Is It Safe to Eat Basil with Holes? (Explained Properly)

You’re probably harvesting basil plants on your windowsill or balcony. One day you noticed a few holes in your basil leaf. Now, are you supposed to throw them into the dustbin? Or is there a chance to eat them?

So, is it safe to eat basil with holes?

Yes, it is. Sometimes insects or bugs are the reason behind this issue. In this case, leaves are safe to eat. Only if you cut the affected part and wash the remaining part thoroughly. But when the plant is harmed by an animal or any disease, you must avoid eating it. Because it can transmit diseases to the human body.

Now, this was just a summary. But don’t worry! We have prepared all the reasons and solutions behind this issue. 

Just read through it and grab a solution!

Should I Eat Basil Leaves with Holes? 

is it safe to eat basil with holes

Having holes in basil leaves is a really common problem while growing. It can be due to many reasons. 

And these reasons are important to know if you’re thinking of having basil leaves with holes. Otherwise, you might end up with a stomach ache or even worse.

Reason 1: Insects

Insects are the most common reason behind your herbs’ damage. There are several types of pests that can harm your basil. The reflection of the damaged leaf will be visible through leaf holes.


Sometimes you usually don’t see any pests or bugs in daylight. Yet find several holes the next morning. Well, the snails are behind this issue. Because snails naturally eat plants at night hours. 

Snails eat plants and leave a slimy or sluggy trace (mostly a gelatin discharge). They also leave some dotted holes into basil leaf

However, there’s no explanation if this slime discharge can transmit diseases. But it seems harmless to the human body.


As the slime is not that problematic, you can eat your basil without hesitating. Just wash the leaves thoroughly with tap water. Cut off the parts with holes and it’s ready to eat. 

How to Get Rid Of Snails?

Now, you might think of getting rid of this snail problem. To do that, pluck the damaged basil and remove other wastes. Now, sprinkle the snail or slug repellent around the growing spots.

We’ve prepared a list of an effective snail or slug killers. This list will help you to choose one repellent amongst the best ones-

Use these to prevent snails!

Soft-bodied Pests

There are many more insects that can attack your herb plants. Aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites, and other soft-bodied pests are often seen on plants. 

These insects love to eat cell caps and soft leaves similar to basil and other herbs. They eat leaves disorderly and leave the plant with small holes.


There’s nothing serious about these bugs as well. You can easily have those basil with holes. Just cut the parts that have holes. Then wash the remaining leaf part properly before eating. 

How to Get Rid Of Soft-bodied Pests?

To destroy soft-bodied pests, spray insecticidal soap, pyrethrin, neem oil, or spinosad. These work perfectly to keep the insects away from your plants. 

We’re recommending some effective insecticides available on the market. You can choose any of these from the list down below-

Buy any of these insecticides from the store and follow the instructions while using it. 

Reason 2: Animals

Usually, it’s a very rare situation when animals cause holes in your plant. But sometimes creatures like rats, cats, mole, or voles can lick or chew the basil leaves. 

This is how you’ll end up with the basil holes. How to know if it’s an animal that caused it? 

Well, when there is no sign of any bug or disease, be sure it’s an animal. 


As we said before, it’s harmful to eat those leaves that are touched by an animal. Because they transmit harmful diseases to the human body. 

Instead, remove all those leaves with holes and throw them right away. If the whole plant is damaged by an animal, it’s better to pluck out the whole plant. Then plant a new one. 

How to prevent Animals from Damaging Basil Plants?

Firstly, observe which animal is causing it and take the necessary steps to prevent them. In that case, keep your plant away where they can’t reach. 

Reason 3: Fungal Diseases

This disease is quite dangerous for your plant. In this case, brown holes along with black spots will be visible in basil leaves.


It’s a big no if you’re thinking of eating basil leaves that are suffering from fungal disease. 

Instead, you have to quickly separate that plant from the others. Then cut and discard the affected parts immediately. This way the disease won’t spread. 

How to Treat Diseased Basil Plant?

The best way to solve this fungal infestation is a fungicide. Applying neem oil is also a great option to get rid of the fungus.

We’re providing a list of the best fungicides. This list might help you to kill that fungus effortlessly-

After getting them, just read the instructions and apply accordingly. 

This should save your diseased basil leaves. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can bad basil make you sick?

Answer: Yes  You should not consume brown or blackish basil. Brown basil is gonna be slimy and bitter. It’s better to throw it away or else you might get a stomach ache. 

Question: Is basil a bug repellent?

Answer: Yes, basil is known as an amazing repellent for insects like flies and bees. According to research, basil leaves are worthwhile in terminating insects and bugs from the kitchen. 

Question: How to keep caterpillars away from herbs?

Answer: Applying a perfect home remedy can save your herb plants from caterpillars. Prepare a light solution of water and liquid soap in a spray bottle. Then lightly spray the liquid on herb plants and that will be good to go.


Finally, it’s time to wrap this conversation. Now, you have answers for is it safe to eat basil with holes?

We hope you can easily end this issue without any hassle. 

Wish you luck!

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