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Herbs for Health: Basil

Updated: Jun 14

basil herbs health

Basil, a delightful herb renowned for its sweet and aromatic flavour, is a beloved staple in cuisines across the globe. Originating from the Mediterranean region this versatile herb complements an array of dishes, including pastas, salads and soups. Its vibrant green leaves and refreshing taste add a burst of flavour that enlivens any culinary creation.

  • Basil also boasts an impressive array of health benefits, thanks to its abundance of valuable polyphenols. One of the key polyphenols found in basil is eugenol, which lends the herb its characteristic aroma. Eugenol possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to neutralise harmful free radicals and potentially reducing inflammation in the body.

"Basil comes in many varieties, European and Asian. So experiment with dishes from Italian to Thai and enjoy basil in all its forms."
  • Other bioactive compounds include: apigenin, limonene, ursolic acid, methyl cinnamate, 1,8-cineole, α-terpinene, anthocyanins, β-sitosterol, carvacrol, cintronellol, farnesol, geraniol, kaempherol, menthol, p-coumaric acid, quercetin, rosmarinic acid, rutin, safrole, tannin, catechin.

  • Basil contains essential oils like linalool and methyl chavicol (also known as estragole), which have demonstrated antimicrobial properties. These oils may help combat certain bacteria and fungi, contributing to immune system support and promoting oral health.

  • In addition to its culinary and medicinal benefits, basil has been traditionally used for its calming properties, acting as a natural stress-reliever and mood enhancer.

"If you want to grow basil, grow two plants... or more. Once you start using it, its hard to stop. And don't just use the leaves, the stalks have flavour too."

Basil is most widely used in popular Italian and Mediterranean dishes:

  1. Caprese Salad

  2. Bruschetta

  3. In a tomato basil pasta


As part of a nutritionally rich, whole health lifestyle, at The Whole Health Practice we advocate enjoying herbs (and spices) as a regular part of one’s diet. While some herbs have shown positive results for specific health outcomes, nutrition science and the interaction of polyphenols from different plant sources is incredibly complex.

Enjoy a healthy eating pattern with a variety of herbs, spices and whole foods that work in synergy to promote maximum health. Think fruits, berries, beans, vegetables, and whole grains; add colour to your dishes wherever possible.


Incorporating basil into your dishes not only enhances their taste but also provides a wealth of health-promoting polyphenols. Easy to grow, savour its delights and the well-being benefits it brings to your table.

Stay Healthy,



More than just taste, herbs can bring health and joy to our lives. Read on for our complete collection of articles, recipes and more...


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Related Studies

Kamelnia E, Mohebbati R, Kamelnia R, El-Seedi HR, Boskabady MH. Anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and anti-oxidant effects of Ocimum basilicum L. and its main constituents: A review. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2023;26(6):617-627. doi: 10.22038/IJBMS.2023.67466.14783. PMID: 37275758; PMCID: PMC10237160.

Isbill J, Kandiah J, Kružliaková N. Opportunities for Health Promotion: Highlighting Herbs and Spices to Improve Immune Support and Well-being. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2020 Oct;19(5):30-42. PMID: 33488303; PMCID: PMC7815254.xx

Vázquez-Fresno R, Rosana ARR, Sajed T, Onookome-Okome T, Wishart NA, Wishart DS. Herbs and Spices- Biomarkers of Intake Based on Human Intervention Studies - A Systematic Review. Genes Nutr. 2019 May 22;14:18. doi: 10.1186/s12263-019-0636-8. PMID: 31143299; PMCID: PMC6532192.

Mackonochie M, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Mills S, Rolfe V. A Scoping Review of the Clinical Evidence for the Health Benefits of Culinary Doses of Herbs and Spices for the Prevention and Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2023 Nov 22;15(23):4867. doi: 10.3390/nu15234867. PMID: 38068725; PMCID: PMC10708057.



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