Scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum) usage benefits and risks
Scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum) usage benefits and risks are what you are about to read. You may have seen it around but do not know its health benefits and how it is used. Kindly follow this article to the end. This article will inform and educate you on what you can use scent leaves for.
Origin of scent leaf
Scent leaves are referred to as Ocimum gratissimum scientifically. It’s native to Ghana, Nigeria, some parts of Africa and Asia. Scent leaf is a homegrown shrub found in gardens and backyards. It is mainly used for its numerous health benefits which this article has discussed. Usually used as a spice and first aid treatment for certain ailments.
Scent leaf gives a sweet aroma and unique taste when used to prepare meals. For this reason, Ghanaians and Nigerians do not leave it out of their spice list. (1√)
Other names for scent leaf
There are many other names for scent leaves. Every civilization across human history names plants according to their understanding. Below are some names used locally and internationally.
Preferred Common Name: African basil
Botanical Name: Ocimum gratissimum
√ Local names
- Nigeria: nchuanwu/ Ahuji (Igbo); efirin (Yoruba); daidoya (Hausa)
- Panama: origanum de castilla
- Thailand: horapha-chang; kaphrao-chang; yira
- Vietnam: é lá lớn; hương nhu trắng
- Netherlands Antilles: anis; yerba di hole blanku
- Malaysia: ruku-ruku hitam; selaseh besar
- India: ajeka; doshakleshi; elumiccam tulaci; elumichanthulasi; kattuthrithavu; mali-thulasi; perumthulasi; ram tulsi
- Cambodia: ling leak kranam
- Cuba: albahaca de clavo; canela; clavo; clavo mondonguero; laurel cimarrón; orégano cimarrón
- Brazil: alfavaca brava
- Dominican Republic: albahaca vaca; atiyayo
- Haiti: basilic à petites fleurs; basilic grandes feuilles; folle basin; fombasin; gran basilique; grand basilique; grand fombasin
- Indonesia: kemangi hutan; ruku-ruku rimba; selaseh mekah
- Jamaica: African tea bush
- Lesser Antilles: basilic; frond bazin; mint
√ International names
- English: clover basil; East Indian basil; shrubby basil; tree basil
- French: basilic sauvage; menthe gabonaise
- Chinese: wu mao ding xiang luo le
- Spanish: albahaca Africana; albahaca cimarrona; albahaca de limón
- Portuguese: alfavaca-de-caboclo; alfavacão (√2)
How to prepare scent leaf and use it
Scent leaf usage benefits and risks can not be known if one can not prepare it. Below are various ways to prepare it and use it for your benefit.
√ Preparing soup with the Scent Leaf
Scent leaves can not be used for soup in plenty proportion like other leaves. Unlike other leaves that can take charge as a main ingredient in the soup-making process. The scent leaf is just a spice.
To prepare a soup with scent leaves, all you need to do is:
- Pluck about two to three leaves (depending on the volume). Make sure to select the ones that are not affected by pests. Only look out for fresh and not too old leaves.
- Wash leaves with salt water first and later with clean water. This is to remove any dirt or germs on the leaves.
- Break leaves into smaller particles the way it suits you. Put it in the soup while at the early stage of the process. This allows leaves to immerse into soup. It automatically changes the soup’s taste and aroma.
• Which type of soup can you add the scent leaf
Scent leaves can be added to almost all soups provided it’s available. In Ghana, people do not really for just any soup as Nigerians do. Scent leaves most people are used to steaming meat and fish.
You are not limited in its use and therefore, it can be a spice for a variety of local dishes.
√ Preparing scent leaf tea
Just like the moringa plant, scent leaves can be boiled to drink. Below is a step-by-step approach to how to make a safe scent leaf tea.
- Do not pluck only a few leaves like you want to cook with them. With the tea, you need to pluck more leaves with their minor branches.
- Wash the leave thoroughly about twice or three times. Do this with a salt solution first. Rinse with fresh water to remove dirt and germs.
- Get a pot (clay pot preferred) and fill it with clean water to halfway or slightly more. Put leaves in it and boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. Without monitoring the time, stop the boiling when the colour of the water changes to a light green colour.
- Let the temperature reduces just like a warm tea before drinking.
• Dosage of scent leaf tea
Tea should be taken in the right proportion to avoid adverse reactions. Half of a small baby cup is okay every morning. For about 5 to 7 days if treating any ailment.
√ How to prepare scent leaf tea in an emergency or first aid treatment
For emergency treatment of running stomach, you may not have time to boil leaves. There is a way to prepare leaves without fire which is safe for consumption.
• Harvest a moderate amount of fresh scent leaves. Do not include stems. Especially overgrown stems. In this process, you need only the leaves. It is okay to include stems if you will boil them.
• Wash fresh leaves with salt water first and later with clean water. Ensure that all sorts are clean.
• After washing the leaves properly, pour them into a bowl. A medium-sized bowl is preferred. Add a moderate amount of water to the leaves in the bowl.
• Mash leaves with your palm. Do it like the way you wash clothes. Do it until the water turns green like the leaves themselves.
• Sieve it with a net or a clean white napkin. Your medicine is now ready for consumption. Take about just half a cup for treatment or prevention.
• Add a moderate amount of salt if the person is suffering from a running stomach.
Health benefits of scent leaf
√ Eye Protection: The scent leaf possesses a lot of vitamin A which is good for the eye. This vitamin in the scent leaf is responsible for correcting or preventing low vision.
A lack of Vitamin A can lead to a medical condition in which the eye may fail to produce tears. It can also cause night blindness. Consumption leaves cane scent leaves prevents such conditions.
√ Lowers blood sugar: Scent leaves have the capacity to lessen blood sugar. It protects the pancreatic islet that produce insulin from damage. A scientific study conducted on a mice demonstrate the ability of scent leaf to reduce blood sugar levels.
√ Digestion Enhancement: Scent leaves alleviate bloating which helps food digest on time. Scent leaf tea have effect on the digestive system which helps balance chemical reactions which may cause stomach disorders. Also, scent leaves tea prevent heartburn.
√ Boosts heart health: The presence of calcium and magnesium in scent leaves are good for the heart. These minerals reduces bad cholesterol and increase blood circulation.
Cholesterol can cause Coronary Artery Diseases in adults. The intake of the right amount of scent leaves can reduce or prevent any heart-related issues.
√ Sexual health:
Scent leaves contain amino acid that helps maintain excellent penile health and sperm vitality. It consumption also helps women who have fungal infections.
√ Anti-Inflammatory properties: Scent leaves has anti-inflammatory properties which act similar to pain killers. But scent leaves do not manage pain but fixes the problem completely. It is good for healing menstrual pain, headache, stomach ache and fever.
√ Fungal infection treatment: Scent leaves fights Penicillium chrysogenum (also known as Penicillium notatum), Candida albicans, and Microsporeum gyseum. Scent leaves shows strong effects on fungus according to some studies. This makes it use very popular among most women in the old days.
√ Serves as repellent for mosquito and insects: The camphor, cineole, and limonene which are larvicidal and harmful to mosquitoes or other insects. This herbs presence in your home reduces mosquito population hence reducing malaria rate.
√ Respiratory disorder treatment:
Scent leaves have the ability to stabilise the activities of the respiratory system. This improves it functions and prevent any respiratory complications.
√ Oral hygiene: The stem of scent leaves can be used as chewing stick. This practice kills bacteria and fights bad breath. It is able to prevent tooth decay. You can gargle hot scent leaf tea when having sore throat.
√ Wound healing properties: It is used in the treatment of wounds. Scent leaf is widely used in the dressing of neonatal umbilical cord and wounds. This is because it is believed to disinfect the surface of wounds.
The wound-healing impact of scent leaf is because of its ability to increase vascular permeability. It oil is used as the base of pimples and boil creams.
√ Source of oil and aromatic: Oil can be extracted from scent leaf plants. This oil can form the basis of perfumes, soaps, ointment and more. The oil according to some sources can be used for massaging the body.
Possible side effects of abusing scent leaf
Allergy: Contact your doctor or emergency health care if you experience any adverse effects such as difficulty in breathing, or swelling, among others.
Blood clotting: Scent leaves possess a lot of Vitamin K which plays a role in blood clothing. Taking in scent leaf tea or food can increase Vitamin K in the blood.
It is risky for people to take blood thinners. Make sure to consult your doctor if you are on a blood thinner drug before eating food prepared with the leaves.
Pregnancy:Scent leaves have been proven to cause certain problems in pregnant and lactating mothers. Do not take it when pregnant.
See your doctor for further explanation on pregnancy health-related issues.
How to grow scent leaf at home
Scent leaves just like other home spices can be grown in backyards and pots. It is very easy to grow them because they can withstand unfavourable weather conditions.
In other to grow it, get some of its dry flowers and sprinkle them around the area where you want them to grow. Make sure to water it often. Once it germinates you can leave it on its own. They grow in groups and multiply fast and so you have to control their growth. You can do this by uprooting unwanted ones.
It’s as simple as you have read. Now you can get the dry flowers which contain its seed and try.
Conclusion: Scent leaves are good leaves which have a lot of benefits for man. It can also be a problem if it’s your allergy or you are pregnant. Its utilization should be in moderation to avoid any complications.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice or a guide. Kindly seek the permission or directives of a professional doctor before using scent leaf.