Dr. Raiz Ahmed Lone
Babri boul (basil seeds) obtained from an annual plant Ocimum basilicum of the family Lamiaceae (mint family), is being used for making Kan sherbet in our valley since long. In Kashmiri language” KAN” means small gemstones, seems to be attributed to gelatinous nature of these seeds as appears to be small gemstones when soaked in water. Kansherbet is prepared by soaking basil seeds for about an hour in water adding milk, sugar and coconut pieces to it on different occasions especially during the month of Holy Ramadan, as it is served as Iftaar drink for breaking the fast. In this month it becomes a part of every household and every mosque where ever Iftaar arrangements are made.
Babriboul contains sufficient amount of minerals like iron, calcium, manganese which aids metabolism. These seeds are very popular in Asian desserts and drinks especially in India, Thailand and Pakistan. These seeds have cooling properties and therefore very good for summer drinks. It is being used as one of the ingredients for making homemade Surmi (Kajal) by Kashmiri women since long, as it gives it a soothing effect.
Basil seeds have antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antiseptic, antifungal, carminative, galactagogue and stomachic properties.
The carminative properties are useful in providing relief in a wide range of digestive issues like flatulence, stomach cramps, indigestion, constipation etc.
The antispasmodic property benefits in controlling and providing relief in whooping cough and also gives soothing effects. Also provides relief in respiratory problems like cold, cough, flu etc.
These seeds have a calming effect on the brain. They relieve stress, tension, mental fatigue, depression and migraine. They also aid in enhancing the mood.
The antibacterial properties benefit in the treatment of cuts, wounds, and infections of the skin. The seeds can be crushed and applied.
The seeds help in reducing weight. Once the seeds are soaked in water they swell immensely and when this water along with the seeds is consumed before meals it fills one up thus preventing chances of overeating.
The anti-inflammatory properties benefit by reducing inflammation, pain and swelling in arthritis, control formation of plaque in the arteries thereby reducing the risk of stroke and heart attacks. They also lower cholesterol.
A glass of soaked basil seeds when consumed prevents heartburn and also relieves a bloated stomach which results from incorrect eating habits.
When this is taken at bedtime the basil seeds help to cleanse the body of toxins which are eliminated through the excellent bowel movements experienced in the morning.
They also relieve food poisoning and its associated symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
Basil seeds are cooling and reduce body heat. The seeds can be added to lemon sherbet, rose sherbet or drunk on their own after soaking in water.
The seeds have a diuretic action and flush the kidneys.
Basil seeds are rich in iron and help to prevent and treat anaemia. Chewing basil leaves also have the same effect.
Chewing these seeds cure mouth ulcers and other infections of the mouth. They also help fight plaque and cavities.
The antioxidants in basil seeds prevent free radical damage; reduce risk of cancer and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Basil increases body immunity. The flavonoids vicenin, orientin and beta carotene fortify the body’s defence system.
Care should be taken while serving it to children as swollen seeds basil may cause choking. Consumption should be in presence of adult and thick clump should be avoided to enjoy your healthy Ramadan beverage, Kan Sharbat.
The author is working as Scientist (Floriculture), KVK, ,Srinagar, SKUAST- Kashmir