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Health Benefits and Hydroponics of Basil

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

Basil is essentially a herb. But it’s frequently used as a spice in kitchens because of its aroma and peppery taste. Basil is a common ingredient in Italian and Indian culinary preparations, and justifiably so.




Hydroponics of Basil

Soil based basil versus hydroponic basil - which one is healthier? Turns out hydroponic has more antioxidants, and more vitamins and phytonutrients. The general reason is that they excess water stresses the plant and, as a defense mechanism, basil releases phenolic antioxidant phytochemicals, and we are the recipients of the benefits.


To preserve the chemical composition of basil, it’s best if it’s used fresh. Here’s how to grow basil in a soil-free system:


Hydroponic System

Choice of hydroponic production systems has little to no effect on the growth of basil. Therefore, a system should be selected based on ease of use.


Daylight requirement

Basil requires at least 10-12 hours of daylight for optimum growth.


Nutrient Solution

The electrical conductivity (EC) of the nutrient solution affects the nutritional value of basil. For example, increasing (EC) of the solution promotes nitrogen accumulation. (Walters & Currey , 2018)


Also, a combination of LED lights and controlled-release NPK fertilizer enhances the growth of basil.


Fresh basil leaves better reflect its health benefits and nutritional value. Processed, dried basil not only loses its whole foods nature but also some of its nutritional content


Nutritional Profile of Basil

Water

Water makes more than 90% of basil tissue mass. (FoodData Central, 2018)


Carbohydrates

Low on monosaccharides, but basil still has carbohydrates and fibers in considerable quantities.


Proteins

Protein content includes a mixture of essential and non-essential amino acids.


Minerals

Two of the most notable minerals found in basil are calcium and potassium.


Health Benefits of Basil

Following are the two main health benefits of basil:


Antioxidant Activity

Essential oils in basil have antioxidative properties. Other health benefits also include anti-cancer properties, anti-inflammatory effects, and anti-microbial activity. (Shahrajabian, Sun, & Cheng, 2020)


Skin Healing

When applied to the skin, basil has a moisturizing effect and suppresses wrinkles. (Singletary, 2018)


Chemistry of Basil

Basil owes its characteristic flavor and aroma to essential oils. Essential oil is a volatile liquid, which means, if exposed, it tends to evaporate quickly—and find its way into your nose. This volatile liquid is a mixture of aromatic compounds methyl cinnamate, linalool, β-elemene, and camphor. (Kathirvel & Ravi, 2010). Interestingly, though, different varieties of basil exist because of varying proportions of aromatic compounds.


References

FoodData Central. (2018, April). Retrieved from U.S. Department of Agriculture: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172232/nutrients


Kathirvel, P., & Ravi, S. (2010, August 31). Chemical composition of the essential oil from basil (Ocimum basilicum Linn.) and its in vitro cytotoxicity against HeLa and HEp-2 human cancer cell lines and NIH 3T3 mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Natural Product Research, 1112-1118. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2010.545357


Shahrajabian, M. H., Sun, W., & Cheng, Q. (2020, November 8). Chemical components and pharmacological benefits of Basil (Ocimum basilicum): a review.


International Journal of Food Properties, 1961-1970. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/10942912.2020.1828456


Singletary, K. W. (2018). Basil: A Brief Summary of Potential Health Benefits. Nutrition Today, 92-97. Retrieved from Nutrition Today: https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Fulltext/2018/03000/Basil__A_Brief_Summary_of_Potential_Health.9.aspx


Walters, K., & Currey , C. (2018, September). Effects of Nutrient Solution Concentration and Daily Light Integral on Growth and Nutrient Concentration of Several Basil Species in Hydroponic Production. American Society for Horticulture Science, 53(9). doi:https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI13126-18


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