas the antioxidants ensure clean plaque free teeth.
- Help to Get Rid of Bad Breath:
Bad breath can be detrimental to your self-confidence. Basil leaves can be a healthy substitute to special toothpastes and chewing gums to ward off bad breath. You can chew a handful of basil leaves to prevent bad breath.
- Helpful in Quitting Smoking:
Chain smokers can try chewing basil leaves to get rid of their addiction. These can be more beneficial than nicotine patches, flavored gum or even plain candy to curb the urge. While the juice has a cooling effect on your throat, the chewing will distract you and the antioxidants will repair the damage caused due to years of smoking.
- Treatment of Kidney stones:
The juice of basil leaves taken with honey regularly for 6 months will expel kidney stones from the urinary tract.
- Relief from Headache:
Basil leaves are considered a great medicine for headache. A facial steam of dried basil leaf is effective in alleviating headache. For this purpose, add a tablespoon of dried basil leaves to 2 cups of water in a large pot. Covering your head with towel, carefully lean over the pot and breathe in the steam for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also apply pounded basil leaves mixed in sandalwood paste on your forehead to get relief from heat and headache as well as cooling effect in general.
- Treatment of Respiratory Disorders:
A decoction of basil leaves with honey and ginger is a natural remedy for respiratory disorders like bronchitis, asthma, cough and cold. A decoction made by boiling basil leaves and cloves in half a liter of water mixed with salt gives immediate relief in case of influenza.
- Good for Heart:
Basil leaves purify the blood by removing toxins. Basil leaf tea helps in controlling blood pressure. Basil leaves contain an antioxidant eugenol that helps in reducing cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks and other cardiac diseases.
One of my gardening buddies gave me(thanks Patrick) this recipe passed on this fabulous recipe to me and I am sharing with you! Please let me know how you liked it.
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed, plus 6 basil sprigs for garnish
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1. Bring basil leaves, sugar, and 2 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and bruise basil leaves. Simmer 5 minutes without stirring. Strain, pressing on basil to remove liquid. Cool.
2. Pour 2 cups basil syrup into large pitcher. Stir in lemon juice and 4 cups water. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill well. Serve over ice, garnished with basil sprigs.