The essential oil is basil is produced by steam-distilling the herb, resulting in a sweet, spicy fragrance evocative of sunny Mediterranean holidays. Basil's uplifting and strengthening effects on the nervous system make it a valuable oil for treating anxiety and depression. Its restorative properties can also help treat symptoms of stress and tension.
The antiseptic and antispasmodic effects of basil make it a good abdominal massage oil for clearing intestinal infections. It is also helpful for treating painful digestive disorders.
Basil's decongestant action in a steam inhalation is a very effective remedy for coughs and catarrh. It also has a beneficial action on the respiratory tract and ca restore a sense of smell and taste.
Active Ingredients of Basil Oil
Basil's stimulating effect on the nervous system is due to high concentration of alcohols.
These alcohols make up to 60% of basil oil. The principle compound active in the oil is linalol, which contributes a distinctive floral, spicy and slightly citrus aroma. Monoterpene alcohols are considered to be uplifting, warming and balancing. They also contain antibacterial and antiviral actions and stimulate the body's own defensive system to fight infections.
Phenols and phenolic esters
Basil contains methyl chavicol and eugenol. These help to stimulate the nervous system and strengthen the immune system.
Basil also contains traces of ketones, such as camphol and cineole, and terpenes such as pinene and ocimene.
Uses of Basil Oil
Basil oil is a natural treatment for respiratory and digestive infections and can be used o create a refreshing body run and a pick-me-up for work.
Wake up the mind and body with stimulating, uplifting basil oil.
For an invigorating, aromatic start to the day, add 1-2 drops each of basil and bergamot oil to your shower gel in the morning.
For an energising and invigorating body rub, try adding 5 drops each of bergamot and geranium oil and 2 drops of basil oil to 25ml sweet almond oil.
If you feel like you're flagging mid-afternoon in the office, give yourself a boost with 2 drops of basil oil and 6 drops of grapefruit oil in a room vaporiser.
Folklore of Basil
Basil is a sacred herb in many belief systems and has associations with different deities.
According to Christian legend, basil grew on Christ's tomb after his resurrection. Thus, some Greek Orthodox churches use basil to prepare holy water.
This native herb is held in great reverence throughout India, where it is sacred to Krishna an Vishnu. It is cherished in Hindu homes, where it is believed to protect the family.
Digestive and Respiratory Infections
Use basil's potent purifying and cleansing properties to combat infections.
For tummy upsets, place a warm compress over the abdomen using a flannel soaked in hot water containing 2-3 drops each of clove and basil oil. Both contain eugenol, which is effective in treating diarrhoea.
Relieve congestion and ease breathing with an aromatic steam inhalation, add 5 drops of lemon oil, 3 drops of lavender and 2 drops of basil to a bowl of hot water. Cover your head with a towel an inhale deeply until the condition clears.
Shift a lingering cough or chest infection with a dry inhalation by adding 2 drops of basil oil, 4 drops of rosemary and 3 drops of lemon to a handkerchief.
Uplifting Basil Oil
Treat the misery and lethargy of depression with balancing basil oil.
Relaxing basil bath
After a hectic day, have a relaxing basil bath. Add 5 drops of lavender oil, 2 drops of basil and 3 drops of geranium for a long soak.
Blend together 2 drops of basil oil and 10 drops each of black pepper and bergamot oil in 25ml of grapeseed oil for a body massage to treat apathy and depression.
Revive the spirits
For a fragrance that will relieve nervous tension and uplift the spirit, add 10 drops each of ginger and black pepper oil and 2 drops of basil oil to a room vaporiser.
If you are having a spring clean of your home, cleanse the air with a room spray of basil oil. Simply add a few drops to a water spray and squirt into the centre of the room a couple of times.