Pattaya Daily News

31 October 2010 :: 14:10:42 pm 45091

Benefits of Holy Basil and How to Preserve It

Holy Basil is known to be the most sacred herb of India, and has been used in Asia for centuries for its medicinal properties and in cooking.
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There are many health benefiting properties of the Holy Basil, but with that comes some side effects.

Holy Basil is believed to have a strong calming effect and studies indicate that it may also help in boosting the immune system. It has also been shown to contain anti inflammatory properties which removes toxins and significantly reduces inflammation. The herb also contains antioxidants and an immune modulator, slowing down the process of excess oxidation and protects the cells from damage caused by free radicals, balancing and improving the immune response of the body.

 

There are few side effects of the Holy Basil and most, not proven, but this herb does have the ability to thin the blood and so if a person has been prescribed anti clotting agents, they must not partake of Holy Basil as it could thin the blood even more.  If suffering from diabetes and already taking prescription medicines you must consult with your doctor before taking Holy Basil, since it brings down the sugar levels which can lead to dizziness and perhaps fainting.

Holy Basil has a light pungent smell with a mild spicy scent. It is a pretty garden plant that attracts bees. Once picked, this herb does not keep long. It has to be dried and stored so it can be used all year round, and may be harvested four to five times a year.

  

Holy Basil needs to be cut before the flowers appear, and you will need a sharp knife, twine and a dark airtight glass container. Always leave enough leaves on the plant so it may continue growing.

Cut the Holy Basil with a sharp knife just above the bottom three sets of fully grown leaves, before the day starts getting hot.

Examine each sprig and leaf for insects and any bugs. Hold the sprigs upside down and shake vigorously to get rid of any bugs that may have attached themselves, or pick them off.

Pinch off any leaves that may be discolored by disease and damage and discard.

 

Tie the sprigs of basil together in bunches, wrapping a bit of twine or rubber band around the end then hang upside down in a dark, cool area. Drying the basil in a lower temperature helps to keep the color and aroma in the leaves. The Holy Basil should be dry and ready to store in around two weeks.

Ensuring the basil is completely dried, pull off the leaves and place in the dry dark colored airtight glass jars. It will keep for up to one year, after which it will begin to lose its color, smell and flavor.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Eating

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Michael Malone

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