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Health and Nutritional Benefits of Sabja Seeds

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has an interest in health, healthy foods, nutrition and home remedies.

Sabja Seeds

Sabja Seeds

Sabja Seeds are neither Tulsi seeds nor Chia Seeds

What are Sabja Seeds?

Sabja seeds or sabja as they are commonly called in India, are black coloured seeds. They are also called Tukmaria seeds and Falooda seeds and are called Sweet basil seeds or Basil seeds in English. They are native to India.

Sabja seeds are neither Tulsi seeds, although they resemble them a lot, and, are called basil seeds, nor are they Chia seeds, as many people erroneously think. They do not look like Chia seeds at all and this is quite evident when you observe both the seeds together. Chia seeds are oval in shape and a mixture of brown, grey, black and white coloured mottled seeds while Sabja seeds are completely black. All the three seeds, do belong to the mint family - Lamiaceae - though.

  • Tulsi seeds are seeds of the Holy Basil plant, Ocimum tenuiflorum
  • Sabja seeds are seeds of the meethi tulsi plant or Sweet basil plant, Ocimum basilicum.
  • Chia seeds are the seeds of the plant Salvia hispanica.
Close-up view of Sabja seeds

Close-up view of Sabja seeds

Sabja Seeds Names in Different Indian Languages

English - Sweet Basil Seeds/basil seeds
Hindi - Sabja/Tukmaria/Falooda seeds
Kannada - Kama Kasturi/Sajjagida
Marathi - Sabja/Marva
Tamil - Tulasi vitaikal
Telugu - Bhutulsi
Urdu - Sabjaa

Nutrients in Sabja/Sweet Basil seeds

  1. Sabja seeds are rich in fibre and protein and contain very high levels of minerals like iron, potassium, manganese, copper, calcium and magnesium and folate.
    1 tbsp of sabja seeds provides 15% of the daily calcium requirement, and 10% of the daily magnesium and iron requirement.
  2. They contain high levels of beta carotene, lutein, Vitamins A, B-complex, C and K.
  3. They contain many polyphenolic flavonoids especially Orientin and Vicenin, which contribute to their antioxidant benefits.
  4. They specifically contain carotenoids such as Zeaxanthin that are selectively absorbed into the centre of the retina called the macula lutea and protect against age-related eye diseases.
  5. Some of the active ingredients in basil seeds are dietary fibre, iron, protein, phytochemicals, polyphenolic compounds, orientin, vicennin, and other powerful antioxidants

What are Sabja Seeds? Health Benefits of Sabja Seeds

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Some Health Benefits of Sabja Seeds

  • Sabja Seeds reduce body heat so incorporate them in your daily diet to get relief from the summer heat and its associated problems.
  • Help in detoxifying the body and reducing weight as they are high in fibre.
  • Provide relief from pain in arthritis, headaches and gout. A study published in the Journal of Bone Research and Reports shows that beta-caryophyllene (a compound present in basil seeds) has a prominent anti-arthritic activity due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Relieve stress, tension, depression and migraine. A 30-day experiment conducted on rabbits shows the antistress effects of basil upon regular intake, due to its antioxidant properties.
  • Provide relief in food poisoning and vomiting.
  • Strengthen bones. An animal study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine shows that the aqueous extracts of parsley, basil, and chicory protects bones against glucocorticoid-induced in rats.

    Due to the diverse range of minerals in basil seeds, including iron, potassium, copper, calcium, manganese, and magnesium, eating these seeds on a regular basis will help improve bone mineral density.
  • Help to increase body immunity.
  • Relieve constipation and bloating due to its high fibre content.
  • May reduce heart rate and blood pressure. A study on animals published in the journal Hypertension Research found that basil has an effect on lipid metabolism and platelets. As a result, its consumption can help in controlling blood pressure.

    Another study on the efficacy of natural herbs in the treatment of hypertension credits this effect to one of basil’s essential components, eugenol which helps by blocking the calcium channels.
  • Sabja seeds can be an important source of iron and calcium for people who don’t eat meat or dairy products. Calcium in sabja ensures healthy muscles and bones while iron in sabja prevents anaemia.
  • .Sabja are high in fibre, especially soluble fibre,- like pectin. This helps to keep one full and improve gut health. It aids in controlling blood sugar and high cholesterol levels.

    A paper published in the Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy journal studied the effect of basil seeds in animals. It concluded that the extracts of these seeds can have an antidiabetic effect on rats with diabetes. Based on this, it suggests that basil seeds could be used to help with type 2 diabetes as well as related complications such as liver dysfunction, diabetic nephropathy, and immunosuppression.
  • Lower cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that sweet basil seeds are directly associated with a decrease in LDL or bad cholesterol levels, which lowers the risk of atherosclerosis and plaque deposition in the arteries and blood vessels.
  • Improve vision, prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

When to Consume & How Much?

Best to have it in the morning before breakfast. I take 1 tsp of unsoaked sabja seeds daily during summer each year although suggestions are for 2 tsp to 3 tsp of sabja daily. It's always better to not go overboard if you are taking long term.

Have it only during the summer season as these seeds reduce body heat.

Soaked Sabja Seeds

Soaked Sabja Seeds

How to Use Sabja Seeds

  • Soak sabja seeds in sufficient water for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then strain out the water and use as mentioned below.
  • Add to dahi/curd/yoghurt and as a topping for salads.
  • Mix in fresh fruit juices, sharbat, cold dairy milk or plant milk, milkshakes, falooda, smoothies, ice cream, cold desserts like kheer.
  • You can even have it in plain water.

Sabja Milkshake Recipe


  • Raw sabja seeds can cause choking. Also, large clumps of gelatinous seeds due to the use of insufficient soaking water may result in choking in children or the aged.
  • Small children and pregnant women should avoid consuming them as the former may choke on them and in the latter the estrogen hormone levels may dip.
  • If you suffer from thyroid imbalances or other hormonal issues consult your doctor before using these seeds. In fact, those who have any health issues should consult their doctor before consuming them.
  • Ensure you drink enough water when you consume these seeds.


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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Rajan Singh Jolly

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