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Sweet Basil, Sabja or Tukmaria Seeds and Their Health Benefits

Updated on June 14, 2018
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years breeding layer and broiler parents.

Latin Name : Ocimum basilicum.

The basil plant is native to India and other tropical countries of Asia. The basil plant is also called sweet basil and is different from the Holy basil plant which is the plant Ocimum tenuiflorum also called Tulsi in India.

Seeds of the sweet basil plant are called sabja, tukmaria, tukhmaria, falooda, selasih etc in India. Sabja or tukmaria seeds are used in Ayurvedic and Siddha medicine in India as well as in Chinese medicine.

sweet basil, sabja or tukhmaria seeds
sweet basil, sabja or tukhmaria seeds | Source

Sweet Basil | Sabja | Tukhmaria AND Chia Seeds - The Difference

Though both Sabja and Chia seeds look almost similar when they are in their gelatinous form (once they are soaked in water, both types of seeds swell and form a gelatinous mass), they are essentially different in many ways; some of these are:
Sabja, Basil, Tukmaria Seeds
Chia Seeds
Latin name
Ocimum basilicum
Salvia hispanica
Seed color
Totally black and tear drop shaped
Mottled and colored grey, brown, black and white
Seeds swell much faster than Chia seeds and to a larger size
Much slower to swell than sabja seeds and swollen size smaller too
Lab Analysis
Young Basil Plant
Young Basil Plant | Source

The Sweet Basil Plant

The sweet basil plant has over 150 cultivated varieties. One variety, the Holy basil or Ocimum sanctum (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a much revered plant that is considered sacred and much used in religious ceremonies in India.

Basil has been cultivated in Asia including India for over 5000 years.

Sweet basil is an annual herbaceous plant, about 2 to 4 feet in height, has light green colored silky feel leaves that grow opposite each other. The flowers are white in color and borne on a terminal spike.

Sweet basil grows best in a hot and dry climate and is very cold sensitive. Though it prefers full sunlight it can be grown indoors in pots. The leaves may wilt in full sunlight but they soon recover on watering. Excess watering may lead to yellowing of the leaves lower down on the stem. This yellowing can also occur due to lack or excess of fertilizer.

The stems bearing the flower spikes can be pinched off if one needs the leaves or the foliage to keep growing as once the flowers mature foliage production stops on that stem and the stem turns woody.

The flowers produce small, tear drop shaped jet black seeds. The seeds when soaked in water absorb water and swell to many times their original size with a gelatinous covering. They have a bland taste but are crunchy when chewed and provide a jelly like interesting nutty feel and bite.

Seeds of the sweet basil plant are called sabja or tukmaria.

Basil seeds absorb an incredible amount of water.
Basil seeds absorb an incredible amount of water. | Source
Falooda Is An Indian Basil Seed drink
Falooda Is An Indian Basil Seed drink | Source

Nutrients In Sweet Basil

  • Basil contains many polyphenolic flavonoids especially Orientin and Vicenin. These provide the antioxidant benefits.
  • Brazil leaves are rich in many essential oils like eugenol, citronellol, linalool, limonene, citral and terpineol. These provide antibacterial and anti inflammatory benefits.
  • Low in calories and free of cholesterol.
  • High levels of beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, Vitamin A and Vitamin K.
  • Contains good amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, calcium and magnesium, and vitamins C and folates.
  • Excellent source of iron at 40% RDA per 100 grams.

Nutrients In Basil Herb

(click column header to sort results)
Basil herb (Ocimum basilicum), Fresh leaves  
Nutritive value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
23 Kcal
2.65 g
3.15 g
Total Fat
0.64 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
1.60 g
68 mcg
0.902 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.209 mg
0.155 mg
0.076 mg
0.034 mg
Vitamin A
5275 IU
Vitamin C
18 mg
Vitamin E
0.80 mg
Vitamin K
414.8 mcg
4 mg
295 mg
177 mg
385 mg
3.17 mg
64 mg
1.15 mg
0.81 mg
3142 mcg
46 mcg
5650 mcg

A Very Cooling Summer Drink With Sweet Basil/Sabja Seeds

Ice Cream Falooda the Indian cooling drink with Tukmaria seeds .
Ice Cream Falooda the Indian cooling drink with Tukmaria seeds . | Source

Health Benefits Of Sabja, Sweet Basil or Tukmaria Seeds

Basil seeds cool the body, protect from heat stress & heat stroke and have antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antiseptic, antifungal, carminative, galactagogue, stomachic properties.

  • Basil seeds are cooling and reduce body heat. The seeds can be added to lemon sherbet, rose sherbet or falooda or drunk on their own after soaking in water.
  • 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.
  • A mixture of basil leaves with honey and ginger is useful in treating bronchitis and asthma. The leaves can be added to water and boiled after grated ginger is added to it. After boiling for a couple of minutes, take it off the heat, cool it for a while , add honey and drink for relief.
  • Sabja 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 sabja 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 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. and also detoxifies and cleanses the blood.
  • The seeds have a diuretic action and flush the kidneys.
  • Sabja seeds can delay menses. A tsp of sabja seeds soaked in 1/4 cup of yogurt soaked at night are to be taken first thing in the morning on empty stomach next morning. This will stop the bleeding.
  • Basil seeds are rich in iron and help to prevent and treat anemia. Chewing basil leaves also have the same effect.
  • Chewing sabja or tukmaria seeds cure mouth ulcers and other infections of the mouth. They also help fight plaque and cavities.
  • The antioxidants in basil seeds and leaves 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.
  • Basil oil has anti bacterial properties. Mixing a few drops of oil in salad dressing kills the bacteria and makes food safer to eat.
  • The flavonoids especially vicenin and orientin provide cellular protection, protect the chromosomes from radiation and free radical damage.

Basil has been used in Chines medicine for alleviating kidney problems, gum ulcers and as a hemostyptic (an agent that causes contraction of tissues and blood vessels and stops bleeding) in childbirth. It has also been used to treat earache, rheumatoid arthritis, skin conditions, anorexia, malaria and menstrual irregularities.

Basil has been used to treat over a 100 different conditions from fevers to acne to fungal infections in folk medicine.


Pregnant women or those trying to conceive should not use basil since it lowers the levels of estrogen.


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.



Holy Superfood Seed Gelatinizes (Chia's cousin Tukmaria)

Falooda - Indian Dessert Beverage Recipe

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      4 weeks ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      RT sabja/basil seeds have been long used in India especially in beverages consumed in summer as they provide coolness. Thank you for being here and sharing your thoughts.

    • RTalloni profile image


      4 weeks ago from the short journey

      Thanks so much for this look at basil seeds. I am looking at my plants with new eyes now and planning to harvest seeds that I've always just left for reseeding purposes before now.

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      Are all the basil seeds in water fluffs uniformly ?

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Kelly for the read and I hope this hub provided you with useful information.

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 

      2 years ago from United States

      Rajan Jolly,

      I recently accepted a consulting job with a global agriculture firm and their number one item three times over is Basil.

      As a chef, my skills are very limited, and my lack of knowledge of basil was tremendous.

      Fantastic hub my friend, another great job. Thank you!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Ruby yes they will benefit in colitis Take 1 tsp seeds & soak in water overnight. In the morning drain off the water & mix with some yogurt & consume.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Thanks for the great info. Are these seeds good for colitis

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      ellie, excess of anything can be harmful even good food. Moderation is the key everywhere.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Is it possible to eat too many holy basil seeds? I has a big portion before bed, then a big portion for breakfast. They were delicious mixed in a smoothie. However, I ended up in the emergency room with severe stomach pain by lunch time. It could have been a stomach virus, or stomach ulcer. You seem so knowledgeable, just thought I would ask if you can eat too many? Thank you for all the great writing.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Good information thanks a lot

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      A person/patient with single kidney can have Sabja seeds? Are there any side effects?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      so chia seeds are different from sabja seeds and can't be used in place of each other?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Very useful information!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Thankyou for information very useful.

    • Anita Saran profile image

      Anita Saran 

      3 years ago from Bangalore, India

      I didn't know that sweet basil seeds can be consumed in this way. I grow sweet basil at home and love a couple of leaves in tea. Will try the seeds. I read somewhere that bees love the flowers so it' s a good idea to allow the flowers to grow and then you also have the seeds.

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Dr Abby Campbell 

      4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Excellent hub, Rajan. I look forward to reading more of your healthy hubs. :-)

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for stopping by, Tini. Glad you found the info useful.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Ohh my so so much benefits these are and we didn't know about it.I am suffering with severe anemia,thanx a lot for sharing this important knowledge with us.

    • profile image

      kare sreedhar gupta 

      4 years ago

      wonderful gift of nature it is health tonic for all ages thanks for your nutritional values given by u

    • profile image

      Hariette Louis 

      5 years ago

      Sorry it is pco symtoms

    • profile image

      Hariette Louis 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the information on this little herb. As it helps to control heaving bleeding during menses girls who have poco symtoms better avoid as it will delay their periods further

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Antu, you can read my hub on the benefits of chia seeds. All your questions are answered there. You can go to my profile and then select the article from there from among the list.

      Thanks for reading and I hope you like the info on chia seeds.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Rajanji, I bought chia seeds, thought they r takmaria...please can u tell me how to differentiate between takmaria and chia seeds?..and r both having the same properties or do both of them differ?...your page is so very informattive, big thanks to you!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Paul. We do make basil tea here. It is good for respiratory troubles too.

      I appreciate your visit, votes and sharing. Thanks.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


      This is another awesome, well-researched hub on something that I occasionally eat. It is called stir-fried pork with basil leaves served over steamed rice. Although the basil tastes a little spicy, it is really a delicious dish here in Thailand. Thanks for educating me on the many health benefits derived from basil. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for so many kind words and I must say I'm very impressed with your recipe hubs all of which I'm bookmarking to try as and when time permits.

      One request you is to write a hub on the Indian names of the imported herbs and ingredients and where they can be found in India. Such a list will really help people like me who find it difficult to locate these ingredients here in Jalandhar. At least, then I can get them from Delhi or other cities where it is available.

      Thanks for sparing time to read, comment and share.

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 

      5 years ago from New Delhi India

      again a very informative and interesting hub. One thing I have noticed about your hubs. It is easy to give information about anything but you make your hubs very interesting which is not easy thing to do. voting up, awesome and sharing.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Glad you like the info moonlake. I appreciate your visit and sharing.

    • moonlake profile image


      5 years ago from America

      I use basil in foods, interesting to hear about the seeds and the drinks that can be made from them. Voted up, five stars and shared.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Peggy-Sprinkling the dry seeds is the best way to have new plants for the next growing season. I'm glad you learned something new from this hub. Thanks for all the votes and shares.

      @Nithya-Yes so true! Thanks for reading.

      @Devika-They don't thrive in the winter, but you can use the seeds to grow new plants for the next season.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A well researched hub on Sweet Basil, Sabja Or Tukmaria Seeds And Their Health Benefits, sweet basil tea sounds a good drink. I had a few sweet basil plants last summer, but didn't last in the winter. Informative and useful and I learned more about the seeds

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      5 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub on the benefits of basil. Basil gives an extra flavor to any dish. Thank you for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      We grow basil every year in our garden and pinch off those stalks bearing the seeds to prolong the leaf bearing stage. At some point towards the end of the year, we collect the seeds to sprinkle into the ground and we get new basil plants coming up from those that germinated. I never knew that we could be eating the seeds! I found this fascinating as I do most of your hubs. Will have to collect the seeds and try them in this manner. Good to know all of the health benefits associated with our consumption of the basil leaves. Gave this 5 stars, many up votes & will pin and share.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Hi GTF! Nice to learn you have basil growing on you patio and that you use it regularly. The seeds are very healthy as well and to highlight this was the purpose of this hub.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Hi rajan - Had to see what the health benefits of basil were because we always have basil plants on our patio during the summer. I love to add the leaves to salads and other dishes.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Joe-thanks, my friend. Nice to know this information is appreciated. Thank you.

      @Jared-glad you like the info and thanks for all the kind words and appreciate the sharing.

      @Kathryn-thanks and I'm sure you'll be using the seeds more often in view of their health benefits. Thanks for the visit.

      @Carol-basil is a herb that we use quite often and the seeds too. Thanks for the visit and comments.

      @Bill-good you have the herb growing in your garden; now you just need to collect some seeds and use them for a great and healthy drink. Thanks.

      @Sueswan-Glad you like the info. Thanks for the visit, comments and sharing.

      @mnkk-Thanks my friend. I do hope you use more of these healthy seeds as well.

    • mnkk profile image

      Kathleen March 

      5 years ago from Brunswick, Maine

      Great work. I am a huge consumer of basil and also plant it. I found the canned drink you mention in an Asian store in Portland, ME. Will now go to our new Indian spices store in town to see if there are bags of basil seeds. Although not a stranger to this versatile, healthy plant, I learned a lot from your hub.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi Ranjan,

      Thank you for another informative and nutritional. I need to purchase some sweet basil tea to control my appetite especially in the evening.

      Voted up and sharing

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, we grow basil in our garden; the other I have never heard of.

      Once again you have done an excellent job of detailing important information in an easy-to-understand hub. Well done my friend.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Never heard of these seeds but most interesting. Basil..that is a different story. Think I will go out and buy a plant so we can have it daily. Thanks as always for a lively presentation about healthy solutions.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I use the herb basil in food, but I never knew about the seeds being gelatinized and consumed in a drink. I am fascinated by the different foods and beverages that exist that I have never seen before.

      Thanks for educating us on this herb, and the health benefits from this. Have a good weekend, Rajan.

    • Jared Miles profile image

      Jared Miles 

      5 years ago from Australia

      Well done on a very extensive and highly informative Hub, Rajan. You've clearly gone to a great deal of effort to research so much information, and I applaud you on your diligence.

      I particularly enjoyed reading your list of health benefits of Sabja.

      Voted up and shared. :)

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Rajan, these hubs of yours are very informative and interesting. I have this spice in my kitchen cupboard, but until now, that's all I knew about basil. I now know that it's actually a plant food whose seeds, oils, and flavonoids are used in multiple ways. Thanks for sharing, my friend! Aloha!



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