Basil Health Benefits and Side Effects

Written by: Christopher Karam | ✔️ Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Riad M., M.D - G.P and Micheal B., M.D | Last Updated: 2020 April 27

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a culinary herb that’s part of the Lamiaceae family of mints. Basil can help with providing pain relief from many common diseases and complications like chronic inflammation.

The plants and herbs in the family of mints have a variety of health and mental benefits. These natural remedies can help cure many common issues for the majority of people.

Basil is native to warm, tropical counties spanning from central Africa to Southeast Asia. Although it’s well known for being used in Italian cuisine, it’s also included in Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes.

bunch of basil plants

Originally thought to have been grown in India, basil has been growing throughout Asia for more than 5,000 years and today it is grown in virtually every country around the world. It’s possible to grow basil within your home as well, as it doesn’t need a lot of direct sunlight.

Because holy basil has so many health benefits and few side effects, it’s one of the most widely used herbs around the world. From professional chefs to casual home cooks, it’s a very versatile and healthy cooking ingredient.

It helps increase the flavor profile of culinary recipes while also providing relief by reducing inflammation since basil has anti-aging and antibacterial properties.

Here’s the list of all of the different varieties of basil, each having a unique aroma, taste, appearance, and price:

  • Holy basil

  • Sweet basil (Ocimum Tenuiflorum)

  • Italian basil

  • Thai basil

Although there are many varieties of cooking basil, sweet basil is the most commonly sold variation of the herb. It’s found in most grocery stores because of it’s sweet scent and taste coming from one of its essential oils called eugenol. Popularized for its use in pesto sauce, dried basil is more practical for making certain foods and sauces using basil as a base.

Basil plants can be grown in outdoor gardens or kept indoors, making it so that it’s always readily available for cooking. It’s a good idea to have fresh growing basil plants in your home because it’s a very healthy plant that can add a large amount of vitamins and nutrition to your diet.

Many varieties of dried basil leaves have historically been used for embalming purposes, medical applications, and heavily used in the cooking and health industries. In the form of a dried herb, it’s best paired with lemon to extract the most nutrition and vitamins from the basil herbs.

Throughout history, basil leaves were only used by royalty, however today it’s used by everyone through their recipes and in their kitchen pantry. Certain brands of multivitamins used basil extract in their recipes for their high levels of vitamin A.

There are tremendous health benefits to using basil daily, it can significantly increase the flavor profile of your food, make your dishes healthier, and also increase the health of your gut, skin, and mood.

holy basil leaves

Basil Health Benefits

Holy basil is a sweet-tasting herb that has many culinary and health-boosting uses due to its good flavor, availability, low price, as well as its ability to complement multiple cooking styles and foods.

Basil has many powerful health benefits that stem from its list of healthy essential oils:

  • Methyl-cinnamate

  • Geraniol

  • Eugenol

  • Methyl-eugenol

The combined health benefits of these oils give basil’s potent ability to reduce inflammation, detoxify multiple organs, reduce stress and muscular tension, and has antibacterial, antimicrobial, as well as antifungal properties.

1. Basil Helps With Digestion and Nutrient Absorption

Indigestion affects tens of millions of people worldwide which inhibits your ability to have a healthy life. Basil is a cooking ingredient that’s easy to include in your diet, full of flavor, and benefits your digestive system in many ways.

Basil is a healthy herb filled with antioxidants that improve digestion and nutrient absorption of food, as well as having the benefit of preventing digestive complications while or after eating.

The eugenol is an allylbenzene essential oil that can be found in all versions of basil herbs, having anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent the digestive tract from swelling, retaining water, and bloating.

Here's the list of foods that pair well and increase the health benefits of basil:

  • Vegetables such as: tomato (as well as sun dried tomatoes and tomato paste), garlic, eggplant, corn, potato and sweet potatoes, broccoli, zucchini, squash, artichokes, mushrooms, green beans, salad greens, onions, and bell peppers.

  • Cooking oils and vinegar such as: olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil (not recommended), vegetable oil (not recommended), coconut oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, balsamic vinegar, red and white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, and rice vinegar.

  • Essential infused oils such as: bergamot oil, grapefruit oil, lemon oil, black pepper oil, ginger oil, fennel oil, geranium oil, lavender oil, and neroli oil.

  • Nuts such as: pine nuts, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachio, pecans, and almonds.

  • Breads and cereals such as: toast, baguettes, pasta and pasta salad, whole grain rice, pumpernickel, quinoa, oats, naan bread, and pita bread.

  • Meats and proteins such as: beef and game meats, chicken, poultry, lamb, fish (as well as seafood, crustaceans, and shellfish), cold cuts and sausages, as well as eggs.

  • Dairy products such as: yogurt and cheese, especially parmesan cheese, feta cheese, and mozzarella.

  • Herbs and spices such as: bay, chives, cilantro, garlic, oregano, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, Italian seasoning, red peppers, dill, chili powder, ginger, salt, vanilla, cumin, cinnamon, mustard, turmeric, spinach, clove, marjoram, curry powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and Chinese five-spice.

  • Fruits such as: strawberries, lemon, watermelon, lime, oranges, blueberries, raspberries, apricots, mango, avocado, and other stone fruits as well as berries.

Most of the health benefits of basil help improve digestion as well as the overall health of your digestive system.

Consuming this herb regularly improves the balance of acid in the stomach, also helping with digestion and nutrient absorption effects of the small intestines.

lemon basil linguine pasta with peas

2. Has Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties

Recent studies have shown that basil has many antibacterial agents. Its essential oils contain antibacterial agents that are found in each variation which can:

A recent study displayed its use for food preservation since basil also has antimicrobial effects, making it very effective at killing germs, bacteria, and certain viruses.

All of these antimicrobial effects reside within its essential oils, which may help reduce the growth of certain bacteria and microbes within the body, keeping you healthier.

3. Basil Improves Skin Health

One of the common uses for basil is for skincare, it’s a powerful cleanser since it’s full of powerful antioxidants and essential oils.

Basil helps cleanse the skin and protects it from environmental damage, stress, and wrinkles as well as signs of ageing from a loss of collagen.

Many studies have shown that when its essential oils are used in skin cleansers, it has helped to remove dirt and oils that are clogged in your pores in all patients.

The antibacterial properties that are found in all basil plants can keep germs and bacteria from growing on your skin as well which can also prevent acne, blemishes, and other skin infections.

It’s anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial agents can also keep your skin looking rejuvenated and radiant by reducing any swelling and preventing acne.

You can also make a homemade skin cleanser or paste from basil leaves to help see the results that it can have on your skin.

4. Reduces Symptoms of Depression

Clinical depression is a serious complex mood disorder that affects over 323 million people globally and is still growing.

Many people believe that the only way to treat clinical depression is with prescription antidepressants as well as other drugs. However, this is not the case nor is it your only option.

Clinical depression can be alleviated through many different practices such as:

  1. Meditation

  2. Exercise

  3. Proper and health eating

  4. Volunteer work

  5. Helping someone else

  6. Improving posture and body language

  7. Opening up and releasing bottled up emotions

  8. Increasing your confidence (knowing that everything will work out in time. This is a phase and not a permanent part of your life.)

  9. Seeking help from others

Through dieting, holy basil can have tremendous health benefits for those suffering from depression and it’s symptoms.

It may also help enhance, stimulate, and normalize neurotransmitters in the brain which can increase your energy as well as brighten your mood, making you happier.

Many studies showed that consuming holy basil regularly can:

  • Reduce oxidative stress and enhance neurotransmitter activity in multiple brain regions

  • Improve immune system, ECG and corticosteroid hormonal responses

  • Minimize physical, mental, and metabolic stress

  • Protects against infections

Recent studies have found that its antioxidants can reduce stress levels which can help to reduce the symptoms of depression.

basil plants and buds

5. Decreases Physical, Metabolic, and Muscular Stress

Everyone experiences metabolic, physical, and muscular stress that can build up and can cause many complications if stress levels remain too high for an extended period. Some ways to combat and reduce stress include:

  • Mediation and relaxation

  • A healthy diet

  • Exercises used to build muscle mass

  • Cardio such as walking, jogging, or running

Regarding a healthy diet, recent studies have tested some of the healthy compounds found in basil and found that it was able to reduce metabolic and muscular stress.

Better helping people cope better with varying stress levels which enables them to live a healthier life. The anti-inflammatory properties found in basil’s antioxidants (vitamin A and vitamin K) will also reduce swelling in the brain preventing:

  • Tension headaches

  • Migraine headaches

  • Cluster headaches

  • Sinus headaches and pressure

  • Cranial neuralgias

  • Fibromyalgia

Basil also increases the strength of your immune system. When your immune system is working efficiently, you tend to have lower levels of stress overall.

Its ability to efficiently and drastically reduce muscular, physical, and metabolic stress is one of the greatest health benefits of basil. A powerful cooking ingredient that helps keep your stress at a healthy level, improving the quality of your life.

6. Can Reduce Symptoms of Diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes affect over 465 million people worldwide, while over 107 million U.S adults currently have diabetes or prediabetes.

Holy basil is a potent, readily available, and healthy herb that has been heavily studied and concluded that it helps prevent and manage both type 1 and tp 2 diabetes as well as their symptoms.

All forms of basil slow the release of sugar to your blood, reducing and stabilizing blood sugar levels throughout the day.

The most common issue that encourages the development of diabetes is simple carbs and refined sugars, both of which spikes your blood sugar and is followed by a sharp drop.

This leads to an increased hunger frequency and an abnormal release of insulin. If done over many years will cause so much damage to your pancreas where it will struggle to secrete insulin at all, which keeps your blood sugar levels high and develops into diabetes.

Its ability to slow the release of glucose, helps lower and stabilize your blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Those who currently have diabetes struggle to keep their blood sugar levels within a safe and healthy range (80 to 100 while fasting, 170 to 200 after just eating).

Including basil regularly into your diet can help manage and reduce your blood sugar levels. Improving the quality of life of people suffering from diabetes.

sweet basil plants

7. Basil Reduces Blood Pressure

The essential oils that are found within this plant can improve your blood pressure. Basil is high in eugenol, a phenylpropanoid compound, eugenol is used in modern medicine to alleviate diseases and issues such as:

  1. Hypertension

  2. Headaches and dizziness

  3. High blood pressure

  4. Atherosclerosis

  5. Blurred vision and nausea

  6. Peripheral artery disease

  7. Kidney disease

  8. Chest pains and shortness of breath

  9. Obstructive sleep apnea

  10. Fusarium wilt (pathogen causing cardiovascular wilt fungal disease)

Eugenol also helps lower blood pressure because it helps dilate arteries as well as cerebral veins, allowing more blood to pass through your cardiovascular system with ease.

If you have high blood pressure you should try using basil essential oils or extracts to reduce your cholesterol levels as well as your triglycerides.

In a clinical study, eugenol lowered stress-induced cholesterol in the liver, kidney, and hearts of individuals who took basil extract that day.

8. Supports Healthy Liver Function

Basil has a variety of antioxidants and antibacterial properties that can help detoxify your body and supports good liver function.

The antibacterial oils may reduce the build-up of fat in the liver which protects it from diseases, infections, as well as improving it’s functioning and health.

Basil also prevents the build-up of fat around the liver, keeping your liver healthy and reduces the risk of:

  • Lysosomal Acid Lipase Deficiency (LALD)

  • Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis (PFIC)

  • Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

  • Cirrhosis

When the liver is functioning optimally, it benefits your immune system’s health and maintains a healthy digestive system. The main health benefits on the liver stem from basil’s antibacterial properties.

9. Relieves Stomach Aches

Everyone suffers from occasional stomach aches and pains associated with consuming poor quality foods or from eating foods you're intolerant to.

Basil has many other health benefits, it’s been shown in multiple recent studies to reduce common symptoms that cause stomach pains such as:

  • Stomach spasms

  • Excess intestinal gas

  • Loss of appetite

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Diarrhea

  • Acid reflux disease

  • Constipation

holy basil plants

The anti-inflammatory properties, antibacterial agents, and antioxidants found in basil’s essential oils can reduce bloating and indigestion, counteracting some of these harmful stomach complications.

The antioxidants found in its essential oils can also restore the pH levels in the stomach and reduce acid reflux.

10. Basil’s Flavor Complements Many Recipes

The sweet flavor of fresh basil can enhance the flavor and overall taste of many different foods, ingredients, as well as recipes.

Chefs and everyday home cooks can use basil effectively, by keeping a fresh plant in their homes make it so that they can add it to any dish with ease.

Using basil as a garnish, chopped or layered on top of a dish can improve the presentation and adds a depth of flavor. Several recipes highlight all of basil’s uses to maximize its sweet flavor and benefits.

11. Good Nutrition Facts and Macronutrients

If you are looking for a natural way to improve your overall health and add substantial nutritional value to your diet you should include basil into your diet, meals, and recipes. The nutritional value per 100 grams of basil:

  • Calories: 22 Kilocalories (Kcals)

  • Fat: 0.64 grams (g)

  • Carbohydrates: 2.65 g

  • Dietary fiber: 1.6 g

  • Protein: 3.15 g

  • Water: 92 g

  • Sodium: 4 milligrams (mg)

  • Vitamin A: 264 micrograms (mcg)

  • Vitamin B6: 0.156 mcg

  • Vitamin C: 18 mg

  • Vitamin E: 0.8 mg

  • Vitamin K: 414.7 mcg

  • Calcium: 177 mg

  • Riboflavin: 0.07 mg

  • Choline: 11.5 mg

  • Thiamine: 0.033 mcg

  • Niacin: 0.9 mg

  • Folate: 68 mcg

  • Iron: 3.17 mg

  • Magnesium: 64 mg

  • Manganese: 1.15 mg

  • Potassium: 295 mg

  • Zinc: 0.81 mg

Additionally, basil is also used in many supplements such as multivitamins. Multivitamins usually include potent foods and plants like basil, because it can improve your diet and nutrition by using a small dose.

Most multivitamins also contain mint, spinach, ginseng, fruits as well as other concentrated extracts. Taking these forms of multivitamins can drastically improve your overall health due to all of the nutrition, as well as essential vitamins and minerals that are part of a healthy diet.

Basil Side Effects and Detriments

With all of the health benefits of basil, it wouldn’t come without its list of side effects as well. It’s generally safe in man cases but it’s best to be careful if you suffering from any fertility and blood-related complications.

Holy basil can seriously affect fertility, pregnancy, blood sugar levels, and increase ease of external as well as internal bleeding. A safe dosage should be around 655 to 1800 milligrams (0.6 to 1.8 grams) per day, depending on the person.

Additionally, if you’re taking any prescribed blood thinners or supplement with holy basil extracts, it could lead to dangerously low blood pressure levels which can cause a variety of other side effects.

1. Can Drastically Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Many clinical studies have shown that basil can severely lower blood sugar levels in some people if taken in large quantities in a short period. If your blood glucose levels drop too low you can experience serious side effects such as:

  • Feeling irritable or weak

  • Lightheaded or dizzy

  • Feeling overly anxious or nervous

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Blurred vision

  • Excess sweating

  • Headaches

  • Feeling cold and lower internal body temperature

  • Hunger

growing basil plants in a farm

These issues can be aggravated if you already suffer from any of these chronic complications. If you have diabetes or any other condition where you need to monitor your blood sugar levels, avoid consuming more than 30 grams of fresh or dried basil.

2. Increased Risk of Liver Cancer

Basil contains an organic compound named estragole which directly caused liver cancer, lung cancer in many studies involving mice. Over consuming may increase your risk of developing liver cancer.

Moderate amounts (30 to 40 grams/day) improve the health of your liver, recent studies have shown that taking basil extract regularly can increase the risk of getting liver cancer.

Estragole is an essential oil used in fragrances, but not exceeding 0.02% of the liquid volume. It has multiple studies proving it’s carcinogenicity in and around the liver of rodents such as mice.

While this side effect is still being studied and confirmed within humans, evidence shows that the estragole chemical severely increases the risk of liver cancer in animal trials.

Those with a history of liver cancer or other complications should not take large quantities of basil in either of it’s dried or extracted forms.

Reducing the volume to around 20 to 30 milligrams of basil used in your diet per day. Additionally, if you have a history of cancer, consult a medical professional before making significant changes to your diet since it can put your health at risk.

3. Prevents Blood Clotting

If you have any bleeding disorders or blood pressure complications you should consult a medical professional before adding or increasing your intake since it can aggravate and worsen existing symptoms.

The otherwise healthy essential oils found in basil can slow down blood clotting and ultimately increase bleeding.

Since it thins your blood, this increases the likelihood, rate, and severity of any bleeding. You must not consume large quantities of fresh or dried basil before surgery.

Doctors and medical professionals recommend that you shouldn’t have basil for at least 2 weeks before any major surgery, this also applies to minor surgeries.

Medical professionals such as doctors as well as certified nutritionists and dietitians can tell you how many grams of basil you should add to your diet to remain healthy.

4. May Lower Blood Pressure to Dangerous Levels

If you have high blood pressure, herb extracts may help lower your blood pressure to a safe level and can maintain a healthy level throughout the day.

However, it also presents the risk of dropping your blood pressure too low, if you already have low blood pressure levels, you should avoid specifically taking basil extract.

Consult a doctor, nutritionist, or your medical professional before adding basil extract or basil essential oils to your diet if you have low blood glucose to avoid being diagnosed with hypoglycemia.

Very low blood glucose may put you at risk for several health problems such as:

  • Nervousness, trembling, and muscle spasms

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness

  • Frequent sweating

  • Constant hunger

  • Heart palpitations

  • Weakness in the muscular and nervous system

basil plant in a pot

5. Holy Basil May Reduce Fertility and Chances of Pregnancy

Many animal studies have shown that holy basil should not be taken when trying to get pregnant because it can reduce the ability of attachment to the uterus.

This can cause several serious fertility and health complications for those who are currently pregnant and for women trying to get pregnant.

Holy basil can also reduce the ability to carry long-term, it’s best to avoid it entirely before and while at any stage during pregnancy. Post-pregnancy, essential oils can benefit your breastmilk supply and breastmilk production.

For men, this also negatively affects sperm count. People using holy basil in their daily diets while pregnant may put themselves at risk for premature delivery, delivery, term length, reduced ability to lactate, and infertility.

Rating and Recommendation

Recommended

Overall, basil is a wonderful herb that’s used for its versatile and sweet flavor for cooking, as well as its supplemental use due to all of its health benefits.

Fresh basil can be added to a variety of foods and recipes to boost the flavor and nutritional value of your dishes. Many chefs and cooks of various backgrounds use it to enhance the flavor of many dishes.

Healthcare and medical professionals prescribe basil extract since it’s a natural, healthy, nutritionally dense ingredient loaded with health benefits.

Basil is one of the most commonly used cooking ingredients that’s also used in medicinal chemistry because it can add and supplement for missing nutrition from your daily diet and improve the health of many people with various complications, diseases, and conditions.

Here’s the full list of the health benefits of basil:

  1. Basil helps with digestion and nutrient absorption

  2. Has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties

  3. Improves skin health

  4. Reduces symptoms of depression

  5. Decreases physical, metabolic, and muscular stress

  6. Can reduce symptoms of diabetes

  7. Reduces blood pressure

  8. Supports healthy liver function

  9. Relieves stomach aches

  10. Basil's flavor complements many recipes

  11. Good nutrition facts and macronutrients

If you suffer from depression or diabetes, have high blood pressure, glucose or cholesterol levels, and are looking to improve your overall health you may want to consider making it a part of your daily diet. Going through the added revision of a medical professional.

You can also find basil in a variety of vitamin supplements due to its dense nutritional value. While it has a large number of health benefits, there are also some serious side effects that you need to consider.

basil leaves and stems

Here’s the list of side effects of basil:

  1. Can drastically lower blood sugar levels

  2. Increased risk of liver cancer

  3. Prevents blood clotting

  4. May lower blood pressure to dangerous levels

  5. Holy basil may reduce fertility and chances of pregnancy

Studies show that it may lower your blood sugar levels too low, which can reduce the ability for your blood to clot and in serious cases can even cause liver cancer.

If you have a history of low blood sugar or pressure levels you should not take any whatsoever. You should also avoid basil completely from your diets 2 weeks before an upcoming surgery.

For people currently suffering from cancer, liver cancer, or who have a history of cancer should also avoid adding it to their diets because multiple animal studies found an increased risk of developing liver cancer.

All in all, basil is a natural and healthy ingredient that has great health benefits with potentially serious side effects.

If you don’t suffer from any of the conditions mentioned above you can freely enjoy adding basil to your diet and nutrition, with moderation, between 655 to 1800 milligrams (0.6 to 1.8 grams).

Just adding a bit to your food can increase the flavor of any dish substantially and improves your overall health, which is why it’s a recommended ingredient to add to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Basil has many uses in cooking recipes as well as medicinal remedies. Basil is great for cooking and has multiple medicinal uses.

For cooking, you can use a good amount of basil, around 1 leaf for every cup (200 grams) of any food you're preparing.

Having a strong pungent, sweet, and slightly peppery taste it can be a great replacement for black pepper if it happens to be too spicy for you.

The flavour profile of basil makes it perfect for Italian cuisine since it's perfectly paired with tomatoes, beef, olive oil, cheese (like mozzarella), and garlic which are all commonly used in Italian cooking, and the main ingredient for pesto.

You could either add the basil leaves to your dish while cooking or as a garnish over your finished meals.

Cooking with basil will deepen the flavour while using it as a garnish makes for better presentation. If you're looking to use it for both cases, you need to add less basil while cooking.

Basil has many health benefits that are used for medicinal remedies, due to all of its essential oils. Basil is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal which makes it potent for treating everything from upset stomachs to insects as well as snake bites.

Here's the full list of the medicinal health benefits for basil:

1. Used for treating stomach aches

2. Reducing inflammation

3. Treating stomach spasms

4. Helps reduce your loss of appetite

5. Kidney infections and other conditions

6. Season allergies and Colds

7. Warts and other skin conditions

8. Insect and worm infections

9. Intestinal gas and complications

10. Certain animal and insect bites, such as some species of snakes

Basil is a sweet-tasting herb that has many culinary and health-boosting uses due to its good flavor, availability, low price, as well as its ability to complement multiple cooking styles and foods.

Basil has many powerful health benefits stemming from its healthy essential oils:

Methyl-cinnamate

Geraniol

Eugenol

Methyl-eugenol

The combined health effects of these oils give basil’s potent ability to reduce inflammation, detoxify multiple organs, reduce stress and muscular tension, and has antibacterial, antimicrobial, as well as antifungal properties.

1. Basil helps with digestion and nutrient absorption

2. Has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties

3. Improves skin health

4. Reduces symptoms of depression

5. Decreases physical, metabolic, and muscular stress

6. Can reduce symptoms of diabetes

7. Reduces blood pressure

8. Supports healthy liver function

9. Relieves stomach aches

10. Basil's flavor complements many recipes

11. Good nutrition facts and macronutrients

With all of the health benefits of basil, it wouldn’t come without its list of side effects as well.

It’s generally safe in man cases but it’s best to be careful if you suffering from any fertility and blood-related complications.

Holy basil can seriously affect fertility, pregnancy, blood sugar levels, and increase ease of external as well as internal bleeding.

A safe dosage should be around 655 to 1800 milligrams (0.6 to 1.8 grams) per day, depending on the person.

1. Can drastically lower blood sugar levels

2. Increased risk of liver cancer

3. Prevents blood clotting

4. May lower blood pressure to dangerous levels

5. Holy basil may reduce fertility and chances of pregnancy

Growing a basil plant is one of the easier plants to maintain and successfully grow.

Since it's widely used in medicinal remedies, food, and alcoholic drinks it's useful to have plenty of freshly grown basil readily available.

First, you'll need basil seeds. Basil seeds are cheap and available everywhere in stores or online.

Holy basil plants are small enough to fit in a small pot or for container gardening. In larger outdoor or indoor gardens you can even plant basil seeds around your other vegetables.

Since these plants are very quick to germinate, it's best to plant the seeds 6 to 7 weeks before the last day of frost. Making sure the ground or soil temperature is at least 74°F.

The soil: Holy basil plants grow best in moist soil with a pH of 7 (neutral) with compost added at the beginning of the Spring season, late March to late April.

Spacing: Space your plants 11 to 14 inches apart, with 14 to 16 inches in height space.

Watering: Only water when the soil becomes dry. When doing so will avoid pouring water over the stems and leaves.

Sunlight: Since it grows well in warmer environments, it's best to keep your basil plant under direct sunlight for 6 to 7 hours a day. Any less can affect how prolific your plant will be.

Companion planting: You can grow other herbs in the same patch, including parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, chamomile flowers, lettuce, oregano, as well as bell peppers and black pepper

After sowing, if you've noticed a section that hasn't flowered yet place a 3 to 4 inch cut of that section and place it in plain distilled water for 1 week.

When healthy roots begin to form, transfer the rooting basil plant directly into a plant pot or garden.

Articles and Sources

1. J Agric Food Chem. (2003 May 11) Antimicrobial properties of basil and its possible application in food packaging.

2. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2017 March 16) Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.

3. J Ayurveda Integr Med. (2014 October 04) Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons

4. BMC Genomics. (2015 May 28) Unravelling the genome of Holy basil: an “incomparable” “elixir of life” of traditional Indian medicine

5. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. (2015 January 01) Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) leaf extract enhances specific cognitive parameters in healthy adult volunteers: A placebo controlled study.

6. Nutr Cancer. (2013 January 26) Ocimum sanctum L (Holy Basil or Tulsi) and its phytochemicals in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

7. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. (1996 September 09) Randomized placebo-controlled, single blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

8. Cancer Lett. (2013 August 19) Holy Basil Leaf Extract Decreases Tumorigenicity and Metastasis of Aggressive Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells in vitro and in vivo: Potential Role in Therapy

9. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. (2019 August 30) Blood Cortisol Level and Blood Serotonin Level in Depression Mice with Basil Leaf Essential Oil Treatment

10. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. (2019 May 15) Glucose Lowering Effect of Basil Leaves in Diabetic Rats

11. Indian J Clin Biochem. (2004 July 02) Evaluation of hypoglycemic and antioxidant effect of Ocimum sanctum

12. Hypertens Res. (2010 July 07) Antihypertensive effects of Ocimum basilicum L. (OBL) on blood pressure in renovascular hypertensive rats.

13. J Med Food. (2007 September 10) Ocimum sanctum Linn. (Holy Basil) ethanolic leaf extract protects against 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced genotoxicity, oxidative stress, and imbalance in xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes.

14. J Ayurveda Integr Med. (2014 October 04) Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons.

15. J Photochem Photobiol B. (2019 October 31) Plant architecture and phytochemical composition of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) under the influence of light from microwave plasma and high-pressure sodium lamps.

16. Int J Ayurveda Res. (2010 October 04) Effect of tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum Linn.) on sperm count and reproductive hormones in male albino rabbits

17. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2017 March 16) The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature

18. Photoche (2019 October 31)

19. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. (2015 September 05) Hypoglycemia: The neglected complication

20. Oxid Med Cell Longev. (2018 May 31) Hypoxic Signaling and Cholesterol Lipotoxicity in Fatty Liver Disease Progression

21. Exp Gerontol. (2015 March 20) Hypercholesterolemia and neurodegeneration. Comparison of hippocampal phenotypes in LDLr knockout and APPswe/PS1dE9 mice.

22. Prog Retin Eye Res. (2015 July 01) Cholesterol in the retina: the best is yet to come

23. Br J Pharmacol. (2015 July 14) Eugenol dilates mesenteric arteries and reduces systemic BP by activating endothelial cell TRPV4 channels.

24. Pharmacogn Rev. (2011 January 09) Role of natural herbs in the treatment of hypertension

25. Oxid Med Cell Longev. (2011 September 21) Lipid-Lowering and Antioxidative Activities of Aqueous Extracts of Ocimum sanctum L. Leaves in Rats Fed with a High-Cholesterol Diet

26. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. (2014 November 05) Eugenol dilates rat cerebral arteries by inhibiting smooth muscle cell voltage-dependent calcium channels

leafy basil plant

Basil Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 100 g (about 3.5 Oz or 0.44 Cups)

Amount Per Serving
Calories 22 Calories from Fat 5
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.6 g 1 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 0 %
Polyunsaturated fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 4 mg 0 %
Potassium 0.295 g 8 %
Total Carbohydrate 2.7 g 0 %
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g 6 %
Sugars 0.3 g
Protein 3.2 g 6 %
Vitamin A 105 % Vitamin C 30 %
Vitamin E 0 % Vitamin K 0 %
Vitamin D 0 % Vitamin B6 10 %
Calcium 17 % Iron 17 %
Magnesium 16 % Cobalamin 0 %

Calories per gram:

Fat: 9 | Carbohydrate: 4 | Protein: 4

Source: USDA's Nutrient Database

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