1. Aids Digestion

Our digestive system takes up almost 60-per cent of all of the energy our body produces. When we experience the onset of gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease and lactose intolerance, our immune system takes a hit.

Digestive inflammation is swelling in the intestinal wall, allowing toxins to pass through the permeable barrier and enter the bloodstream where they start to cause symptoms of systemic inflammation. What we eat takes a significant role in your digestive health, and eating refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour products, is no good for your gut.

Fortunately, holy basil has potent anti-inflammatory effects on the digestive system. Try chewing on holy basil leaves after or before a meal – this strategy allows the polyphenols from the leaves to enter your digestive system where they go to work relieving symptoms of intestinal inflammation.

Chewing on basil leaves also reduces the acidity of the stomach, helping it achieve an alkaline balance that improves digestive health.

Our digestive system takes up almost 60-per cent of all of the energy our body produces. When we experience the onset of gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease and lactose intolerance, our immune system takes a hit.

Digestive inflammation is swelling in the intestinal wall, allowing toxins to pass through the permeable barrier and enter the bloodstream where they start to cause symptoms of systemic inflammation. What we eat takes a significant role in your digestive health, and eating refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour products, is no good for your gut.

Fortunately, holy basil has potent anti-inflammatory effects on the digestive system. Try chewing on holy basil leaves after or before a meal – this strategy allows the polyphenols from the leaves to enter your digestive system where they go to work relieving symptoms of intestinal inflammation.

Chewing on basil leaves also reduces the acidity of the stomach, helping it achieve an alkaline balance that improves digestive health.

2. Anti-inflammatory Properties

As previously explained, inflammation of the digestive system spreads systemically to every other region of the body. When the intestinal wall swells, it separates the webbing of the permeable barrier, allowing toxins to pass through the intestines where they enter the bloodstream.

As a result of this toxic shock, people who suffer from ailments like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease may experience an exacerbation in their symptoms. IF left untreated and unmanaged, intestinal inflammation can lead to bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps.

However, there is hope for people who experience digestive inflammation. Chewing on basil leaves throughout the day releases polyphenols into your gut that go to work on reducing systemic inflammation in the body.

People who regularly chew on basil leaves notice that they have fewer bouts of inflammation associated with eating and drinking carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages. The potent polyphenols eugenol, linalool, and citronellol are the compounds found in holy basil that assist the body in dealing with the effects of inflammation.

3. Potent Antioxidant

Antioxidants play a significant role in removing free radicals from the bloodstream. Free radicals are harmful particles that induce cell oxidation and cell death, causing a variety of dysfunctions in the body, depending on where they are present.

For instance, those people that spend too long in the sun may receive sunburn due to the intense UV rays of the sun burning their skin. As a result, the skin swells and becomes painful to the touch. This effect is a sign of oxidative stress as free radicals kill off healthy skin cells, resulting in premature signs of aging – such as wrinkles.

Adding foods with high concentrations of antioxidants to your diet may assist the body with scavenging free radicals, preventing them from doing any permanent damage. Chewing on holy basil leaves is an excellent way to boost your daily intake of antioxidants. The eugenol, linalool, and citronellol polyphenols found in the leaves scavenge free radicals, protecting your body.

4. Enhance Skin Health

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. When something goes wrong with our organs, we visit a doctor for an ultrasound or x-ray diagnosis of what’s going wrong. However, since the skin is the only external organ, it becomes quite apparent when we start to develop skin disorders.

The sebaceous glands in the skin secrete sebum, natural, waxy oil that lubricates the epidermis, preventing it from drying out. However, when we expose our skin to extreme climates, such as arid environments with low humidity, our sebaceous glands struggle to maintain sebum production, resulting in dry, flaky skin that’s prone to infection.

Chewing on holy basil leaves can help to solve the problem of dry skin. The antimicrobial properties of the compounds in the leaves prevent infection, while the polyphenols help to enhance sebum secretion by the sebaceous glands. You can also make a paste from basil leaves and apply it as a face mask to provide your skin with a dose of antioxidants that keep you looking youthful.

5. Balance Mood

Our mood varies depending on the neurotransmitter function in the brain. The brain releases serotonin to help balance our spirit. However, when we’re feeling stressed, the biological response from the body slows secretion of this neurotransmitter, and we may notice that we start to feel “under the weather,” or we might begin to feel the signs of depression building in our mind.

Neurotransmitter production is essential if we want to maintain a balanced and happy lifestyle.

Fortunately, chewing on holy basil leaves throughout the day can help improve neurotransmitter production and efficiency.

Diffusing with basil essential oil provides an excellent way to absorb all of the potent polyphenol benefits found in holy basil. Pour some boiling water into a dish, then add a few drops of holy basil essential oil. Throw a towel or blanket over your head and breathe in the steam. The polyphenols enter the bloodstream through the lungs, and you should notice your mood starts to improve in 15-minutes after beginning the therapy.

6. Control Blood Sugar

Nearly 100-million Americans live with prediabetes or diabetes, that’s a staggering percentage of the population that’s dealing with a blood glucose disorder. People with diabetes maintain an elevated blood sugar level that eventually causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin.

This condition, also known as “insulin resistance,” means that the affected individual will require shots of exogenous insulin for the rest of their lives to help them manage their blood glucose level and prevent them from falling into a coma after eating a meal.

Diabetes is a severe health issue, and it can cause all sorts of health complications if left undiagnosed and unmanaged. Fortunately, chewing on holy basil may provide some relief to people who are in the prediabetic phase of the blood sugar disorder.

The polyphenols found in holy basil leaves help improve insulin resistance. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise, holy basil has the potential to help a prediabetic person recover their insulin sensitivity and avoid developing diabetes type 1 or 2.

7. Supports the Liver

The liver is part of the body’s filter system. Along with the kidneys, the liver is responsible for removing toxins, as well as playing a vital role in the production of LDL cholesterol and bilirubin to digest food.

When the liver experiences damage, it’s the only organ that has the capability of healing itself and regenerating new tissue to replace the damaged liver cells. However, some people may develop a condition known as “fatty liver disease,” where the liver starts to experience stress from toxins, such as excessive alcohol consumption. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this damage can develop into liver disease known as “cirrhosis.”

Cirrhosis is a life-threatening condition if left unmanaged, and can result in the development of liver cancer.  Fortunately, chewing on holy basil leaves makes for an excellent way to detoxify your liver and restore liver function. The polyphenols are responsible for this detoxifying power of holy basil, providing medicinal properties that make it an effective natural treatment for liver distress.

8. Improve Gut Health

Our digestive system is home to trillions of live bacteria known as, “biomes.” Recent research into these microscopic organisms shows that they significantly contribute to our state of well-being.

When we at bad foods like refined carbohydrates, the gastrointestinal system experiences the onset of inflammation in the walls of the intestines. This inflammatory response changes the delicate balance of our biomes, resulting in bloating and gas.

Biomes also play a role in our mental health as well, and we may not realize it, but they are the source of all of our cravings. If you’ve ever quit eating sugar products for some time, you’ll notice that you have intense cravings for sugary foods that dissipate after a few weeks. This effect is due to your biomes changing their preferences form sugar to healthy foods.

Chewing on holy basil leaves is an excellent practice to improve the health of your gut biomes. The anti-inflammatory effect of the polyphenols in the gut allows you to maintain a healthy bacterial balance.

9. Natural Adaptogenic Properties

Living in the modern world comes with a burgeoning stress load that can leave you feeling frazzled at the end of the week. If you walk out of the office on Friday afternoon, and you have feelings of dread about Monday morning, then you may want to take the weekend to unwind.

Fortunately, basil has adaptogenic properties that help your body deal with stress. You can chew on basil leaves in the afternoon at work to benefit from the stress-busting power of the herb. When you get home from work, run yourself a hot bath and add a few drops of basil leaf extract to the water.

Relax in the tub and breathe in the aromatic steam. The adaptogenic compounds in the essential oil enter your airways where your lungs pull the polyphenol antioxidants into the bloodstream. You can repeat this treatment as often as you like, with no harmful side effects.

10. Antibacterial Properties

Are you dealing with a cut, scrape, or rash on your skin? Every day, we expose our skin to plenty of bacteria and viruses. In most cases, the skin acts as a barrier, preventing pathogens from entering the body.

However, when we experience injuries such as a cut, we expose the underlying tissues to external environmental toxins and pathogens. As a result, the wound may become infected, and we may contract a viral, fungal, or bacterial infection of the skin. If left untreated, this infection could spread to other regions in the body, causing many health complications.

Chewing on basil leaves every day allows your body to absorb the beneficial anti-microbial, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties of the herb. If you experience a cut or scrape, mix some basil oil with coconut oil and rub it into the wound. The natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties of the basil and coconut keep the wound clean and free from bacterial or fungal infection.

11. Enhance Cardiovascular Health

Chewing on basil leaves every day allows your body to absorb the antioxidant phytonutrients found in the leaves. The polyphenols found in basil have potent anti-inflammatory and nervine properties that assist with enhancing heart health.

Basil helps to improve circulation by relaxing blood vessels, allowing them to maintain healthy levels of blood pressure and relieve any symptoms of hypertension. Eating basil leaves also helps to minimize platelet aggregation the clotting of blood platelets that leads to cardiac arrest in patients with heart disease.

The anti-inflammatory properties of basil also help to reduce any inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Inflammation is one of the leading causes of heart disease, and chewing on basil leaves helps to reduce the presence of inflammatory cytokines that lead to the development of an “inflammatory cascade.”

People who have elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines place stress on their organs, resulting in disorders and dysfunctions to normal metabolic activity. As a result, circulation slows, hormone imbalances occur, and there is an increase in LDL cholesterol production that dangerous for the health of your heart.

Chewing on basil leaves helps to reduce the presence of these cytokines, and return the cholesterol profile to a healthy level that does not cause the onset of heart disease.

12. Immune Booster

More than two-thirds of the immune system resides in the gastrointestinal system. Therefore, gut health plays a significant role in our resistance to disease and infection. When our immune system is not functioning optimally, we have a higher risk of contracting a pathogen, resulting in infection.

Also, people who have weak immune systems may also be at risk of experiencing the worst effects of the infection. As a result, they may experience intense symptoms that are beyond what people with healthy immune function would receive.

Eating basil leaves every day helps to improve your gut health and boost your immune system. People with healthy immune systems get sick less often, have less intense symptoms, and heal faster from the effects of disease on their bodies.

Chew the leaves and use the essential oil extract in your hygiene. People who are already sick can benefit from including basil leaves and oils in their treatment.

13. Antipyretic Properties

When a pathogen like a virus or bacteria enters the body, the brain triggers the production of pyrogen proteins. These pyrogens attach to nerve endings, where they send signals to the nervous system to increase body temperature.

Increasing base body temperature provides the pathogen with a hostile environment. As a result, the virus or bacteria may have trouble replicating and spreading throughout the body. The brain keeps adjusting the temperature level until it notices that it’s winning the battle against the infection.

However, fevers of over 101F are considered to be dangerous by medical professionals. If the patient reaches this level, the doctor may reduce the temperature using medications. Chewing on basil leaves or diffusing with essential oils helps to minimize pyrogenic activity in the body, breaking a fever.

Doctors may think it’s a better idea to break a high-fever with drugs to avoid complications. However, patients can manage their condition using basil leaves and extracts if it presents less severe symptoms.

14. Fight Depression

Millions of Americans live with the effects of depression. People who are depressed find that their mental state is in disarray, and they may experience consistent feelings of sadness, guilt, or unworthiness during the day.

Clinical depression describes a mental state where the patient experiences these negative emotions for a period of longer than two weeks. Depression can ruin lives and invite thoughts of suicide. To treat clinical depression, doctors prescribe SSRI medications to improve the serotonin balance in the brain.

Serotonin is the “happy” neurotransmitter that elevates our mood and brings us feelings of happiness. However, people with depression have an imbalance of this neurotransmitter in the brain, resulting in a permanent depressive state. Drugs can increase serotonin levels, but they often come with horrific side effects.

Chewing on basil leaves every day helps to increase serotonin production. Over 90-percent of all serotonin production comes from the gut, and by increasing your gut health with basil, you enhance your serotonin production.

5 Health Benefits Of Comfrey

Alternative health and medicine are riddled with paradoxes. Certain healing tonics can either heal or harm depending on how they’re administered. Plant-based creams and balms can soothe the skin but also poison the internal organs if used in excess quantities. Comfrey is without a doubt a prime example of the healing paradox and has been the subject of considerable debate in recent years.

Comfrey, a perennial herb native to the ditches and riverbanks of Europe, has long been used in traditional medicine. Medical records dating back to the Middle Ages commonly make reference to herbalists prescribing comfrey for a wide range of ailments, and up until the 20th century, it was considered to be “one of nature’s greatest medicinal herbs.” Undoubtedly, comfrey has healed hundreds of thousands of ailments across the globe, and in the right hands, it continues to do so today.

Is comfrey safe?

Much of the controversy surrounding comfrey has developed in response to recent studies that suggest comfrey can have a toxic effect on the body, especially the liver. A study published this year in the Journal of Public Health Nutrition reviewed the biology of comfrey, explaining that this toxicity is due to the herb containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which are then thought to be converted into highly reactive pyrolles that can damage the liver and certain other organs.

The claim is not without merit, but it appears that in most cases comfrey is perfectly safe to use. A literature review published in the Journal of Trends in Pharmacological Sciences concluded that “comfrey might not be as dangerous to humans as current restrictions indicate.” Other research suggests that the warnings surrounding comfrey are largely unfounded, pointing out that the toxicity claims surrounding comfrey are derived from studies that isolated the PAs and fed or injected them into animal subjects at doses much higher than would ever be experienced from standard therapeutic use of comfrey leaf.

That view is supported by plenty of other research, with a 2014 review of 239 professional herbalists in the UK finding that 75 per cent of them prescribe comfrey on a regular basis, and with good results. They found that comfrey was particularly effective in the treatment of tendon, ligament and muscle problems, and for the treatment and healing of wounds.

Clearly, in the right hands, comfrey is perfectly safe to use.

The many health benefits of comfrey

As the star of hundreds of years worth of traditional folk remedies, it’s apparent that comfrey can provide a wide range of significant health benefits. Here are some of them.

Healing wounds

Comfrey has long been used a natural remedy for speeding up the healing process. While our medieval ancestors may not have known the exact mechanisms by which comfrey achieved this, we now know that this healing effect is due to comfrey’s high concentrations of vitamin C and calcium. This makes it an effective way to ensure rapid and successful healing of superficial wounds but may also help in the healing of bones and muscles internally.

And it’s not just medieval hearsay. A 2007 double-blind study of 278 patients used a topically prepared application that contained 10 per cent comfrey leaf extract as the active ingredient to verify these claims. Researchers found that “a highly significantly and clinically relevantly faster initial reduction of wound size…was found.” They found that patients’ wounds took on average three days less to heal completely than the control group and that there were no adverse effects or intolerability issues. It doesn’t get much better than that, folks!

Soothing skin issues

The vitamin C in comfrey can help heal insect bites.

The bucket loads of antioxidants in comfrey, in particular vitamin C, make it an excellent go-to for skin problems and insect bites. Comfrey is often prescribed by herbalists and functional practitioners to treat bad cases of eczema, psoriasis and even acne. Not only that, rubbing an ointment containing comfrey leaf extract on your mosquito, spider or tick bites can soothe the itching and prevent infection from developing.

Bones and joint healing

Unlike many other natural remedies, comfrey has received considerable attention in the scientific community —and not just for controversial reasons. One of the areas that have received the most interest is with regards to bone and joint injuries and chronic disorders.

For example, a 2004 study published in the Journal of Psychomedicine found that comfrey’s anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain-relieving) and tissue-regenerating properties could be utilized to reduce the pain associated with ankle sprains, and dramatically increase ankle flexibility. A study published three years earlier found exactly the same thing. Another article, this time published in 2009, demonstrated that “comfrey root extract showed a remarkably potent and clinically relevant effect in reducing acute back pain.” Researchers also noted that they were rather impressed with how quickly the comfrey ointment worked, stating that its effect was apparent within one hour.

Boosts immunity

Comfrey can help boost immunity for fighting infections.

As discussed earlier, comfrey contains high concentrations of bioavailable vitamin C. Because a healthy immune system relies, at least in part, on external sources of vitamin C, comfrey is a great way to boost your immunity. Because of its potential toxicity issues, I wouldn’t recommend taking comfrey internally unless prescribed by a trained professional, but external use is a different story. Our skin is able to absorb certain quantities of vitamin C and other beneficial compounds in comfrey, meaning the topical application is a much safer way to get those immune-boosting effects.

Fights inflammation

You’ve probably guessed by now that comfrey has rather remarkable powers when it comes to healing. It can speed the healing of bones (it’s not called “knit bone” for nothing), close up wounds and alleviate pain… all of which are linked to inflammation. The anti-inflammatory compounds in comfrey mean topical application in areas where arthritis, gout or other inflammatory disorders are causing you pain, can go a long way towards reducing your symptoms and improving mobility.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine demonstrated the anti-inflammatory powers of comfrey by using a topical cream containing the herb on 43 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. Patients were asked to apply the cream three times per day.

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