Basil Health Benefits
Reduce Inflammation and Swelling
One study, presented at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's annual event, revealed that "extracts of O. tenuiflorum (Holy basil) were shown to reduce swelling by up to 73 percent, 24 hours after treatment".
These effects on swelling were similar in extent to those seen with the drug diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory medication that is widely used in the treatment of arthritis. In their paper - Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review - the authors conclude: "Our results supported the use of these traditional treatments in inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis."
According to research presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester, basil also has properties that can help prevent the harmful effects of aging. Holy basil extract was effective at killing off harmful molecules and preventing damage caused by some free radicals in the liver, brain, and heart. The researchers, led by Dr. Vaibhav Shinde from Poona College of Pharmacy, Maharashtra, India, studied the herb for antioxidant and anti-aging properties. Dr. Shinde said: "The study validates the traditional use of the herb as a youth-promoting substance in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It also helps describe how the herb acts at a cellular level."
Rich in Antioxidants
Results of a study published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research showed that ethanol extract Ocimum basilicum had more antioxidant activity than standard antioxidants.
Lab studies have demonstrated that basil has some antibacterial properties. These antibacterial properties are thought to be because of its volatile oils, which include estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene. Basil restricts the growth of numerous bacteria, including Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This could mean that adding fresh basil to a salad not only adds flavor, it also helps reduce the number of harmful bacteria on the plate.