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Whooping Cough

Six common plants that might do a body good

(Eric Hanson / For Los Angeles Times)


Basil is the anti-inflammatory rock star of herbs. Not only is it one of the oldest cultivated herbs, dating back 5,000 years in India, but it's also the most versatile, fragrant and tasty of our garden herbs. The active ingredients, called volatile oils, are what give basil its strong flavor and aroma, and they're rich in the antioxidants and phytochemicals that modern science has found can heal and prevent disease.

A component of basil called eugenol inhibits the activity of an enzyme in the body that over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, also block. Two forms of basil used in...