Dining | Miami University
Advanced Search    

Dining

Picture of Harris14

Nutrition Resources

Return to List



Basil


Nutrient description/background:
  • A common ingredient found in Italian cuisines;
  • Characterized by a distinctive odor and sharp taste;
  • Used in perfumes, soaps, shampoos and dental preparations;
  • Also known as Ocimum Basilicum;
  • Annual herb of the mint family that originated in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is now cultivated worldwide.

Nutrient function:
  • Has many antioxidants that aid in anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties;
  • Preparations are used for feelings of fullness and flatulence, stimulation of appetite and digestion, and used as a diuretic;
  • Carries leukotrienes that serve against asthma, allergic rhinitis, and other allergic and inflammatory disorders;
  • Low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium;
  • Good source of Protein, Vitamin E, Riboflavin, Niacin, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.

DRI/RDA:
  • Because Basil is an herb, there are no recommended doses.

Food sources:
  • Recommended to be used fresh;
  • In cooked recipes, it is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor;
  • Can be kept in the refrigerator, only if tightly sealed;
  • Can be frozen, after blanching quickly in boiling water;
  • The dried herb loses most of its flavor, leaving a weak coumarin flavor, similar to hay.

Indications/Health claims:
  • Used for disturbances of renal function, stomach cramps and gum ulcers;
  • Used for treatment of earaches, rheumatoid arthritis, itching and skin diseases, anorexia, amenorrhea and dysmenorrheal, malaria, and other common diseases;
  • Should not be taken during pregnancy.

Evidence for or against claims:
  • There have not been recent studies of Basil; however, the indications come from old Indian and Chinese medicine practices.