Basil is not only a beautifully fragrant, versatile herb (it's at home in Mediterranean dishes and various Asian cuisines alike), a handful of fresh leaves is teeming with great health benefits, too.
In blogger, writer, and cook Lily Diamond's new book Kale & Caramel, she explores different types of herbs and flowers and showcases their healing qualities and taste profiles in recipes for eating and topical use. She kicks off the book with basil: "In India, certain varietals of basil are called holy and are used to treat internal and external health challenges. Closer to home, your local, garden-variety basil can also be used to treat disturbances of the skin and the digestive system."
The herb contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, antibacterial oils that boost immunity, and lots of vitamin K, which helps maintain healthy blood vessels.
The good news: Basil can grow almost anywhere and is widely available. Once you've got your hands on it, give this soup from Kale & Caramel a try.