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Basil belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, of the genus: Ocimum. Its scientific name is "Ocimum basilicum"
Basil tastes great in tomato and pasta dishes but it is also gives a sweetscented, minty aroma when crumbled over baked chicken, lamb, or fish. It blends well with garlic, thyme, and oregano. Crush dried leaves with your hand or in a mortar and pestle to release the herb's flavor.
Basil has a respectable ORAC of 61,063 trolox equivalents (TE)/100g
Source: USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 - Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - May 2010
Shelf Life and Storage
Best if used within 18 months. Store tightly sealed in a dry location away from sunlight.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||94 kJ (22 kcal)|
|- Dietary fiber||1.6 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||264 μg (29%)|
|- beta-carotene||3142 μg (29%)|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.034 mg (3%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.076 mg (5%)|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||0.902 mg (6%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.209 mg (4%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.155 mg (12%)|
|Folate (Vit. B9)||68 μg (17%)|
|Vitamin C||18.0 mg (30%)|
|Vitamin E||0.80 mg (5%)|
|Vitamin K||414.8 μg (395%)|
|Calcium||177 mg (18%)|
|Iron||3.17 mg (25%)|
|Magnesium||64 mg (17%)|
|Manganese||1.148 mg (57%)|
|Phosphorus||56 mg (8%)|
|Potassium||295 mg (6%)|
|Sodium||4 mg (0%)|
|Zinc||0.81 mg (8%)|
|Percentages are relative to US recommendationsfor adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
Health benefits of Basil herb
Basil leaves contain many notable plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
Basil herb contains many polyphenolic flavonoids like orientin and vicenin. These compounds were tested in vitro laboratory studies for possible anti-oxidant protection against radiation-induced lipid per-oxidation in mouse liver.
Basil leaves contains many health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
The herb parts are very low in calories and contain no cholesterol, but are very rich source of many essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein andzea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease process.
Zeaxanthin, a yellow flavonoid carotenoid compound, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it is tfound to filter harmful UV rays by reaching retina. Herbs, fruits and vegetables rich in zeaxanthin help to protect from age related macular disease (AMRD) especially in the elderly.
Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A known to helps body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Vitamin K in basil is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping mineralisation process in the bones.
Basil herb contains good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.
Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron, contains 3.17 mg/100 g of fresh leaves (about 26% of RDA). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.