Sabja seeds, also called tukmaria or basil seeds, are black seeds that look a lot like chia seeds and offer immense health benefits. They are native to India but different from the holy basil- also called Tulsi. Sabja seeds are rich in protein, essential fats, carbs, and are packed with fiber. Surprisingly, they contain no calories.

Sabja seeds are very hard and you cannot consume them raw. So, they are best consumed after soaking in water, which makes them more gelatinous. Sabja seeds typically come from sweet basil i.e.Ocimum basilicum, which we commonly use as seasoning. As they come from the sweet basil plant, they are commonly referred to as sweet basil seeds.

The benefits of sabja seeds in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine have been known for a while. However, we have recognized its benefits only in the recent past.

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Nutritional information of Sabja Seeds

Research shows that the nutritional composition of basil seeds varies depending on where people grow them. Evidence suggests that 100 grams (g) of basil seeds from India contain:

  • 14.8 g of protein
  • 13.8 g of lipids
  • 63.8 g of carbohydrates
  • 22.6 g of fiber

The main minerals contained in 100 g of basil seeds are:

  • 2.27 milligrams (mg) of iron
  • 31.55 mg of magnesium
  • 1.58 mg of zinc

Research also suggests that 100 g of basil seeds from India contain roughly 442 calories — or around 57.5 calories per tablespoon (13 g).

6 Proven Health Benefits of Sabja Seeds (Basil Seeds)

Sabja seeds have a lot of benefits which include the following:

1. Basil Seeds Aids Weight Loss

Rich in alpha-linolenic acid, sabja seeds are known for their weight loss properties. As they are full of fiber, they keep you full for a long time, prevent unwanted cravings, and aid in weight loss.

2. Basil Seeds Controls Blood Sugar Levels

It slows down the metabolism of your body and controls the conversion of carbs into glucose. It is even considered to be good for type II diabetes patients.

lowered blood sugar levels

3. Basil Seeds Helps Relieve Constipation and Bloating

Sabja seeds naturally detoxify your body by regulating smooth bowel movement. It contains a volatile oil that helps in relieving gas from your gastrointestinal tract and acts as a stomach cleanser.

4. Basil Seeds Helps Treat Acidity and Heartburn

Sabja seeds help to neutralize the acidic effect of HCL in the body, which can bring relief from acidity and heartburn. This is because we consume the seeds after being soaked in water, the water content helps soothe the stomach lining and relieves you from the burning sensation.

5. basil Seeds Good for Skin and Hair

We can accomplish Sabja seeds’ benefit for the skin by adding crushed seeds to coconut oil and applying it to the affected area. This helps in treating skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis. It also has numerous other benefits like regularly eating the seeds helps your body to secrete collagen, which is required to form new skin cells.

It is proven that Sabja seeds are beneficial for maintaining healthy hair as they are full of iron, vitamin K, and protein that is needed for long and strong hair. Also, the antioxidant properties present in them also benefit your skin and hair.

6. Basil Seeds Helps Cure Cough and Cold

Yet another sabja/basil seed’s benefit is its antispasmodic property. These seeds soothe the spasmodic muscles and help them relax. The antispasmodic property helps to control whooping cough and also aids in strengthening the body’s immunity system.

Basil seeds are a rich source of minerals that are essential for your body to stay healthy. 

sabja seeds can help cure cough and cold

Sabja Seeds (Basil Seeds) for Weight Loss

These seeds play an important role in ayurvedic medicines that relieve conditions that include high blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, type II diabetes, and metabolic imbalances. A recent discovery said that these seeds can keep you feeling full and thus avoid unwanted binging. Basil seeds for weight loss have gained immense popularity recently because of the consistent and reliable evidence.

How it works is, sabja seeds swell up and release digestive enzymes when soaked in water. Upon consumption, these digestive enzymes suppress your appetite and help reduce unwanted cravings. Basil seeds are loaded with fiber, which keeps you feeling full for a long time and thus prevents you from unnecessary overeating by reducing your appetite.

These seeds are low in calories and high in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, along with other multivitamins. They are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which stimulates the fat-burning metabolism in your body. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that daily consumption of linolenic acid results in fat loss.

weight loss

How to use sabja seeds for healthy weight loss?

They are packed with nutrients and are one of the best ways to lose weight without falling short of the essential nutrients that your body needs. They are most effective when consumed after soaking them in water. When you soak these seeds in water, the water makes them translucent and soft.

To use basil seeds for weight loss, soak one/two teaspoons of the seeds in a cup full of warm water and consume them directly after fifteen minutes. You can also sprinkle these seeds in salads and soups, or mix them with lemonade or green tea.

Side Effects of Sabja Seeds (Basil Seeds)

You can consume sabja seeds however, one must be careful as it may react with other medications. Though these seeds pose little to no threat and almost all individuals can tolerate it, we suggest that you consult a doctor or nutritionist prior to eating.

If you consume these seeds in limited quantities, they do not pose any threat. But an overdose of these seeds has some side effects. The daily recommended dosage is not to exceed a tablespoon, though it might vary from person to person.

The side effects of these seeds include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, acne, acid reflux, headache, abdomen discomfort, loss of appetite, and such. They can also cause low blood sugar in some people.

Most healthcare providers do not recommend sabja seeds to pregnant women and even children, since children could choke on the seeds if they are not mixed well in water. They are believed to reduce the estrogen level in the body, and thus is not recommended for pregnant women.

As basil oil and extracts can slow blood clotting, it is not recommended for consumption if you have recently had surgery or are wounded. If you have a scheduled surgery, you must stop using basil at least two weeks before the surgery because the side effects of them vary from one person to another. We recommend you consult with your healthcare provider before consuming them.

Sabja Seeds Recipes

Sabja seeds offer a lot of health benefits. But soaking in water and consuming them may prove to be boring. To make these seeds interesting, try out some of the recipes below.

1. A twist on the Lemonade


  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Chilled water (ice cubes optional) – 2 glass 
  • Strawberry syrup – 3 tablespoon 
  • Sabja seeds – 2 teaspoons 
  • Mint leaves roughly torn – 4 to 5
  • Pinch of salt for each glass (optional)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2


  1. Wash and soak the seeds in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Strain out the excess water and keep it aside.
  3. In a jar, add strawberry syrup, lemon juice, and chilled water. Mix well.
  4. Add the strained seeds, stir and transfer to a chilled glass.
  5. Add the mint leaves and salt.
  6. You can add ice cubes and serve them chilled.

You can also use rose syrup, any fruit-flavored drink instead of strawberry syrup, or if you want a healthier alternative without the added sugar, simply add the seeds to any fruit juice. Sabja seed with coconut water not only tastes good, but it is also the best way to cool your body during summer.

lemonade recipe

2. Sabja seeds porridge with mixed fruits


  • Unsweetened almond milk – 400 ml 
  • Ground cinnamon – ¼ teaspoon 
  • Sabja seeds – 2 tablespoon 
  • Bananas broken – 2 
  • Dates pitted – 2 
  • Chopped mixed fruits – 2 cups 
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2


  1. Wash and soak the seeds in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain out the excess water and keep it aside.
  2. In a blender mix banana, unsweetened almond milk, dates, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Blend them to form a thick paste.
  3. Stir in the seeds and let them sit for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Serve the sabja porridge in bowls, topped with mixed fruits.

**You can add more almond milk to alter the consistency of the porridge.


Sabja seeds are known for their benefits that add value to your life. They not only help in keeping your skin and hair healthy but also offer several other health benefits that are required to maintain a healthy life. We must note that though Basil seeds have a lot of nutritional benefits, you must consult a doctor before adding them to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are the benefits of eating sabja seeds?

A. Sabja seeds or the sweet basil seeds are great as a natural body coolant, helps in weight loss, regulate blood pressure, relieves acidity and bloating. 

Q2. How to consume sabja seeds to lose weight?

A. The best way to take sabja seeds is to soak a tablespoon of them in a glass of water for about 15 minutes. You can simply drink the water with soaked seeds or add them to lemon water or in buttermilk, milk, or your desired juice. Since these seeds are high in dietary fiber, they help a person feel full and satiated. The gelatinous seeds create a feeling of fullness and help in keeping away cravings, thus helping in weight loss.

Q3. Can we take Sabja seeds every day?

A. Yes, you can consume sabja seeds daily.

Q4. Do Sabja seeds help reduce body heat?

A. Yes, these seeds work as natural coolants and reduce body heat. Have them in a glass of cold milk in order to help reduce body heat.

Q5. Are sabja seeds good for thyroid?

A. Sabja seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which maintain good metabolism, helping in proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

Q6. What are the side effects of Sabja seeds?

A. Raw sabja seeds can cause choking. The high fiber content of sabja seeds may cause digestive side effects like bloating or diarrhea. Excessive intake can also lead to digestive issues.

Q7. What is sabja called in English?

A. Sabja seeds are popularly known as sweet basil seeds in English. 

Q8. Is Chia Seed the same as sabja?

A. No, chia seeds are different from sabja seeds. Chia seeds are tiny black and white seeds derived from a desert plant Salvia hispanica and sabja seeds are tiny black seeds derived from sweet basil plant, also known as holy basil. 

Q9. Which is better: chia seeds or sabja seeds?

A. Chia seeds and Basil seeds both offer tremendous nutritional benefits. Though they come from two different plants, they look somewhat similar and have similar nutritional benefits. So, to choose which on is better, can vary from person to person.  

Q10. Who should not eat Sabja seeds?

A. Sabja seeds should not be consumed by people post surgery, as they slow blood clotting. Pregnant women and children can refrain from eating sabja seeds in their drinks or desserts as sabja seeds fluctuate hormones and induce contractions in pregnant women. As for children, there are possibilities that they may choke on them.  

Q11. What is the best time to drink sabja seeds?

A. You can add overnight soaked sabja seeds in the morning in your detox drink or along with your smoothie bowl. However, traditionally sabja seeds were consumed before meals considering they are appetite suppressants and great for weight loss.

Q12. Can we drink sabja seeds on an empty stomach?

A.Yes, you can consume Sabja seeds on an empty stomach as it’s recommended as an ingredient that has antioxidants and can be added to your morning detox water.

Q13. Are sabja seeds heat or cold?  

A. Sabja seeds are a great natural coolant and known to reduce body heat. Ideal for summers, the seeds can be added to any juice or infused water of your choice. 

Q14. Are Sabja seeds good for hair growth?

A. Sabja seeds are beneficial in reducing hair fall and promoting hair growth because they are loaded with iron, vitamin K and protein.

Q15. Are sabja seeds good for skin?

A. Yes. Packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, sabja seeds improve skin texture and reduce wrinkles and fine lines. It is also known to treat skin infections. 

Q17. Are Basil seeds good for menstruation?

A. Yes, Basil seeds help improve the regularity of menstruation while reducing menstrual cramps. 

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