This ancient oil is sometimes referred to as fit for a king’s house. In India Basil is also known as Tulsi and it is common to find basil planted around temples as well as graves. The Egyptians used Basil in embalming rituals and it is a very versatile oil in Ayurvedic medicine. Basil is a very popular herb especially in the Italian culture but not just for the lovely flavor that we associate with pizza and pasta sauces. No, Basil was planted outside the windows of young women to attract men. They do say the path to a man’s heart goes through his stomach, don’t they?
Basil oil is as useful as the herb is for cooking. Adding some Basil to your pasta sauce just enhance that flavor and makes it delicious. Let’s look at some uses and benefits of Basil essential oil.
Basil oil – Ocimum basilicum
Family – mint
Color – Essential oil is yellow – greenish
Smell – sweet, warm, spicy, herbal. It smells like a mixture of thyme, peppermint and licorice.
Uses and benefits of Basil essential oil
1. Healthy home
Diffuse basil to combat bacteria and fungi in and around the house. Make a natural surface cleaner and add some Basil essential oils to remove bacteria from kitchens and bathrooms. You can add a few drops to some baking soda and use that as a household cleaner.
You can have a look at some diffusers here.
2. Respiratory fighter
Diffuse Basil throughout the home to fight the common cold and to prevent the spreading of the common cold to other family members.
Put a couple of drops of Basil in a bowl with boiling water. Cover bowl and your head with a big towel and breath in the vapors for at least a minute. Just be very careful not to burn yourself with the boiling water. I find it best to put the bowl inside the bathroom sink so there is no chance of it falling over and burning me or the kids.
Steam inhalation with Basil oil will help with nasal polyps.
The antispasmodic and expectorant properties makes it helpful for whooping cough, chest infections and bronchitis.
3. Muscle relaxer
Basil oil is useful to treat tension and stiffness in neck. Add a couple of drops to a table spoon of carrier oils to rub on painful muscles. Great for students or those sitting in front of a computer for hours. Good for tired muscles – good for athletes, dancers.
4. Ear health
Mix 2 drops of Basil oil and 2 drops of Frankincense with 20 ml of carrier oil and apply behind the ears to reduce swelling when dealing with ear infection. NEVER put essential oils inside the ear canal.
5. Oral health
Add a few drops of Basil to your own mouthwash for oral health. The antiseptic properties of Basil helps to fight bacteria. Effective mouthwash for mouth ulcers and gum infections.
6. Mental fatigue
Clears the head, relieves intellectual fatigue and gives the mind strength and clarity due to the cephalic properties. It is second to Rosemary for clearing the brain and to combat mental fatigue. It is an uplifting oil and helpful to use for those struggling with adrenal fatigue. Useful for nervous disorders such as weakness, indecision or hysteria, depression and anxiety. Basil oil is a very good nerve tonic. It is an adaptogen, meaning it is both calming and stimulating. One of the few stimulating oils to use when you need to study at night before bedtime. You will be able to concentrate and focus but then be able to fall asleep as well and not feel all wired.
7. Digestive support
Due to the anti-spasmodic properties Basil oil is good to rub, diluted with a carrier oil, on your tummy.
8. PMS support
Massaging a Basil blend over the stomach area will bring relief for painful periods as well as scanty periods.
Basil contains anti-depressant properties and because it clears the mind and is an uplifting oil it is a good choice of oils to compliment your treatment for depression.
You can have a thorough read about other oils to to combat depression here.
10. Insect repellent
Due to the high Linalool content it can be a powerful insect repellent – especially mozzies. I personally prefer the smell of Basil over Citronella so I rather use Basil for an insecticide. Can be used for bites of insects, snakes and scorpions but that being said I would not grab the bottle of essential after a snake bite or a scorpion bite but would grab the car keys to drive to the emergency room.
11. Sleep aid
High linalool content make it a great oils to use before bedtime. Various studies have shown the anxiolytic or anti-anxiety effects of linalool.
12. Skin care
Stimulating effect on the skin. Good for sluggish, congested skins or as a general tonic refresher. Soothe wounds and infections but please pay attention to the dilution chart before applying Basil oils to the skin. Never apply essential oil undiluted on the skin. Also remember that less is more. Just because it is good doesn’t mean more is better. Too high concentration of oils even diluted can cause skin sensitivities.
I don’t normally use Basil oil on its own, I do think it works better in a synergy blend with other oils. Just be aware that it can be a very dominating oil so don’t add too much of the basil in relation to the other oils.
Blends well with:
Avoid during pregnancy
Avoid if suffering from epilepsy
Basil can be a skin irritant to those with sensitive skin so avoid adding it to the bath.
General Safety Information
Do not take essential oils internally or apply essential oils undiluted topically.
Use good quality essential oil. The best oils to use are organic essential oils which is better than therapeutic grade.
Follow Dilution recommendations on the Essential oil Dilution chart.
Pregnant women have to consult with a qualified aromatherapist and or midwife and doctor before using essential oils, especially topically.
If you have liver damage, cancer, suffers from epilepsy or other medical problems and take medicine on a regular basis then you have to use essential oils under the guidance of a trained aromatherapist.
Before using essential oils on children you should consult with a qualified aromatherapist.
You can have a read here about using essential oils for children.
Check whether the essential oil of your choice is safe to use around your pets. Here is a list of essential oils safety for dogs.