Nothing says summer like a tall glass of cold, infused water. You’ve probably heard of fruit-infused and lemon water, but have you ever tried basil-infused water? It may not sound appealing, but this refreshing drink has many health benefits.
The minty, fresh, and earthy flavor of basil-infused water can be just what you need on a hot summer day. To enhance the taste, you can combine it with fruits, lemon slices, and other additions. Aside from keeping you cool and hydrated, this drink also detoxifies your body to start fresh.
If you’re bored of drinking water alone, follow our basil-infused water recipe to change things up.
What is Basil-Infused Water?
Basil-infused water is a refreshing and delicious twist to your regular H2O. As the name suggests, it’s just water infused with fresh basil. If you don’t like the flavor of basil on its own, you can add fruits and other herbs to amp it up.
This is a great idea for those who have trouble drinking water because they don’t like the taste or forget. But with a drink as fragrant, crisp, and energizing as basil-infused water, it’s hard to forget to stay hydrated. Besides keeping you hydrated, basil water is a natural body cleanse drink to flush all the nasties out!
Benefits of Fresh Basil Leaves
Basil water isn’t just refreshing and delicious; it’s also good for your health in many ways.
Aids Digestive Health
Basil has endless benefits, but most importantly, it’s excellent for your digestive health. It gives a much-needed boost to your digestive system, speeding up the process. You’ll find your daily troubles going away, like frequent headaches or difficulty sleeping.
The secret behind basil’s powers is a compound called eugenol, which has some interesting benefits. Its anti-inflammatory properties soothe your stomach and bring everything down to a healthy pH level. Next time you’re having issues in the digestive department or trouble catching some Z’s, try drinking basil water.
Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
As mentioned, basil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. These properties can even potentially treat certain diseases and health issues! The secret lies in the many oils found in basil, including linalool, citronellol, and eugenol. By inhibiting certain enzymes, these rejuvenating oils reduce irritation and inflammation.
Also, basil can reduce the risk of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel problems. There’s no doubt that these fresh herbs can go a long way in giving your health a boost. If you frequently have fevers, headaches, sore throats, and coughs, basil has all the properties to give you a clean bill of health.
Fights Free Radicals
Free radicals are unstable molecules taking electrons from other molecules for some stability. This creates a chain reaction, causing oxidative stress in your body and harming your cells. You need to increase your antioxidant intake to fight the damage from these free radicals.
Luckily, basil has lots of natural antioxidants to shield your body. More specifically, it contains two water-soluble antioxidants called orientin and viceninare. They’re a foolproof way to boost your immune system, protect your cells and DNA structure, and reduce skin aging.
Reduces Depression Symptoms
Although the effects are minor, basil can even reduce some symptoms of depression. These herbs stimulate neurotransmitters in your brain, producing happy and energetic feelings. Simply put, it’s a powerful adaptogen acting as an anti-stress agent.
The anti-inflammatory properties of basil contribute even more by easing the physical toll stress can take on your body. Of course, it’s not a replacement for medication or therapy, but it can be a holistic pick-me-up on difficult days. Next time you feel down, you can infuse your drink with basil for a quick boost.
If you have diabetes, a cold glass of basil water may be more helpful than you think. It helps maintain blood sugar levels by slowing the sugar release into your bloodstream. It has a low glycemic load, barely impacting your blood sugar.
Basil also has positive effects on triglycerides and cholesterol levels. As someone with diabetes, you’re at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, so it’s crucial to maintain your lipid levels. By drinking basil-infused water, you can mitigate these risks.
Supports Liver Function
The benefits of basil don’t end there; it also supports your liver health with its detoxifying properties. It prevents fat from building up in your liver and reduces oxidative stress. Basil also reduces inflammation drastically, which means it can prevent liver damage in the long run.
Promotes a Healthy Gut
Above all, basil is suitable for your gut! This tasty herb restores your body’s natural pH levels, making your stomach more habitable for good bacteria. These healthy gut buddies can boost your immunity and keep your digestion in top shape.
Basil has many essentials that have been used to fix many tummy troubles for ages. Whether it’s indigestion or bloating, a little dose of basil water can kickstart your appetite and fix those issues. It can even help with that pesky heartburn, putting the herb’s soothing properties to the test.
Basil-Infused Water Recipe
Here’s a quick and straightforward flavored water recipe for making infused water with fresh basil and other additions.
What You’ll Need
- Fresh basil leaves – If you prefer a licorice-like flavor, opt for Thai basil. Lemon basil has a citrusy taste, while cinnamon basil is more prevalent in infused water. You only need two or three stalks of basil.
- Freshwater – Mineral or filtered water, whatever floats your boat. You’ll need enough water to fill a pitcher. You can also use sparkling water to amp up the flavors even more.
- A clean storage container – A tall glass pitcher is the most popular option. You can also use mason jars or a glass jar to make infused water in smaller quantities.
- Add-ons – For more flavor, you can use lemon, cucumbers, other herbs, strawberries, blueberries, or other berries. You can add them or use different variations for unique, natural flavors. A basil-cucumber combo will create a crisp, detox water, while a strawberry-basil drink can be a healthy alternative to flavored sugary drinks. The possibilities are endless!
What To Do
- Wash the basil leaves to get rid of any dirt or grime.
- Massage the basil gently to release the flavors.
- Place basil in the pitcher or glass jar.
- Add chopped strawberries or other fruits for a sweeter taste.
- Fill the pitcher or mason jar with fresh, clean water.
- Leave the strawberry-basil water in the fridge for four hours or overnight.
- Stir before drinking to infuse the strawberry flavor in the water properly.
- Enjoy your basil and fruit-infused water as a refreshing drink.
Tips for Making Basil-Infused Water
Here are some tips to make your strawberry basil water taste even more delicious and fresh.
- If you’re making fruit-infused water, make sure the fruit is fresh. If the fruit is browning or about to go wrong, it can give the infused water a funny flavor.
- Make sure the fruit is clean before adding it to the infused water. You can wash the fruit in a baking soda and cold water bath to remove chemical residue and dirt.
- If you add strawberries or blueberries to the basil water, smash the fruits before adding them to the pitcher to release the flavor. Otherwise, the infused water won’t taste like fruit at all.
- Remove the fruit from the container after four hours if you leave your infused water in the fridge overnight. Letting the fruit infuse the water for too long can leave a bitter flavor.
- Use Thai basil instead of sweet basil to achieve the sparkling feel of licorice.
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about basil and fruit-infused water.
Is Fresh Basil Better Than Dried Basil?
Whether you opt for fresh or dried basil, the herb is delicious. However, dried herbs impart a more concentrated flavor than fresh leaves, but they taste somewhat different. Once the basil dries out, it loses its anise flavoring while the mint flavor is enhanced.
Since you’ll leave the basil leaves to infuse in the water overnight, using dried leaves can leave an overwhelming mint taste. If you only have dried basil on hand, only use one-third of the amount you’d use if they were fresh leaves. For example, one teaspoon of dried herbs equals one tablespoon of fresh herbs.
Will I Like Basil-Infused Water If I Don’t Like Water?
Some people don’t like the taste of plain water, and that’s understandable! Flavoring the water with basil and fruits is a great way to change things and stay hydrated. Fruit and basil-flavored water give a sweet and minty freshness that you wouldn’t find in plain water.
Aside from keeping you hydrated, basil water can also satisfy the part of your brain craving sugary drinks. If you want to phase out fizzy drinks from your life, basil-infused sparkling water can be a healthy alternative. This way, you can satisfy your cravings without adding more calories.
Still, there’s no telling if herb-infused water will be your cup of tea. The only way to know is to try this rejuvenating drink this summer!
Do I Need An Infuser Bottle?
No, you don’t need an infuser bottle to make flavored water. You can use a glass container or any other pitcher at home and leave it in the fridge overnight. But an infuser bottle is a significant investment if you’re willing to splurge.
It keeps the fruit and basil separate from the water while infusing the flavors with the help of plastic mesh. This way, you can sip on your flavored water all day without the fruits and leaves getting in the way. Infuser bottles are slimmer than pitchers, so they can easily fit into your fridge door.
What Are Some Other Infused Water Combinations?
Besides berry basil water, there are many infused water combinations to consider. Each one is equally refreshing with varying benefits for your health! Here are a few variations to try out this summer.
- Minty Orange Water
- Strawberry and Mint
- Cucumber and Basil
- Blueberry and Basil
- Orange and Basil
- Fennel and Mint
Basil water is the holy grail of all infused water recipes since it’s versatile and good for your health. You can combine it with any fruit or add more herbs to add refreshing flavor. The best part about this drink is that you probably already have all the ingredients at home.
So, grab your pitcher and basil leaves and make the healthiest and yummiest drink of the summer!
Rahul is a nutritionist and personal trainer with 3+ years of experience in the field of health coaching. He specializes in nutrition science, with a keen eye for how food choices, lifestyle habits, and physical activity impact our bodies.