Basil is an aromatic herb of the same family as mint, rosemary, and oregano. It’s one of the most familiar herbs around, used commonly in marinara sauce, Caprese salad, and other recipes, but what’s not-so-common are its many disease-fighting properties.

Here are five fights in which cooking with basil can help you out:

01 Fight inflammation

Basil contains the enzyme-inhibiting oils eugenol, citronellol, and linalool, which can help fight inflammation.

02 Fight cancer

Holy basil (also called Tulsi) has been shown to increase antioxidant activity, fight free radicals, and reduce the spread of cancerous tumors  (research here).

03 Fight bad bacteria

Basil is also known for its antibacterial properties (study here).

04 Fight heart disease

Basil’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are also helpful to your heart. In addition, basil can help regulate blood pressure.

05 Fight stress

Okay, the word fight feels funny here, but basil’s benefit as an adaptogen is not to be overlooked! This study suggests basil helps the body adapt to stress.

Could basil also help you kick unhealthy eating habits to the curb?

On a less scientific note, herbs like basil make healthy food taste better, which can lead to a whole cascade of benefits for your health. Find more sage advice about seasoning here.

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