Essential Oil Spotlight: Basil


Basil essential oil (Ocimum basilicum CT linalool) is steam-distilled from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the basil plant. This oil is characteristically known for its herbaceous, spicy, anise-like, camphorous, and lively aroma.

Anciently, basil was used to treat respiratory problems, digestive and kidney ailments, epilepsy, poisonous insect or snake bites, fevers, epidemics, and malaria. The French have historically used basil to help aid migraines, mental fatigue, and menstrual periods.

Today basil is most commonly used for autism, bee/hornet stings, bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cramps (abdominal), earache, hiatal hernia, incisional hernia, infertility, mouth ulcers, muscular dystrophy, ovarian cyst, and viral hepatitis. This essential oil primarily affects the cardiovascular system, muscles, and skeletal system.

Basil contains antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic (powerful), antiviral, decongestant (veins, arteries of the lungs, prostate), diuretic, disinfectant (urinary/pulmonary), energizing, stimulant (nerves, adrenal cortex), and uplifting health properties.

Other possible uses of basil oil include anxiety, chills, concentration, digestion, fainting, insect repellent, chronic mucus, vomiting, and whooping cough.

Applications of Basil Essential Oil and Safety Data:

Topical Application: Basil can be applied neat (with no dilution) directly to the area of concern and reflex points. Dilute with a carrier oil when using on sensitive skin or children (see safety data below).
Aromatic Application: Diffuse, or inhale the aroma directly. The aroma of basil helps one maintain an open mind and increases clarity of thought.
Internal Application: Basil is recognized as safe for internal consumption by the FDA and may be used as a food flavoring agent or taken in capsules.
Safety Data: Basil is not to be consumed internally by children under 6 years old and should be used with caution and in greater dilution for children 6 years old and older. The use of this oil should be avoided during pregnancy. Basil should not be used by people with epilepsy. This oil may also irritate sensitive skin; test by applying to a small area before continuing application.

5 Ways to Use Basil Essential Oil:

1. Massage
There’s nothing like a simple soothing massage with some of your favorite essential oils to calm your mood. Try these massage blends to help boost your mental health and aid carpal tunnel syndrome.

Mental Fatigue Massage Blend
4 drops basil essential oil
4 drops lemon essential oil
4 drops juniper essential oil
2 Tbsp. (25 ml) carrier oil or butter
Combine essential oils with your favorite carrier oil or butter, and lightly massage into your neck, hands, and feet.
Carpal Tunnel Massage Oil
3 drops basil essential oil
3 drops marjoram essential oil
2 drops lemongrass essential oil
2 drops cypress essential oil
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) Fractionated Coconut Oil
Blend oils together, and massage gently into your arm from your shoulder down to your fingertips. You can also make this massage oil in a roll-on bottle for easier application.

2. Earache
Basil is great for helping to dull painful earaches. Add 1 drop each of basil and melaleuca to a cotton ball, and hold over the ear canal for 30 minutes. Do not place directly into the ear canal.

3. Diffuse
Basil’s aroma can have an amazing influence, as it helps one maintain an open mind and increases clarity of thought. Try out some of these diffuser blends to help you focus and engage better in all your endeavors.

4. Bath
Bath salts are perfect for relaxing, but they are also a great way to soak up the benefits of essential oils. Try out the following recipe to help calm your anxiety and energize your body. Remember that basil may irritate sensitive skin, so be careful and dilute further if necessary.

Calm the Anxiety Bath Salts
2 cups (500 g) Epsom Salt
1/2 tsp. (2 g) baking powder
1 tsp. (5 ml) Sweet Almond Oil
3 drops lime essential oil
2 drops basil essential oil
16 oz. PET Jar
Combine salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix essential oils with almond oil. If desired, mix in a few drops of food coloring. Slowly stir oils into the salt mixture, and blend well. Allow the salts to sit for a couple hours in order for the salt to soak up the scent. Add 1/2–1 cup (125–250 g) of salt mixture to your bath under the running tap.

5. Cooking
Basil essential oil is a great ingredient to add to your kitchen. This oil can add rich flavor to any of your recipes with just a drop or less. When adding basil essential oil to your food, start with a toothpick dipped in the oil and stirred into the mixture, and add more until you reach the desired taste. Keep in mind that cooking (or heating) the oil tones down the bold flavor. Here are some of our favorite recipes with basil essential oil!

Sources:
Modern Essentials™: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 9th Edition, pp. 38–39.
Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies by Franzesca Watson
Organic Beauty With Essential Oil by Rebecca Park Totilo