The magical black seeds

By Faiza M.
Tue, 05, 23

People in Pakistan and Southeast Asia often mix them in desserts and drinks, and basil seeds are becoming more commonly used in other parts of the world as well....

The magical black seeds


Basil seeds aren’t just for growing basil plants - you can also eat them. Many cuisines use basil as an herb to flavour dishes. Not only does basil have a unique flavour, but it also is a great source of nutrition. The seeds of basil plants are also edible. People in Pakistan and Southeast Asia often mix them in desserts and drinks, and basil seeds are becoming more commonly used in other parts of the world as well.

They look similar to sesame seeds or chia seeds but are black and different in properties. The type that you eat typically comes from sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum, which is the plant commonly used to season foods. For this reason, the seeds are typically referred to as sweet basil seeds. They also go by many other names, including Sabja or Tukmaria seeds and more commonly known as Tukhm e Malanga in Pakistan.

Basil seeds are very hard and you cannot consume them raw. So, they are best consumed after soaking in water, which makes them more gelatinous. Basil seeds have a long history of use in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, but their health effects have only been tested in a few studies. Here are few fascinating benefits and uses of basil seeds…

Good source of minerals - 1 tablespoon (13 grams or 0.5 ounces) of basil seeds supplies 15 per cent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for calcium and 10 per cent of the RDI for magnesium and iron. Calcium and magnesium are essential for your bone health and muscle function, while iron is vital for red blood cell production. Many people don’t get enough calcium and magnesium through their diet. Eating basil seeds could help you reach your daily needs of these nutrients. Additionally, basil seeds could be an important source of iron and calcium for people who don’t eat meat or dairy products.

The magical black seeds

Acts as a natural body coolant - Basil seeds help to neutralise the acidic effect of HCL in the body, which can bring relief from acidity and heartburn. This is because we consume the seeds after being soaked in water, the water content helps soothe the stomach lining and relieves you from the burning sensation. Drinks including basil seeds provide great relief from the scorching heat of summers. Basil seeds are known to reduce body heat and have a soothing effect on the stomach. These seeds can be part of a variety of drinks like lemonades, coconut water, coconut milk, milkshakes, smoothies, yoghurt etc.

Aids in weight loss - These seeds play an important role in ayurvedic medicines that relieve conditions which include high blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, type II diabetes, and metabolic imbalances. A recent discovery said that these seeds can keep you feeling full and thus, avoid unwanted binging. Basil seeds for weight loss have gained immense popularity recently because of consistent and reliable evidence.

How it works is, basil seeds swell up and release digestive enzymes when soaked in water. Upon consumption, these digestive enzymes suppress your appetite and help reduce unwanted cravings. Basil seeds are loaded with fibre, which keeps you feeling full for a long time and thus, prevents you from unnecessary overeating by reducing your appetite.

These seeds are low in calories and high in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, along with other multivitamins. They are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which stimulates the fat-burning metabolism in your body.

Basil seeds for skin and hair - We can accomplish Basil seeds’ benefit for the skin by adding crushed seeds to coconut oil and applying it to the affected area. This helps in treating skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis. It also has numerous other benefits like regularly eating the seeds helps your body to secrete collagen, which is required to form new skin cells.

It is proven that Basil seeds are beneficial for maintaining healthy hair as they are full of iron, vitamin K, a protein that is needed for long and strong hair. Also, the antioxidant properties present in them also benefit your skin and hair in different ways.

Reduces stress and anxiety - Basil seeds have a calming effect on the body, as well as the mind. They reduce stress, tension, and anxiety, leaving us to feel happier. Basil seeds are rich in flavonoids, tannins and terpenoids. Their anti-oxidant activity is also shown to have memory-enhancing effects in some.

The magical black seeds

How to include it in your diet:

Basil seeds have a mild flavor and a gelatinous texture when soaked, making them easy to add to drinks and desserts. In many parts of Asia, people commonly use basil seeds this way. An example is Falooda, a very popular dessert in many parts of Pakistan. There are many recipes online for different basil seed dishes.

To add basil seeds into a dish, start by soaking them in water. Recipes differ on how long to soak them for, but most recommend soaking them for between 30 minutes and 2 hours before straining off the water. Once strained, mix the seeds into, or add them as a topping to cold desserts, smoothies and milkshakes, lemonade or other drinks, Yoghurt and oatmeal. People can also grind basil seeds up and add them to baking recipes, rather than soaking them in water.