Basil – Nature’s Ibuprofen

By : | 0 Comments | On : December 12, 2012 | Category : Alegria Fresh Newsletter

Nestled in your bouquet is an herb, you may think you don’t need an introduction to: basil.  A common herb, especially in Italian and some Asian cuisines, basil has a long history of being a tasty addition to a variety of dishes.  However, don’t dismiss basil as a simple flavoring tool, for it has numerous health benefits.

Basil can be found in numerous cultures, having originated in Iran, parts of Asia, and India.  Its scientific name is Ocimum basilicum, but its common name derives from the Greek word for royal, basilikohn, showing the reverence basil had both in Greek and other cultures throughout history.  In various cultures, basil has symbolized love, hate, fertility, death and the afterlife, and it even has religious connotations in Hinduism and some Orthodox Christian churches.

In addition to its symbolic associations, basil has a long history of being used for medicine and is still highly regarded as a medicinal herb today.  Basil protects the body at the DNA level, and is especially important in preventing cancer.  The flavanoids found in basil protect cells and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage, which can cause cancer and other disorders.  Basil also has high levels of antioxidants, which add to the body’s fight against cancer by targeting the free radicals that can cause cancer and other cellular damage.

In addition to keeping you healthy at a cellular level, basil has strong anti-inflammatory properties, especially in its essential oils.  It blocks enzymes in the body that cause swelling, helping treat diseases like arthritis.  In fact, this mirrors the actions of NSAIDS like aspirin and ibuprofen that are taken to protect against inflammation caused by inflammatory diseases.  The same anti-inflammatory effects found in basil that cause arthritis can also help with digestive diseases caused by inflammation like IBS.  Basil also provides immediate relief from acute digestion problems such as gas, indigestion and constipation.

Basil can also be used in place of over-the-counter and prescription drugs in the body’s battle against bacteria, both internally and externally.  It has even been shown to successfully treat strains of bacteria that have become immune to antibiotics.  Basil also supports the overall immune system and fights against viral infections as well, making it an essential addition to your diet as the winter months and cold and flu season arrive.

If you need more reason to consume basil, it also keeps your heart healthy.  Basil contains large amounts of vitamin A in its strongest form, beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects the blood vessels from damage-causing free radicals.  Beta-carotene also prevents cholesterol from being oxidized, which is what must happen for it to begin to block arteries.  The high levels of magnesium found in basil support your heart by keeping your muscles and blood vessels healthy, improving blood flow and heart rhythms.

In addition to these specific, powerful medicinal qualities of basil, it also contains large quantities of vitamins and minerals essential to optimal health including vitamin K, potassium, manganese, iron, and copper.  So pile on the basil, knowing you are receiving many health benefits while also enjoying its tasty flavor!

The fresh basil in your bouquet will provide you with all of basil’s health benefits and flavor, helping you to not only enjoy a great dinner but also live long and be healthy.  You can be sure your Alegría Fresh bouquet packs the biggest nutritional punch because we grow and harvest only the best, which is then delivered to you within hours of harvest.

Use your Alegría Fresh basil with your favorite recipes.  If you want to try something new, or need some inspiration, try this recipe for Tomato Basil Soup from Tasty Kitchen, which will be perfect for the colder days of winter:

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