Surprising ways to use up extra basil

A signature herb found in most gardens, basil stands at the heart of classic recipes like pesto, pasta sauces, and pizza. Once considered a token of love in Italy, the herb's benefits stem far beyond its incredible flavor (via Gardening Know How). Packed with antioxidants, basil also works as a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine. Acting as a muscle relaxant and stomach soother, basil also contains analgesic properties that help alleviate pain. You can even relieve a headache by pouring hot water over basil leaves and inhaling the steam.

Other non-food related uses for basil include using the herb to treat skin conditions like acne. The plant's natural antiseptic properties help reduce inflammation and redness when applied topically on the skin or when ingested (via Organic Authority). You can even harness the immune-boosting benefits of basil by making a tea using the leaves. That's because basil contains a bioflavonoid called apigenin that contributes to a healthy immune system. By including this herb in your routine, you can reap the benefits for your mind and body.

More ways to use up extra basil

Keep any extra basil leaves on hand for the next time you have a cocktail party to add a tasty twist to many classic drinks. You can add leftover leaves to gin and tonics, mojitos, and vodka sodas (via Gardening Know How). You can simply muddle the leaves to add an earthy taste to your 5 p.m. staple or even add them to a non-alcoholic drink for a mocktail. Either way, basil can bring an enhanced flavor to most beverages. You can also make basil ice cubes by placing any bruised leaves into your ice tray with water and freezing overnight (via Organic Authority). Pull out a cube to add to your water for a refreshing twist with all of basil's healthy benefits.

And if you need a self-care boost, you can even add the leaves to a warm bath. Adding the natural, fresh scent of the leaves with their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to your soak will leave your skin feeling refreshed and pampered. 

With basil's multi-faceted properties, you'll never need to throw out another leaf.