40 Surprising Medicinal Benefits of Basil

Although it's mainly used for cooking and scents, basil also has some great medicinal properties. Learn about them to get the absolutely most out of this herb.
40 Surprising Medicinal Benefits of Basil
Karla Henríquez

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Karla Henríquez.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Basil is famous for its aromatic qualities, which many chefs enjoy using. Due to its powerful distinct smell, this herb is perfect for garnishing pizza, pasta, snacks, or salads. However, it’s leaves also have some great medicinal powers! In this article we have 40 surprising medicinal benefits of basil for you.

You can use basil as a natural remedy to treat digestive, nervous, or immune problems. It also works well as a beauty or weight loss treatment!


Basil in a coffee cup.

Basil (ocimum basilicum) is an aromatic, culinary, and medicinal herb which originates from Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, or Iran. Likewise, it’s grown in tropical climates and is very sensitive to cold temperatures. In different cultures it has different types of positive or negative symbolic meaning.

When it comes to cooking, basil is often used raw in order for to maintain its aspect and keep its aroma. In addition to that, it also mixes well with other fine herbs such as thyme and rosemary, and can accompany all types of foods: meat, fish, vegetables, sauces, soups, cheeses, eggs, gazpacho, etc. Basil can also be used to make pesto!

It is eaten usually with food, but you can also take it via supplements. You can find it in pill form, compressed, or as an extract. You can even make your own infusion with fresh or dry leaves. However, if you want to preserve it, it should only be kept in the fridge for a few days. It’s best to save it in a tin with a pinch of salt and covered in olive oil. This way, it’ll always be ready to use.

Benefits of basil

Below all the 40 surprising medicinal benefits of basil have been highlighted and grouped together.

For the digestive system

Basil is an aromatic medicinal plant which aids digestion, as well as preventing and soothing certain illnesses:

  • Alleviates heavy digestion
  • Prevents gas and flatulence
  • Prevents bad breath
  • Helps stop vomiting
  • Stimulates your appetite

For the nervous system

Basil can also help improve imbalances related to the nervous system:

  • Reinforces the nervous system
  • Its relaxing effects reduce anxiety and stress
  • Soothes the nerves in the stomach
  • Helps fight insomnia
  • Can be beneficial for treating mild depression
  • Reduces physical and mental fatigue

For the immune system

A bowl of basil.

Basil has some properties that can also really help strengthen your defenses:

  • Aids the elimination of toxins and purifies the blood
  • Prevents colds and flu due to its antimicrobial properties
  • Reduces fevers
  • Has anti-fungal properties to prevent infections
  • It’s a natural anti-inflammatory
  • It can act as an analgesic for headaches, toothaches or menstrual pains
  • Fights coughs
  • Prevents intestinal parasites
  • It’s very effective for treating respiratory conditions such as pharyngitis, asthma, and bronchitis
  • Alleviates constipation

For detoxing the body and slimming down

Basil shouldn’t be missing from any healthy detox or weight loss diet:

  • It’s diuretic properties fight water retention
  • Produces a satiating effect which helps you to eat less without going hungry
  • It’s a good remedy for reducing emotional hunger
  • Helps eliminate kidney stones
  • It’s stimulant properties help fight fatigue and increase your amount of calories you burn
  • Also fights abdominal swelling

Beauty remedy

A girl with serious acne.

These are some of the least known uses of basil, which are good for the skin and hair:

  • Its antioxidant properties help prevent premature ageing.
  • Fights hair loss and strengthens your hair follicles.
  • Reduces acne.
  • It is good for healing wounds.
  • Whitens your teeth.

Other properties

Finally, here are some other surprising health benefits of basil:

  • Improves circulation and cardiovascular health: Reduces arterial hypertension and high cholesterol
  • Boosts memory and mental capacity
  • Regulates blood sugar and prevents diabetes, as well as insulin resistance
  • For women that are nursing, it increases the secretion of milk
  • Prevents vertigo
  • Soothes mouth ulcers
  • It’s a natural mosquito repellent
  • Improves vision

These 40 benefits prove that basil is a really healthy food which you should consume every day, and take advantage of these medicinal properties!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Castañeda, B; Castro de la Mata, R; Manrique, R; Ibáñez, L; Fujita, R; Barnett; Mendoza, E. (2008). Estudio fitoquímico y farmacológico de 4 Plantas con efecto hipoglicemiante. Revista Horizonte Medico.
  • Marrero, G. V., Escandón, M. C., Soto, R., & Mendoza, A. (2004). Instructivo tecnico del cultivo de la albahaca (Ocinum basilicum L) en Cuba.
  • Colivet, J., Marcano, G., Belloso, G., Brito, D., & Gómez, E. (2012). Efecto antimicrobiano de extractos etanólicos de albahaca (Ocimum basilicum L.) sobre el crecimiento de Staphylococcus aureus. Revista Venezolana de Ciencia y Tecnología de Alimentos. https://doi.org/10.1021/jm00076a019
  • Cardoso-Ugarte, Sosa-Morales. (2012). Propiedades del aceite esencial de albahaca (Ocimum basilicum L.) y sus aplicaciones en alimentos. https://www.udlap.mx/wp/tsia/files/No6-Vol-1/TSIA-6(1)-Cardoso-Ugarte-et-al-2012.pdf

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.