Can you eat basil leaves?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat basil leaves?”. Moreover, we will discuss the types of basil, the health benefits of basil leaves along with the introduction of basil. We will also talk about the medical and household use of basil and basil leaves.

Can you eat basil leaves?

Yes, you can eat basil leaves. Basil leaves can be used to make foods more delicious while cooking them. They have many positive health effects on the body and play a role in maintaining the normal functioning of the body.

Basil is a herb that is a member of the mint family. It is considered one of the oldest known herbs which also has healing properties, so basil can be used for medicinal purposes as well.

Basil is a resident plant of the areas of India, Asia and Africa where it is considered a noble herb. The name basil comes from the ancient Greek word “basilikon” which means “royal”.

Sweet basil is commonly used in food and it has a major role in Mediterranean cuisine specifically in Italian cuisines. It is the main ingredient of pesto and gives a characteristic taste to salads, pasta, pizza and several other dishes. Including Italian cuisine, this herb also plays a major role in Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines.

Basil and its leaves can be found in any grocery store which can be used in food.

Types of Basil

Basil is a herb that requires a warm temperature of approximately 70 degrees or even more. The plant is tender which can quickly destroy at lower temperatures. 

Different types of basil can be used for food and other medicinal purposes. Different types of basil are described below:

  • Sweet basil
  • Genovese basil
  • Thai sweet basil
  • Purple basil
  • Lemon basil
  • Lime basil
  • Lettuce basil
  • Green ruffles
  • Holy basil
  • Cinnamon basil
  • African blue basil
  • Cardinal basil
  • Greek basil
  • Spicy Globe basil
  • Summerlong basil

Sweet basil:

Sweet basil is one of the most common types of basil which is medium green in colour and has round leaves. This type of basil is commonly known as a mosquito repellent.

Genovese basil:

Genovese basil is the type of basil that is classic Italian basil which has large dark green leaves. It is considered one of the best types of basil which can also be used in pesto and Italian foods. 

The leaves of Genovese basil are flatter and pointed as compared to the leaves of sweet basil. Genovese basil has a more aromatic flavour as compared to sweet basil.

Thai Sweet basil:

Thai sweet basil is the type of basil with dark and pointed leaves. They give a spicy, liquorice taste to the food. Thai sweet basil is commonly used in Asian cuisines which includes spicy sesame noodles or Thai basil chicken. This type of basil can retain its taste even at higher temperatures unlike other types of basil.

Purple basil:

Purple basil as the name indicates has a burgundy colour which makes it more exciting basil in the garden. Whereas, it tastes more like clove and is not sweet, which can add colour to the dish if steeped in oil or vinegar.

Lemon basil:

Lemon basil has a lemon-like scent when its leaf is crushed which can be used in fish or chicken marinades, grilled vegetables, desserts and teas.

Lime basil:

Lime basil has narrow leaves which are sweet and mild, but they have a strong citrus flavour. This basil is not common in gardens and can be used in sauces, desserts and teas.

Health benefits of basil

Basil leaves are used in many food dishes to enhance their flavour and also as a seasoning. Basil has many health benefits from providing a healthy gut to strong immunity. Some of the health benefits of basil leaves are as follows:

Maintain digestion

Basil is the healing food that plays its role in digestion and acts as a fortifier for the digestive and nervous system and helps in curing headaches and insomnia.

It has compound eugenol which plays an anti-inflammatory role in the digestive tract. It also plays its role in maintaining the pH of the body.

Anti-inflammatory action

Basil has anti-inflammatory properties that help the body to reduce the risk of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions.

Fights free radicals

Basil possesses some natural antioxidants which have a key role in protecting the body against several free radicals which are formed by body activities.

Skin advantages

Basil contains oil which acts as a natural cleanser for the skin. Basil is the perfect choice for oily skin that helps remove impurities and dirt due to which the pores get blocked.


In this article, we have answered the question “Can you eat basil leaves?”. Moreover, we have also discussed in detail the introduction of basil, its types and the health benefits of basil leaves.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!