Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil is considered one of the healthiest herbs. It's best when fresh, exuding a sweet, earthy aroma and an impressive list of nutrients. Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting, is one of them. Just two tablespoons of basil provides 29 percent of the daily recommended value. Basil also provides vitamin A, which contains beta-carotenes, powerful antioxidants helping to prevent cholesterol in blood from oxidizing, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke.

 

Other vitamins and minerals in basil include iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. Basil also has antibacterial properties and contains DNA-protecting flavonoids. Among these are estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene, all capable of restricting the growth of numerous harmful bacteria, including listeria, staphylococcus, E. coli, yersinia enterocolitica, and pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Basil oils and extracts can slow blood clotting and increase bleeding and might make bleeding disorders worse. Since it slows clotting it can increase the risk of bleeding during surgical procedures; stop using basil at least 2 weeks before surgery.

Basil extracts might lower blood pressure and should be used with caution in those suffering from low blood pressure.

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