Sabja / Basil seeds – health benefits and uses

Sabja / Basil seeds – health benefits and uses

Ever wondered what these jelly like seeds you find in Asian dessert Falooda? These seeds are called Sabja. They are seeds of Sweet Basil herb. Sweet Basil is different from Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) or Tulsi, and is often referred as Thai basil or hairy basil. Sabja are also known as Tukmaria seeds, tukmalanga seeds, Falooda seeds or sabja ginjalu.

Chia in Hindi does not mean sabja, as most people often confuse. Sabja seeds have properties very similar to Chia seeds. They can actually substitute chia seeds in every aspects – health benefits and culinary uses.

Sweet Basil seeds when soaked in water, quickly forms jelly like structure over seed. These soaked seeds are added to various desserts and drinks. These seeds are also added to jelly, agar agar, lemonades, juices, iced tea, cold milk and other bakery items. Falooda is favorite drink in Asia and Middle East which contains soaked sweet basil seeds.

Nutritional Value of Sabja / Basil Seeds

Just like other seeds, Basil seeds are concentrated nutrition and ingredients required for seeds to germinate.  They are packed with carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and other minerals. It is high in Vitamin K and two teaspoons of Tukmaria seeds are sufficient for providing daily requirement of vitamin K. Similarly 50 grams of Basil seeds suffices daily requirement of calcium, magnesium and iron. Tukmaria seeds are also high on Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and Zinc.

Sweet Basil leaves contain yellowish green essential oil which crystallizes over time and is commonly known as Basil Camphor. Unlike leaves of basil which are rich in essential oil, Seeds contain only 4% of fats by weight. Basil seeds contain large amounts of mucilage or soluble fibers. It also contains about 25% by weight as protein. Compared to its closest superfood cousin – Chia seeds, Tukmaria seeds offer less calories per gram. Essential oil from basil seeds contains largely Omega-3 fatty acids including alpha-Linolenic acid. It also contains bio active chemicals like monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and phenylpropanoids. Polysacchrides or Gums in the tukmaria seeds are very much comparable to food hydrocolloids and finds its use as additives in food processing industry.

Health benefits of Sabja / Basil Seeds

Sweet Basil or Kamkasturi

Sweet Basil or Kamkasturi

The packed nutrition in Basil seeds offers various health benefits. Sabja seeds help in weight loss, supports digestion, delays absorption of carbohydrates in stomach, cures skin infections, act as cooling agent, act as antioxidant and antimicrobial agent, aids digestion, treat cold and other respiratory disorders. Like chia seeds, its benefits for diabetes are being researched. Traditionally Sabja seeds are being used as cooling agents and provide relief from heat. In Traditional Iranian medicines, seeds of basil are used to treat bowel disorders. Tukmaria seeds are used as binder in Ayurvedic medicines. Some of the health benefits of Sabja seeds are listed below:

1.     Anti-inflammatory properties of Tukmaria Seeds

Essential from Basil seeds have shown anti-inflammatory property. Basil Seed oil is useful in reducing inflammation in arthritis and relive joint pains. Basil seed oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids mainly alpha- linolenic acid which is biologically very active and acts in relieving stress and modulate immune functions in body.

See also  Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

2.     Sabja seeds as health tonic

Tukmaria seeds contain ample amount of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese and aids in health metabolism. These minerals promote health of cardio-vascular system, blood circulatory system and digestive system. Basil seeds are also good way to enjoy health benefits of Vitamin K and useful in bone growth, cardiac health.

3.     Tukmaria Seed benefits digestion

Tukmaria seeds contain about 50% of its weight as carbohydrate mainly in form of dietary fibers. It helps in proper bowel movements, promotes health of digestive tract, aids in removal of waste, heavy metals and toxins from body. Traditional Iranian medicine used Basil seeds to treat Irritable Bowel. Basil seeds also offer carminative effects and are helpful in treating stomach spasms, constipation, flatulence and indigestion. Basil seeds have mild laxative effect. They can be consumed for relief in case of regular constipation and piles, which generally results in chronic constipation.

4.     Basil seeds on Genito-Urinary system disorders

The seeds of Basil can be effective in treatment of bladder infection and gonorrhea. Teaspoon of basil seeds mixed with glass of water and some honey or jaggery is home remedy for treatment of such diseases.

5.     Sabja benefits in reducing cholesterol

Basil seeds contain high amount of digestive fibers which help in prevention of absorption of cholesterol in intestine.

6.     Basil Seeds for hyperacidity

Often Basil seeds are used as coolant in case of Heartburns and acidity. Polysacchrides aborbs water and keeps stomach hydrated and relieves from symptoms of indigestion, heart burn and gastro-esophageal reflex disorder (GERD).

7.     Basil seeds improve memory

Basil seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids which is required for brain growth. It is crucial nutrient for memory and brain performance.

8.     Sabja for Weight Loss

Basil Seed Drink is promoted as a supplement for weight loss. Sabja, with its dietary fibers, keep stomach hydrated and provide feeling of filled stomach and reduce cravings. While fibers also delays carbohydrate metabolism. Just like Chia seed gel, sabja gel can be used to replace butter. Sabja are also low on calories and supply adequate amino acids.

9.     Sabja benefits – Treatment of Diabetes

Basil Seeds slows down carbohydrate metabolism and absorption of carbohydrate in the intestine. Thus it can regulate blood sugar. Though not much evidence is available for this.

Read more: Natural Foods for diabetes

10.Basil seeds good for cold and respiratory disorders

Possibly this benefit can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial property. It helps in relieving cold. Leaves of Basil often find use as expectorant and cough syrups. Ayurvedic medicines prescribe basil seeds mixed in warm water with honey and ginger to treat respiratory disorders.

11.Basil Seed oil for Stress relief

Basil seed oil is found to have hypotensive properties. Thus consumption of basil seeds can help relieve mental fatigue, nervous tension, head ache, depression, migraine. Granules of basil seeds are used often used in aromatherapy and spa treatment as stress busters.

Read more about: Health benefits of meditation

12.Basil seeds for treatment of skin infections

Basil seeds crushed in coconut oil is often used in treating wounds ,cuts and other skin infections. This can be attributed to anti-inflammatory and antibacterial property of Basil seeds.

See also  10 benefits of nigella seeds for your health

Read: 50 natural ways to treat dandruff

13.Basil seeds for Women problem

The mucilaginous jelly formed by adding basil seeds to cold water is given to women along with jaggery and hone to relieve pains after childbirth.

14.Act as insect repellant

Basil essential oil is found to be larvicide and insect repellant. It is used as insecticidal fumigant in storage.

15.Other sabja ginjalu benefits

Leaves of Sweet Basil are Diaphroetic, carminative and stimulant in nature, while seeds are mucilaginous, demulcent, aphrodisiac and diuretic. Roots of Sweet basil are used to reduce fever and as antidote to snake poison. Seeds of Basil are often consumed as antidote to poison.

In summary, Basil seeds have many health benefits and very much similar to health benefits of chia seeds.

Other common names of Sweet Basil Seeds

  • Sanskrit – Bisva Tulsi, Varavara, Manjarika, seeds – Rehan
  • Basilic Cultive (French), Basilien Kraut (German), selasih (Malay/Indonesian) or hột é (Vietnamese)
  • Indian – Babui, Sabzah, sabja (Hindi), Hazbo (kashmiri), Baburi (Punjabi), Dhala Tulsi (Oriya), Tirunitru (Malyalam) Sabajhi (Sindhi) Shahasfaram (Arabic) Babui Tulsi (Bengali) Kukkatulasi, Bhutulasi, vebudipatri (Telegu) tirunirupachai, Karandai, Tirunutpatchi (Tamil), Ramtulsi, Kamkasturi (kannad), Kala pingain
  • Other names – Takmaria, Tukhmaria, tukmalanga

Side effects of Sabja / Basil seeds

Swollen seeds of basil can cause choking risk to children. Hence consumption should be in presence of adult and thick clumps should be avoided.

Sabja Recipes and Sabja uses



Falooda : Ice cream Falooda is most common, traditional India cold drink with Sabja seeds. Take two glasses of cold milk. Add two pinch of cardamom powder and a tablespoon of sugar. Soak Basil seeds in warm water for about 30 minutes. Stain water and remove the soaked seeds. In a tall glass, place a scoop of vanilla ice cream and pour one tablespoon of rose syrup on ice cream. Place sabja seeds over the ice cream and again pour some rose syrup. Gently add chilled milk from the edges of glass. Add some cut almonds and pistachios for garnishing. Your falooda is ready.

Sabja water / Basil Seed Drink with Honey : Soak basil seeds for about 30 minutes in warm water. Add these seeds to coconut milk or pineapple juice or juice of your choice and add some honey for taste. Your health Basil seed drink is ready and helps pacify body heat. Similar drinks are sold in Thailand in cans, containing basil seeds containing water, sugar and honey.

Saffron milk with sabja beej : Combine two glasses of milk. Add some soaked saffron and two tablespoon of  honey to it. Blend it for few seconds. Pour in glass, garnish with some soaked sabja seeds and almond powder to the drink.

Herbal Iced Tea with Sabja seeds: Take 4 cups of water. Add two tablespoon of black tea, 6-8 freshly cut basil leaves and heat till the tea boils. Stain tea and refrigerated. To this add 1 large lemon juice.  While serving add soaked sabja seeds to this and garnish with slice of lemon. Tea offers various flavonoids, while lemon would add more antioxidant in form of Vitamin C.

Read more about health benefits of Black tea




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There are 5 comments for this article
  1. foodiefizz at 2:52 am

    Fountain of knowledge, luv them in Falooda

  2. Abhijit at 1:26 pm

    How to measure tukmaria seeds (2 teaspoons or 50 gms) ? After soaking them in water or before (dry) ?

  3. ali n syed at 10:11 am

    2 teaspoons cannot be 50 gms. One teaspoon is close to 5 gm. Two teaspoons will be about 10 gms.