Basil Seeds (Ocimum basilicum) – native to Asia and the Mediterranean regions.
Other common names – sabja, tukmaria, falooda
Basil seeds are cousins to Chia Seeds. Basil seeds are black, tiny and round. Whereas, Chia seeds are little bit larger and more oval in shape and can be in a variety of colors. Chia seeds can be eaten raw. Basil seeds, however, need to be soaked in water for an hour or two and form a gelatinous thick mass.
Basil seeds have similar nutrients composition as Chia seeds, these including protein, soluble fiber, vitamins, and even omega-3 fatty acids. However, basil seeds contain plenty of iron.
Basil seeds are known for their cooling and filling effects
- Improve Heart Health – Thanks to its soluble fiber content, basil seeds help to decrease cholesterol. In ayurvedic medicine, basil seeds are used to treat hypertension. A study by the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology in 2010 found basil seed oil to significantly reduce high lipid levels in the body and exerted a cardioprotective effect on the animals against hyperlipidemia. This effect is due to the one of the oils actions in suppressing liver lipid synthesis. (1)
- Soothe digestive system – just like chia seeds, basil seeds swell to form a gelatinous outer layer. This layer helps line the digestive tract and in turn helps soothe and aide in digestion. Thanks to it’s fiber content, it also helps in treating problems with bowel movements. The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine found basil seed oil to have anti-inflammatory effect that makes it a good anti-ulcer treatment for any one with gastric ulcers. (2)
- Aid in Weight Loss – Has been shown by the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine and the International Journal of PharmTech Research to prevent weight gain via appetite suppressant function (3)
- Treat cough or cold – basil seeds have an antispasmodic and antipyretic (helps to bring down a fever) effect. Persian herbal medicine have used basil seeds for centuries to treat various conditions from common cold and cough to asthma.(4)
- Decrease Inflammation – basil seeds have anti-inflammatory properties which help decrease swelling and edema due to inflammation by inhibiting cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenasez(5). Due this property, the seeds are used to reduce arthritic swelling in Ayurvedic Medicine.
- Boost Oral Health – Basil seeds also have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Studies conducted in 2010 and 2014 found basil seeds to be effective against Streptococcus mutans, an organism responsible for tooth decay, and provide protection against a host of dental issues like cavities, plaque, mouth ulcers, gum disease, and bad breath. (2, 3)
- Source of Fatty Acids – basil seeds are rich in fatty acids such as linolenic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid (2)
- Hair Care – basil seeds are high in iron, various antioxidants, as well as vitamin K which helps stimulate the production of hair and prevent premature hair loss (2)
How to incorporate into diet
- Submerge ½ cup of seeds in 1 cup of water for 30min to an hour to increase nutritional value and gelatinous
- Remove from water and add to yogurt, toppings for salads, soups, oatmeal, pasta dishes and even ice cream
- Use as a thickening agent for certain drinks – smoothie, shakes, milkshakes
Basil Seed Breakfast Bowl
Yield: 2 servings
Basil Seed Mixture
4 tbsp basil seeds
1 – 1.25 cups almond or coconut milk
2 small bananas, chopped small
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
two pinches of cinnamon
2 tbsp cooked quinoa or raw oats
2 tbsp raisins, soaked
2 tbsp whole raw almonds, chopped and soaked
couples pinches of cinnamon
2 tbsp hemp seeds(optional)
1. Mash bananas in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in basil seeds. Whisk in the almond milk, vanilla, and cinnamon until combined. Place in fridge overnight to thicken.
2. Add quinoa/oats, raisins, and chopped almonds into another bowl. Cover in water and soak overnight in the fridge or on the counter.
3. In the morning, place your desired amount of chia pudding into a bowl. (Note: at this point, you can blend your chia pudding if a smooth texture is desired, but I don’t bother). You can add more almond milk if you want to thin it out in the morning. Or, if it’s too thin, add more basil seeds to thicken it up. Sprinkle on top of chia mixture along with a pinch of cinnamon and a tablespoon of hemp seeds. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired. Store leftovers in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Watermelon Juice with Basil Seeds
2 ¼ cup of seedless watermelon, cubed & chilled
½ cup ice cubes
¾ cups of water
1-2 tbsp basil seeds, soaked in water overnight in the fridge
Blend watermelon, ice cubes and water into blender and give quick blend until everything is fully blended. Pour juice into glass. Add a few spoonfuls of basil seeds
Detox Basil Seeds Lemonade – makes 2 tall glasses
2 Cups Water
2 Tbsp Basil seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
1 pinch of Himalayan Salt
(optional – 1 tsp honey)
1. In a small bowl place basil seeds and pour ½ cup of water and let it stand for an hour
2. You can see the seeds absorbing the water and becoming bigger in size while forming a white jelly like cocoon around it
3. Cut the lemon and squeeze the juice in a pitcher. Add salt, honey, soaked basil seeds, cinnamon stick, and water and mix well. Place pitcher in fridge till lemonade is cool.
(Note: if you want a warmer blend, make with hot water and add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for a more detoxifying kick.
4. Serve in tall glasses.
The lemon aids in digestion and detoxification, good source of vitamin C, rejuvenates the skin, aids in weight loss, and boosts energy and mood.