Basil, the herb, is perhaps one of the most widely-used in the culinary world. However, there’s more to basil than just adding exquisite flavor to food. Basil essential oil has a variety of uses for both the mind and the body. Basil helps promote mental alertness and focus. It also helps lessen anxious feelings when diffused for aromatherapy. The basil leaf yields the essential oil in a steam distillation process.
In cooking, basil is added at the last moment since heat can quickly destroy its flavor. From pesto to spaghetti sauce and delectable desserts, basil runs the gamut in the kitchen.
Basil provides significant benefits to both the mind and body because of its high linalool content (approx. 55%). Linalool helps bring on a relaxation of the blood vessels. The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology a May 2015 study found that linalool by itself may be able to facilitate the normal process of relaxation of the blood vessels.
Thought to be native to India, the use of basil dates back more than 5,000 years. The word basil comes from the Greek word for “king.” Basil is still considered the “king of herbs” by many cooks. As a medicine, basil was used historically to treat respiratory problems, digestive and kidney ailments. The French used basil to treat migraines.
Basil once was used for the preparation of holy water in Hindu mythology as well as some Orthodox churches. In some regions of Mexico, potted basil plants can be found hanging at the door or in the window of businesses. The success of the plant’s growth reflects the wealth of the business. It shows how dutifully the owner cares for his shop and the herb.
Basil Essential Oil Uses
Basil essential oil has a warm, spicy, yet herbal aroma. It is known to reduce anxious feelings and help calm the nervous system. It is ideal to help reduce feelings of tension when applied to the temples and back of the neck. The properties of basil essential oil are antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
When applied to the skin, basil has a cooling effect. Other uses of basil essential oil include:
- Diffuse to promote a sense of focus while studying or reading.
- Massage with wintergreen and a carrier oil onto the back of neck for a stress-relieving experience.
- Acts as a cooling agent when applied to the skin.
- Promotes mental alertness and reduces anxious feelings.
- May help to ease monthly feminine discomfort.
- Diffuse for a sense of relief at the end of your work day.
- Add to your favorite Italian dishes for a refreshing taste.
- Blends well with Lime, Bergamot or Peppermint for an invigorating aroma.
Directions for Use
You can diffuse Basil essential oil, rub it on your skin and take it internally.
- Diffusion: Use three to four drops in the diffuser of your choice.
- Internal: Dilute one drop in 4 fl. oz. of liquid.
- Topically: Apply one to two drops to the desired area. You may want to dilute with Fractionated Coconut Oil or other natural oil to minimize any skin sensitivity.
As with all essential oils, please be aware of possible skin sensitivity. Keep Basil essential oil out of the reach of children. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician before using Basil oil.
Basil is a well-rounded essential oil. It is a great addition to a kitchen, study area, office, or travel bag for on-the-go convenience.