Basil vs Oregano - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
In this article, you can find a detailed description of the differences between basil and oregano. They are extremely used in the kitchen. The article will be focused on their nutrition and impact on health. Both are natural sources of micronutrients, certain minerals, and vitamins.
Basil belongs to the family Lamiaceae. There are more than 40 known varieties of basil. The most common and used ones are Sweet Basil, Lemon Basil, and Holy Basil. In general, plants can reach heights of 30-50 cm. Oregano belongs to the Mint family. It is a flowering plant and is native to Western and Southwestern Eurasia. Plants can reach heights 20-80 cm. The most common oregano types are Syrian Oregano, Greek Oregano, and Common Oregano  .
Oregano is a culinary herb, used for the flavor, it is more flavorful when dried than fresh. The taste is aromatic and slightly bitter. It has popularity in Italian and American cuisine. Oregano is used with meat, fish, and vegetables. Basil is usually used fresh. It is minty and peppery. The dried basil may lose most of its flavor. It is used mostly in pesto and tomato sauce marinara. In some medical practices, basil is known for its therapeutic properties  .
Basil and oregano have a wide nutritional profile. Our page contains various charts and infographics that visualize their nutrition. Please scroll down the page to check them out.
Overall, oregano is richer in micronutrients than basil. It contains more carbs, protein, and fiber. Oregano has more fats. On the other hand, basil has fewer sugars. Both contain no cholesterol .
In general, oregano contains more calories, than basil. The level of calories in oregano is 11 times higher in oregano. Each oregano has about 265 calories per 100 g, whereas each basil has 23 calories per 100 g.
Oregano is relatively richer in Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, and Copper. The amounts of Magnesium and Copper are 2 times higher in oregano. On the other hand, basil has a lower level of Sodium .
The vitamin content of oregano is relatively higher. Oregano contains 30 times more Vitamin E, 4 times more Vitamin B1, 5 times more Vitamin B2 than basil. The amount of Vitamin K, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin B5 and Folate are also higher in oregano. On the other hand, basil contains more Vitamin C and Vitamin A. The amount of this Vitamin C is 6 times higher in basil than in oregano. Both contain no Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B9, and Vitamin D  .
Potassium is an important mineral, which may help to normalize water balance and blood pressure in the body. Overall, oregano contains more potassium than basil. Oregano has 1260 mg potassium per 100 g, while basil has 295mg per 100g .
The glycemic index is the ranking of carbohydrates in the food that may promote better blood sugar management. The estimated glycemic index of oregano is 14 times lower; it is about 5, whereas the glycemic index of basil is about 70.
Basil contains strong antioxidants, such as lutein, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants have many health benefits, in particular, they may help to reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including lung cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer, and skin cancer .
Oregano is also high in antioxidants, such as carvacrol and thymol, which may help to fight damage from free radicals in the human body, and help to stop the growth of cancer cells .
Basil contains eugenol, which may block calcium channels, and reduce high blood pressure. According to one study, after a few minutes of using eugenol extract, the blood pressure returned to its high levels. Basil also contains essential oils, which may help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Moreover, this herb also contains magnesium, which may improve blood flow by allowing muscles and blood vessels to relax .
One study found that an extract from basil helped reduce high blood sugar levels. In particular, extract from sweet basil may help to treat the long-term effects of high blood sugar .
According to one in vitro study, the extract from basil leaves helps to manage the inhibition of a-glucosidase and pancreatic a-amylase enzymes, as a result, it may help to treat type 2 diabetes .
According to one study, oregano has properties, such as essential oil, that may reduce the number of E.coli bacteria in the gut, moreover, essential oil protects the gut wall from damage . One study showed that people who had gut symptoms such as diarrhea and pain, after 6 weeks of treatment by oregano extract, experienced a reduction in parasites, and 77% were cured .
Researches suggest that oregano may reduce inflammation. This herb contains essential oil and carvacrol, which according to a mouse study, reduced inflammation in those mouses that had colitis. However, human studies are needed.
Basil also contains essential oils, such as eugenol, linalool, and citronellol that can help to fight inflammation. Moreover, researches show that the essential oil of basil may help treat various diseases that involve inflammation resulting from oxidative stress .
Improving Hair and Skin Health
Basil and oregano are rich in antioxidants and minerals, which have beneficial health properties. Oregano is rich in zinc, which is an essential mineral for human health. This mineral may help to promote the formation of collagen to make hair healthy growth .
Basil antioxidants have a strong impact on reducing free radicals, thus can decrease oxidative stress and keep your skin healthy․ According to the study, including basil extract in skin creams may improve skin hydration and reduce wrinkling .
The calories level of oregano is almost 10 times higher than in basil. In the case of low calories diets, basil is a good choice. Basil also is good if you are in low fats or low carbs diets, such as the Keto diet, or Dukan diet. At the same time let’s not forget that people usually consume spices in little quantities, so calories will not matter so much.
The glycemic index of oregano is lower, so it can be chosen in the case of low glycemic index diets. However, basil can spice up your meals but not contribute significant nutrients to your diet. During diets, use it with other nutritious foods .
Basil leaves contain properties that may help to alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety, increase the ability to think, improve stress-related sleep, and lower the risk of age-related memory loss. The study showed that using 500 mg of basil extract daily may lower the levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. Besides, people who used it daily felt more social .
Basil is high in vitamin K, which may help blood clots. High intakes of this vitamin can interfere with blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin .
Try to avoid holy basil if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. According to studies, holy basil may negatively affect sperm and trigger contractions in pregnancy .
The allergy to basil is the result of our immune system mistakenly identifying basil as a harmful invader. Basil allergy symptoms usually include tingling or itching in the mouth, runny nose, and itchy eyes, rarely diarrhea. Oregano allergy symptoms mostly include rash, rarely stomach distress, or trouble breathing. Some people may be allergic to oregano oil. In this case, using oregano may cause inflammation of the airways and might quickly become dangerous .
Overall, oregano contains more vitamins, minerals, and protein than basil. Oregano contains 30 times more Vitamin E and 12 times more iron than basil. On the other hand, basil is lower in sugars, calories, sodium and has higher levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in price|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|
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