Can Basil Aid In Asthma Management?
Do you or someone in your family have asthma or asthma-type symptoms? Wheezing? Coughing? Rapid breath? Difficulty talking? Chest pressure? If yes, you may find that adding Basil to your meals may assist you in your everyday management of your symptoms.
I have to admit. Today, I really struggle writing about Basil. I usually try to find some funny story about our farm life to write about in correlation to adding an herb or spice to help hea
l your body. When it comes to asthma or similar symptoms, I really can’t recall a funny story to tell you. When someone in your family is having an asthmatic attack, it is quite scary and heartbreaking. My husband has an attack only once a year; primarily during harvest and caused by grain dust. Although he should carry an inhaler with him in the combine, I’m finding myself driving at high speeds to him when that one incident a year arises. Asthma is nothing to take lightly.
Usually, I state at the end of these Herbal Farmwife articles about always consulting a healthcare professional first before trying any herbs and how this discussion shouldn’t replace any medical care or medicine you are currently taking. Because Asthma is a very serious condition, I wanted to make sure that I point this out to you before you read the rest of the article. Basil is not a replacement for your current medical treatment. As a Master Herbalist, I’m just bringing up information about Basil that you should discuss with your doctor first. Ok, let’s move on…..
Can You Smell The Aroma?
Grown around the world, Basil originated from Africa, Asia, and India. Basil was used extensively in our ancient culture because of its vast properties to heal. Tradition has shown us that it was used both internally and topically for immunity, anti-aging, headaches, skin care, stress, heart diseases, lung problems, respiratory disorders, and even fever. Although limited, research has backed up alternative medicine folklore about Basil’s anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-septic, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. There is no doubt that Basil is one of the top healing herbs. There is a reason why the Mediterranean diet recipes always have Basil as an ingredient.
Basil is an intoxicating fragrant herb which is quite tender. It belongs to a family of mint and is highly aromatic and flavorful. Surprisingly, the family of Basil is quite large and varied. Members of the Basil family include Sweet Basil (commonly used), Lemon Basil, Cinnamon Basil, Thai Basil, Holy Basil, Purple Basil, Anise Basil, Dark Opal Basil, Lettuce Leaf Basil, Rubin Basil, Globe Basil, African Blue Basil, Spice Basil, Camphor Basil, and Clove Basil. Each is known for their uniqueness. When you sprinkle Basil onto your tomatoes, you probably didn’t realize there were so many to complement your favorite dishes. Sweet Basil is still the best for tomatoes.
How Basil May Help With Asthma
Asthma is the tightening of the muscular bands that control the bronchial tubes. Sometimes there are no obvious causes for asthma attacks; while some episodes can be tied to allergies, exercise, infection, emotions, or a combination of some or all of them.
For control or prevention of asthma attacks caused by infections, Holy Basil an excellent for supporting the immune system of the body. For centuries, Holy Basil has been used to cure bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Respiratory infections respond well to the indigestion of Basil.
Because of its oils that release when ground or distilled, Holy Basil gives astounding relief in congestion especially if one has bronchitis. Camphene, Eugenol and Cineole are constitutes in Holy Basil that causes this reaction. These three oils not only assist in congestion relief, but can also fight infections in the lungs due to its antibiotic properties.
Holy Basil is helpful in the treatment and prevention of asthma. It reduces congestion and enables smoother breathing. According to University of Michigan, Holy Basil extracts helped keep bronchial airways passages clear. “In two trials, asthma patients who took holy basil had better breathing function and fewer attacks.” These studies found that Holy Basil extracts not only kept them clear, but inhibited constriction of the bronchial airway. University of Michigan’s Holy Basil overview states, “Two preliminary clinical trials treated asthma patients with 500 mg of holy basil three times daily for one month. Breathing function improved and the frequency of attacks was reduced.” Although further research is needed to validate the results of the last study, the use of Basil for asthma management is promising.
Flavor Your World With Basil
Basil is used in culinary dishes around the world. It goes great in salads, sauces, soups, summer vegetables, potatoes, cheeses, and summer fruit. It is a great seasoning for poultry when combined with garlic and butter. When you are in the mood for fish from the river or lakes and even seafood, consider adding this herb to your seasoning mix. Of course, there is always everyone’s favorite of adding it to your favorite Italian dishes where tomatoes are the focal point. Please note that Basil does quickly loses its aroma when cooked so don’t forget to add a little more at the end of your cooking to add its fragrance component. There is nothing better than a homemade pot of Italian spaghetti sauce slowly cooking on the stove. Basil works well with other spices including chives, cilantro, fennel, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, and rosemary. There are quite a few “Top 10” most powerful antioxidant herbs in the previous sentence.
For an extra boost, many people around the word brew fresh Basil tea. Steep about one teaspoon of Basil in about 2/3 cup of boiling water for about fifteen minutes. Strain it and then drink. If you are having tummy troubles and you are “tooting” a lot, consider drinking this tea two to three times a day between meals.
Basil extract can be found in many capsules for sale. If you chose to add Basil to your supplement routine, please consult the labels for proper dosage information.
There Is Always Precautions With Everything We Do….
Although Basil is relatively safe when used in common foods and has a minimal potential for adverse reactions with other herbs or drugs, Basil may cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar when taken in oral or large doses in the form of capsules. It can also have interactions with medical drugs including anti-coagulant, anti-platelet, and anti-hypertensive drugs. Although it is “likely safe” to use for culinary meals for children, pregnant mothers, and lactating mothers, please always consult with your doctor first before trying any new herb or spice in your meals or for medicinal purposes. It may be possibly unsafe if used orally in larger doses long-term due to Basil’s estragole constitutes. If taking oral doses, please check with your doctor before starting if you have a bleeding disorder, hypotension, or you have a pending surgery.
Basil is a staple in our garden and hopefully in yours. I encourage you to get out of your same old routine of using basil in certain dishes you prepare and expand your culinary horizons with Basil!
Blessings, Herbal Farmwife
DISCLAIMER: This information should not be considered to be healthcare advice, medical diagnosis, or treatment. This information is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professionals. Always consult a healthcare professional first before trying any herbs, spices, vitamins, or minerals mentioned in this posting. This information is merely a discussion of “thoughts” among friends. Please note that none of these statements have been evaluated by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration.
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