By Tom Oei – Papa’s Pastry Shop, Oxford, PA

Basil is an aromatic, low growing herb leaves of which have a bright green to purple ovate color, and is grown in warm, tropical climate. Basil is commonly used in Asian dishes, but is also present in Italian food.

The one aspect, which I will be focusing, is the seed itself precisely the one called Thai basil seed for its health benefit rather than the whole plant. The Thai basil seed is black in color and slightly smaller than a grain of rice. It is available in small packs of 100 grams in Asian grocery stores.  Seeds provide concentrated nutrition and fiber. All the ingredients needed for plant germination are present in the seed, including carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fat. Many seeds provide nutrition, flavor and texture in a balanced diet.

Basil seed from Thai basil has been introduced in many countries by Indian immigrants and has since become part of the south Asian traditional treatment for indigestion and heartburn. It can be taken anytime but the best is one glass of basil seed soaked in water at night before going to bed. The Thai basil seed has the same effect of antibiotics eliminating bacteria.  It helps to detoxify any toxin that might be circulating through the body via blood thereby have the property to purify blood. During the night while sleeping, it works as a cleanser to remove the entire toxin from the blood stream and the next morning everything is flushed. All the bloated feeling disappears and you are back on track.

Although research is still in preliminary stages as of 2010, gelatinous basil seeds may help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, according to the Sutter Gould Medical Foundation. Controlling blood sugar in dieters has the potential to help reduce appetite and food cravings and to keep weight loss efforts on track. Basil seed drinks have a reputation for helping with weight loss.  The gelatinous texture of the swollen basil seeds makes a filling drink, which could help to curb your appetite if you consume it before meals. The most effective means of weight loss remains the basic strategy of burning off more calories than you consume. Basil seeds may help you to feel full on fewer calories.


The simple Melonade drink available at the Farmers’ Market from the Papa’s Pastry stand has already been well received by all those who tried it, and is destined to be a mainstay for Papa’s product offerings. It contains a pure mixture of watermelon, lime juice and basil seeds.  This is a traditional drink from Indonesia and provides refreshment as well as nourishment.  It is highly valued in south east Asia on hot, humid days.

The typical way to prepare this drink is to soak the seed in water first until gelatinous coating forms around the seeds.  This coating is a natural shield for the seeds against dehydration.

Then diced watermelon and freshly squeezed lime juice is added.  The juice from both the watermelon and limes are used such that there is no added sugar or artificial sweeteners required.  With that in mind, enjoy the beverage and indulge in better health and fine foods!