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Basil: varieties, beneficial properties, harm and use in dishes

Basil — what it is, beneficial properties and harm from the plant

Calories: 23 kcal.

The energy value of the product Basil:
Protein: 3.15 g.
Fat: 0.64 g
Carbohydrates: 1.05 g.

Basil — famous spicy plant, which is widely used in Georgian, Italian, Mediterranean cuisines. The plant has a straight stem and bright green leaves, some varieties may have leaves of violet and silver shade (see photo).

Basil is found in its wild form in India, China, and in the Caucasus. In many cultures, basil is considered a special plant. The ancient Egyptians used it during mummification. In India, the spicy plant is considered sacred. Hindus believe that the wife of the god Vishnu turned into basil, descending to the ground, so you can not disturb the grass without a special reason.

The plant is of different varieties, but each variety of basil is highly valued in cooking and traditional medicine in different countries. Due to the variety variety, the same herb can have different taste characteristics: from fresh pepper smell to rich clove aroma.

  • Mexican basil — because of its characteristic cinnamon flavor, the plant is also called “cinnamon basil”. It is a herb with purple flowers.
  • Small-leaved basil — this sort of basil is especially loved by Thai cuisine, it has a rich aniseed smell and beautiful silvery leaves.
  • Purple basil is a favorite of the Caucasian cuisine, here it is known as “Regan”. The taste of this plant has a pleasant sweetness and a little tartness.
  • Lemon basil — this variety is often used to prepare fish dishes. It has a bright taste and a strong lemon scent.

The differences between basil and oregano are very obvious. Basil is an annual plant that tastes a bit bitter, and also resembles cloves and bay leaves. This spice is put into the dish five minutes before being cooked or before serving, so that basil will not lose its wonderful aroma and taste. Seasoning more in demand in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Uzbekistan.

As for oregano, this spice is also called oregano, because it has a rich aroma. Unlike basil, oregano is a perennial plant. Oregano inflorescences are very small and are painted in lilac color, therefore it is sometimes confused with thyme. In the dish you need to put it quite a bit so as not to overshadow the basic taste of the finished product. In addition, oregano can be put in a hot drink (tea). Seasoning is most popular in Spanish, French, Italian cuisine.

Regan is basil, which is colored purple. Why different names? Because in Armenia, Azerbaijan, in the Caucasus it is accepted to call basil “Regan”, which in translation means “royal flavor”. And in other countries, this plant is called basil.

You can grow basil not only in the country, but also on the windowsill. In order to grow the “homemade” basil, cuttings are perfect, because this spice easily takes root. Basil is so easy to grow that if you want, you can even plant fresh stalks of a plant. Cuttings should be put in the water for about a week, after 6 days the plant should take root, and after 15 days the grass can be planted in the ground.

Caring for basil involves regular watering, warmth and access to sunlight. As a top dressing you can use fertilizer from a flower shop. If the place where there is a box with basil, complete with artificial lighting, the spice can be grown year-round.

Basil is mainly grown from seedlings (more popular among summer residents) or seeds planted in open ground. The plant is very fond of heat and unstable to the cold season. Basil starts to bloom somewhere in the middle of summer.

As already mentioned, basil loves heat, so it needs to be planted in the area where the sunlight comes in most. The soil should be fertile and easy to drain. It is best to plant basil where there were previously grown tomatoes, potatoes or legumes.

For planting the soil should be prepared in the fall. To do this, dig it up and fertilize it. You also need to get rid of weeds so that they do not interfere with the normal growth of the plant. In spring, the soil must be leveled with a rake and mineral fertilizers should be applied to the ground.

If you are going to plant basil in the form of seedlings in open ground, the seeds should be prepared in early April. To do this, prepare boxes with drainage holes so that the soil is not too wet. At the bottom of the boxes you can put either expanded clay or pebbles. Then you should put a layer of soil with fertilizers (humus and peat). Before planting in soil, seeds should be soaked in a saturated manganese solution for about two hours. After that, the seeds can be planted in the ground at a distance of five centimeters from each other, sprinkling them on top of the ground with a layer of one centimeter. The box must be covered with a transparent film. Seeds must be ventilated daily and sprayed with water. For growing seedlings, the temperature in the room must be at least twenty-seven degrees.

When properly planted, the first seedlings of basil will appear in about ten days. Water the seedlings need abundantly, as soon as the soil begins to dry. The film can be removed, and the box put on the windowsill. When the first leaflet appears, seedlings must be dived (transplanted) into small pots with the same ground as it was in the boxes. After ten days, seedlings should be fertilized with a mineral solution (about five grams of saltpeter and three grams of superphosphate will be needed for five glasses of water).

At the end of May, when more than five strong leaves appear, the seedlings can be planted in the open ground to a depth of about ten centimeters. The distance between the bushes should be at least twenty-five centimeters. The soil should be warm and wet. In order for the plant to have lush leaves, the top of the basil should be pinched as soon as six normal leaves appear.

If you want to plant basil seeds, they simply put in the open ground. Before planting basil, the seeds should be soaked in manganese solution for about two hours. The soil should be loose and wet. Seeds should be at a distance of three centimeters from each other. The plot with the seeds of basil should be covered with a film (making a greenhouse). After ten days, the first shoots will appear, and the film can be removed.

Basil can also be grown in a greenhouse at a temperature of twenty-five degrees. For this you need to put there already ready pots with seedlings. Seven days before planting basil in open ground, when there are already six leaves, watering the soil should be reduced, and the greenhouse should be ventilated to reduce the temperature. Thus, the plant is hardened.

When caring for basil, you need to monitor the emergence of weeds that must be removed so that they do not interfere with the growth of the plant. Watering should be carried out as the soil dries. When the plant begins to grow actively (before the appearance of the first inflorescences), it should be fed with mineral fertilizers (ammonium nitrate). One month after planting the basil in the ground, the soil must be fertilized with superphosphate.

Useful properties of basil due to the high content of essential oil. The basil constituents have a positive effect on digestive problems. The low calorie content of the plant allows basil to be used by people who watch their figure. 100 grams of basil contain only 27 kilocalories, while dried grass contains 250 kilocalories due to the increased carbohydrate content.

When used regularly, basil can protect against many infections. Of course, a fresh plant contains more beneficial properties, but as a seasoning, the herb favorably affects the body. Basil is indispensable for viral diseases, it perfectly relieves symptoms such as nasal congestion, cough. Essential oil of basil during therapeutic aromatherapy removes accumulated mucus from the nose, returns the sense of smell. Instead of essential oil, you can use the juice from fresh basil.

Basilic drink clarifies the mind and affects the digestive tract, removes excess gas. The plant helps with colitis, inflammation of the bladder, gastritis.

Spice has a positive effect on the body at the cellular level, studies confirm the antioxidant properties of basil. Ayurveda recommends basil as an effective anti-aging remedy.

Basil can be used for weight loss. This will require its seeds, which can be purchased at the pharmacy. The main thing is that the package says “Not for planting”. Such seeds are used to prepare a drink that is suitable for dietary nutrition.

To prepare such a drink, pour one teaspoon of basil seeds with half a glass of warm water. Seeds are well stirred and set aside for about five minutes so that they can swell. Then you can add there a little fresh juice or natural yogurt. This drink is better to drink in the morning during the meal.

Also, basil seeds can be put in oatmeal, vegetable, fruit salads, or simply add a teaspoon of seeds to your favorite yogurt.

Do not forget that, in addition to the use of this product, you also need to perform physical exercises in order to achieve the desired result. In one month you can throw up to five kilograms.

In cooking, basil has been used as a savory spice. Dried and fresh plants are equally suitable for cooking. Fresh basil is added to salads, it goes well with cheese, tomatoes. Dry seasoning put a little hot dishes. In the Azerbaijani national cuisine, even basil seeds are used as food, adding to drinks, soups and pies for a special flavor. The spice is manifested in the dish gradually: first, it gives a slight bitterness, and then there is a sweet taste.

Basil is often associated with Italian cuisine. Fresh vegetables, cherry tomatoes, cheese — all these products are harmoniously combined with basil. Italians add a spicy plant to pizza, various pasta sauces, and mutton dishes.

The plant can be combined with other spices: the peppery smell of basil will appear in the rosemary mixture, and with chabrom it will add a spicy dish. With basil as a seasoning, it is important to know when to stop. In any case, it is better to add less than spoil the dish. In order to preserve the flavor of the spice, it should be added to the almost finished dish.

You can store spicy grass in several ways:

  1. To freeze the basil it should be well washed, dried, spread out on parchment paper and put into the freezer. After two hours, the frozen leaves should be folded into a bag with a sealed clasp and sent back to the freezer. The shelf life of basil ice cream is about twelve months.
  2. For storage of basil for a period of up to two weeks, you must put it in a glass container and fill it with water. In this case, the container can be left on the table. And if the container is covered with a package and tightly tied around the container, the shelf life of spicy grass will increase to three weeks.
  3. Chop the leaves of the plant, put in a glass container and pour olive oil. Capacity is stored in the refrigerator no more than three months.
  4. Basil leaves folded on a damp napkin and put in the fridge on the bottom shelf. In this form, basil is stored no more than four days.

The benefits of spice plants are indispensable in case of eye diseases. Infusion of basil will be an excellent preventive tool for eye fatigue. The infusion is easy to prepare at home, it is enough to pour a few spoons of dried grass with boiling water and allow the mixture to infuse. Strain the solution you need to rinse your eyes, make medical lotions 2-3 times a day. If you take the same infusion inside, basil will help get rid of allergic reactions and itching. Should use half a cup of infusion before meals.

Basil seeds, too, should not be thrown away: they will help to tighten scratches and cuts faster. Wounds should be washed with infusion of seeds. Prepare the infusion can be, pour a tablespoon of seeds with a glass of boiling water. Lotions of seeds should be applied to the wound for an hour, the procedure can be done up to 5 times a day.

The healing properties of basil help both women and men. As for women, the use of spicy grass contributes to weight loss, relieves severe pain during the menstrual cycle, during labor contractions, strengthens the hair and nail plate. Cosmetic creams, which contain basil, effectively fight wrinkles, and also restore skin tone to the face. Drinks with spicy grass help reduce the risk of developing oncology.

For men, the use of basil is useful to improve potency, sexual desire, strengthen nerve cells. For drivers it is useful to eat the product to increase the concentration of attention on the road.

In addition, basil is considered a good aphrodisiac., which helps to increase arousal between a man and a woman, as well as prolong sexual intercourse.

Below is a video about the beneficial properties of basil.

Harm of basil can be felt by people who suffer from epilepsy or heart disease. Women at all stages of pregnancy can not eat basil infusion. Patients with diabetes, hypertension, thrombophlebitis are also at risk. The fact is that the plant contains mercury compounds, which can be hazardous to health, despite their bactericidal properties.

Drugs that are oriented towards ingestion can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and even lead to poisoning. Do not forget about the individual intolerance to basil. Children under 7 years old are not recommended to use basil, for them it is contraindicated.

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