Basil, there are more than 150 types growing all over the world. The kind most often found in kitchens is sweet basil which has many practical uses when it comes to health.
Basil can be used to relieve the stinging and swelling of insect bites. Here’s what you need:
- Basil leaves
- Plantain leaves (optional)
- If using both types mix with equal amounts.
It’s easy to make. Simply mash or chew a handful of the leaves until they are soft. Put them directly on the bite or sting. Leave it there for 15-20 minutes. Do this throughout the day as needed. If you don’t have access to fresh leaves, dried ones will do. Add a little water so they can be mashed up.
You can use this tea for headache and stress. Here’s what you need:
- 1 part basil leaf (fresh or dried)
- 1/4 lavender or chamomile flower
- 1 part lemon balm leaf
To make the tea mix the ingredients together. If using dry herbs use one teaspoon, or two if they are fresh.
Use 1 teaspoon of herb to 1 cup of boiling water.
Pour the water over the herbs. Let everything soak for 10- 15 minutes, then strain it. Drink the tea at room temperature or warm.
So far we’ve focused on sweet basil which has many medicinal uses. Now let’s talk about my favorite.
Using it daily can help balance and maintain the energy centers (or chakras) in the body. Here’s a way you can do it:
Basil vinegar is full of nutrients and active enzymes. They create healthy bacteria which is good for our digestive system and overall health.
Here’s your recipe:
- A wide mouthed quart sized jar 3/4 full of holy basil leaves
- Fill the jar most of the way with apple cider vinegar, (raw and unpasteurized)
- Shake gently a few times (make sure the lid is on)
Place your mixture by a heat source or in a sunny window. Leave it there for 3 to4 weeks. When it takes on the color, odor and taste of the herb it is ready. Once this happens strain and transfer it to a different bottle. You can use a wine bottle or buy one in your favorite color from a craft store, the choice is yours.
There’s a variety of ways to use the vinegar you made. You can add a couple teaspoons of the mixture to your salad, or fresh veggies. Another option is to mix a teaspoon or two of the vinegar in a glass of water twice a day.
If you prefer you can take it straight from a teaspoon or dropper like you would medicine. The choice is yours.
This herb has lots of great uses and helps promote a healthy body. Take some time and see the many ways you can enjoy it.
(This article was inspired by Rosemary Gladstar’s book on Medicinal Herbs.)