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Basil - Delicious, Nutritious and Good for the Less-Ambitious

By HERWriter
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Healthy Eating related image Photo: Getty Images

Last summer I had high hopes that I would be able to grow a garden full of fresh produce and herbs, working hard to feed myself with extremely local foods. Sadly, my garden plot yielded mainly tall weeds and a few very tough, bitter radishes. I was ashamed at my failure to do my duties as a young person concerned about environmental health and wholesome, conscientious nutrition. In any case, this year, my big-city residence leaves me with limited options to redeem myself as a green-thumbed garden enthusiast. To satisfy my jealous cravings for homegrown something, and prove that I can be successful at cultivating the earth, I invested in a culinary herb that will grow in my windowsill: a basil plant! So far, the fact that my basil is alive and continuing to produce leaves, proves that literally anyone is capable of caring for this fantastic, fragrant and multi-faceted spice and herbal medicine.

According to experts at basilplant.org, basil is one of the “easiest, fastest growing herbs” and can thrive either indoors or outside. Furthermore, the scent that basil releases while on the plant acts as a natural insect repellent, so keeping a plant in your window will lower the number of bugs that enter your home. Its leaves expand and multiply the more you pick, making it extremely cost effective to procure your own plant. Basil is known especially for its fresh taste in Italian foods, but can compliment a wide variety of dishes. It is easy to use – either as a whole leaf in salad or appetizers, chopped and sprinkled on top of a hot food, or cooked right into sauces/pestos, stir-fry or soup. As part of the same plant family as mint, basil can even be made into a refreshing tea! Cheap, plentiful, and successfully grown even by a gardening disaster like me!

Not sold yet?

Basil is especially rich in vitamin K (2 teaspoons provide you with 27 percent of your daily value), a nutrient that is essential in bone formation, blood clotting, and helping the body transport calcium. It is also a good source of vitamin A, a nutrient proven to enhance the health of your eyes, and manganese, which also supplements bone growth. So – unlike parsley, basil is not just a decoration for your food – it is tasty and good for your body.

And there is more!

Many traditional medicine experts, especially those trained in Ayurveda, a Hindu holistic health approach, use basil in a variety of healing capacities. It is used to calm the stomach (like its sister plant, mint) relieve a sore throat or cough in a tea or syrup, or treat a skin infection as a topical cream.

Stay tuned for a recipe that uses basil, not only as a delicious spice but also a health-promoting addition. Basil--it's good for your eyes, good for your stomach, good for your bones, good for your taste-buds, good for getting rid of mosquitoes and good for your guilty gardener’s conscious.


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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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