The seeds grown in your garden offer so much food, nutrition and medicine, yet the extent of their value is often overlooked. Take the abundant Basil seed for example. This is a post from May last year. I decided to repost because I can see my basil seeds getting ready for harvest again!
Typically in gardens we are encouraged to chop the seed heads off annual basil bushes to get more leaf growth. This is of course a useful tip, but I'd like to share with you some of the many benefits of actually allowing basils to seed, and how you can utilise these flavoursome, nutritious and medicinal seeds. (In India they are called sabja seeds and in Arabic they are known as falooda seeds.)
The delightful flowering Lemon Basil bush - such a wonderful aroma from the leaves and the seeds, and such a happy plant for the bees.
1. Basil Seeds Ease Headaches
Lately I've had a few headaches, not a usual thing for me, so I have been exploring my garden for some natural headache remedies. One I found is basil seed - eating them, and using their oil.
As I explored further, I realised there were many other benefits to basil seeds - and there are just so many on each bush! Another wonderfully abundant plant that happily self-seeds and can be easily propagated by cuttings.
2. Add Basil Seed to Flavour a Curry
I love the fresh flavour and aroma of adding freshly crushed basil seeds to curries - particularly lemon basil!
Lemon basil seeds harvested today from my garden. I let the seeds dry on the bush, then chop off the seedbeds and collect in a paper bag. The seeds will come out in the bag with a bit of shaking and rubbing.
3. Eat Basil Seed to Improve digestion
I didn't realise until recently that basil seeds are used in India similarly to Chia. Like Chia seeds - when soaked in water for 30 minutes, basil seeds swell up and can be added to drinks for extra fibre and nutrients. As a sweet drink with fruits and yoghurt they can improve digestion, and help with detoxification.
4. Eat Basil Seed to Lose weight
Because they swell and make you full, basil seeds can also assist in weight loss.
5. Sooth Coughs with Basil Seeds
Basil seeds are helpful in soothing coughs, sore throats and colds. The seeds are included in many herbal cough syrups. Make your own soothing tonic for the respiratory system by mixing crushed basil seeds, honey and ginger with warm water.
6. Basil Seeds are Uplifting
There is an uplifting effect from eating basil seeds. They also help to ease mental fatigue, nervous tension, melancholy, depression and migraine. Because of its calming effects, it is commonly used in aromatherapy for clarity and mental strength.
7. Basil Seeds Repel Insects
The seeds can be used as an insect repellent. Simply mix coconut oil and crushed basil seeds. (NB: you could eat this, but it's better rubbed on your skin!)
As a little aside, another wonderful plant I talk a lot about at this time of year is Rosella. I eat the leaves in salad and stir-fry and dry the deep red calyx for a high Vitamin C tea . Did you know that you can dry and save the seeds as a great chicken food? You can also roast and grind the seeds as a yummy flour.