Basil Essential Oil Benefits and Uses
Sweet and Stimulating Basil Essential Oil
This essential oil has a sweet, refreshing aroma that most people will recognize because it smells very similar to fresh basil. This low-growing annual plant has square stems which branch out and smooth, shiny leaves. It also has flowers which form clusters, and the essential oil cells are found underneath the leaves and in the flowering tops too, extracted by steam distillation. Basil is native to India and various tropical regions in Asia, and it also grows in Europe. The main producers of basil essential oil today are the USA, France, Bulgaria and Egypt. The word 'basil' comes from the Greek word 'basilicon' which means 'royal remedy' because it was used in baths and body massage by ancient Greek nobles who enjoyed its fragrant aroma and uplifting properties. This oil has been used since ancient times as a medicinal herb for a wide variety of ailments. Some of the best-known uses of this oil are to soothe aching joints and muscles, promote mental alertness and help with anxiety or stress, assist with clear breathing, and act as a skin cooling agent, but read on to discover many more uses of basil essential oil.
Basil Oil in Aromatherapy
This is an excellent essential oil to use in aromatherapy. It is often chosen to bring strength of mind and clarity to people suffering from mental fatigue, stress, fear, or headaches. Because basil oil makes a good top note in aromatherapy, it is often combined with clary sage, bergamot, frankincense, orange, lavender, peppermint, rosemary or clove. It adds a fresh aroma to any of these other oils if you do want to blend, or else you can use it by itself. Add a few drops of basil oil to a carrier oil and massage it in a clockwise direction on the abdomen. This oil is said to help with colic, indigestion, flatulence, stomach cramps, and nausea, and because of its effect on the nervous system it is believed to be especially effective for helping with digestive issues caused by nervous tension or stress.
The refreshing, uplifting effect of this essential oil is why it is used for nervous tension, melancholy, depression and migraines. Basil oil is sometimes known as the 'oil of renewal' because of its strengthening, fortifying properties and ability to calm the mind and heart. It is thought to fight stress, fatigue and overwhelming feelings, and might even be able to help overcome addiction. Massage this oil blended in a carrier oil such as almond oil or coconut oil around your solar plexus area if you need to be calmed down or if you are feeling really stressed or overwhelmed. If you have tired, tight muscles after dancing, sports or other physical activities, add some basil essential oil and lavender oil to a carrier oil and give yourself an aromatherapy massage to soothe the muscles and help revitalize your mind and body. Basil oil is thought to help cool the body too, making it a good choice for after-sports therapeutic massage.
Basil oil is unusual in that it can relax and calm, as well as inspire and bring alertness and concentration. It is considered the best oil, second only to rosemary oil, for stimulating the intellect and mind, increasing blood flow to the brain, clearing any headaches, indecision, fogginess or fatigue. It is thought to stimulate the adrenal cortex to bring clarity of thought. Try adding a few drops to a vaporizer or diffuser while you are studying or hard at work, to help you stay focused on the task at hand.
Using It on the Skin
This oil can be massaged into the skin to make dull-looking skin more radiant. It is sometimes added to cosmetic preparations for acne and similar skin infections, or skincare supplements which claim to improve skin tone. Try basil oil on wounds, cuts and skin infections, and its antibacterial properties might soothe and improve your skin. It is also used for viral infections which can enter the body through a cut or wound. Try it on bites or stings from bees, wasps or other insects, or even scorpions and snakes, because it is believed to help draw the poison out while keeping infection out of the wound. Apply some on herpes or shingles to soothe the sensitive skin.
This oil can be used as an analgesic, to bring relief from wounds, arthritis, burns, bruises, sports injuries, scars, headaches, surgical recovery, sprains, and burns. It is also said to be an ophthalmic agent, useful for relieving bloodshot eyes when added to distilled water. Add a few drops of basil oil to a warm bath to help with arthritis or gout pains, or menstrual or muscular pains. Although basil oil can be used as it is on the skin, if you have sensitive skin it might be best to mix a few drops into a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, to apply. Basil Essential Oil in Haircare This oil is believed to possess invigorating properties. Some people like to mix a few drops with their usual shampoo or conditioner, also adding some peppermint, rosemary and/or lavender to promote hair growth. Massaging some basil oil with jojoba oil directly into the scalp is thought to stimulate blood flow to the scalp, thereby encouraging healthy hair growth. This oil can also be used on thinning hairor people experiencing hair loss. The magnesium in basil oil is believed to help strengthen and rejuvenate the hair follicles and shaft. It is good for old hair with a tendency toward brittleness, so if you have long hair you might find it helpful in protecting your tresses, keeping them long and lovely.
Basil oil contains orientin and vicenin, two antioxidant flavonoids which are claimed to protect your hair's cell structure from oxidation which can lead to aging and cell damage. It also contains eugenol, an anti-inflammatory agent which can help improve blood flow to the scalp. This is important, since poor blood circulation in the scalp is a known hair loss culprit. Try some basil oil in your haircare routine and see if you can restore your hair's former luster.
If you want to make your own effective hair-fall rescue serum or massaging liquid, combine 4 ounces of jojoba oil with 5 drops of basil oil, 10 drops of rosemary oil and 10 drops of lavender oil. This can be used with oily, dry or normal hair. When massaged into the scalp with some jojoba oil, you will find it makes your scalp tingle while it cleans out clogged hair follicles, so the strong, healthy hair can escape. Follow up with your usual shampoo and conditioner routine.
Even More Uses of Basil Essential Oil
Apply basil oil topically or diffuse it if you are suffering from a cough, cold or the flu. It is believed to help you breathe more clearly and easily. You can even use this oil to make a household cleaning spray. Put 2 cups of filtered water in a bottle with a cup of white vinegar, 15 drops of basil oil and 20 drops of lemon oil. You can use this on all kinds of surfaces. If you prefer a stronger basil aroma, you can add more essential oil to the mix. Try a few drops of basil oil in water as a mouthwash to help with ulcers and gum infections, or use basil oil in a diffuser while you are studying or trying to concentrate, to focus your mind on the task at hand and keep you alert. If you have a cough, cold or just feel a bit run-down, consider using basil oil to clear your nose and airways. Some people claim it helps with asthma and bronchitis too, since it is an antibacterial agent in addition to expectorant. Try it in steam inhalation to help expel mucus from your lungs and fight infection. To make a good basil oil steam inhalation, add a few drops of basil oil to a bowl of hot water, then put your face a couple of inches above the water. Cover your head with a towel and enjoy your very own facial sauna. Now inhale the steam for a few minutes, and see if it helps open up your nasal passages and relieve your cough, as well as fighting bacteria. You can do this several times a day, until you feel better. If you are recovering from a persisting illness, consider using basil oil to take advantage of its energizing, stimulating and antibacterial properties. Either use it in a carrier oil or try it along with rosemary oil to stimulate both body and mind. Whether you are feeling stressed, low in energy, under the weather, or just in need of a boost, try a basil oil massage and see if it can help you feel better.
Although basil essential oil is said to increase milk flow in nursing women, there is not enough research done on this, so pregnant and nursing mothers might want to avoid this oil. For everyone else, it is a versatile, useful essential oil which may be used by itself, combined with a carrier oil, moisturizer, lotion or hair care products, or combined with other essential oils such as eucalyptus, lavender, melissa, rosemary, bergamot, clary sage, geranium, clove, lemon, lime, juniper, hyssop, marjoram, or neroli. Keep in mind that basil oil is quite potent and can dominate a blend of essential oils, so if you are mixing it, just add a drop at a time until the resulting aroma is perfectly balanced for your desired use.
FDA Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease including Ebola. Disclosure: We are not providing medical advice. Please seek a physician for medical advice