Aromatherapy: How to use Basil Oil

The woody, balsamic aroma of bay, with its spicy undertones, is regarded as a masculine scent. It is valuable in aromatherapy for its cleansing effects on the mind, body and spirit. Laurel bay, a native of the Mediterranean, has been a symbol of wisdom and peace for thousands of years. An oil can also be steam-distilled from the leaves of the West Indian bat, a native of South America.

bay botanical

Lifting mind, body and spirit

Bay is warming to the emotions, it is mildly narcotic and euphoric, heling to lift the spirits. Its strengthening and supportive action helps to overcome shyness as it inspires confidence and imagination. Bay is a purifying oil that treats cellulite, settles the stomach and clears dandruff. Bay's warming action boosts circulation and in a massage it's beneficial for treating muscular aches and rheumatism, especially when combined with rose and juniper oil.

Active Ingredients of Bay Oil

Bay contains a rich mixture of active ingredients, including alcohols, esters and terpenes.


Phenols give bay oil its warming properties. They are stimulants to the nervous system, activate healing and are highly antiseptic. Oils such as bay may irritate your skin if used in high concentrations. The principal phenol in bay is eugenol. Also found in clove and cinnamon, eugenol gives bay a spicy, clove-like fragrance.

Cineole oxide

Also known as eucalyptol, this gives bay its camphor-like undertones and its expectorant and decongestant action.

Uses of Bay Oil

With its many amazing properties complementing its unusual fragrance, you will find that bay oil is an invaluable aid for your mind, body and spirit.

Hair and Beauty Tonic

Bay is a useful cosmetic aid for hair, skin and nails.

aromatherapy shampoo

For problem hair

Make an antiseptic tonic to clear a flaky, greasy scalp.

3 drops basil oil
4 drops cedarwood oil
4 drops rosemary oil
45ml unscented shampoo

Hair care cream

To condition the scalp

10 drops bay oil
10 drops lemon oil
5 drops cedarwood oil
2 tbsp shea butter
8 tsp jojoba oil

Spicy, manly soap

Leave in a mould to set

2 drops bay oil
2 drops clary sage oil
7 drops lime oil
1 drop nutmeg oil
Handful grated unscented soap.

To strengthen nails

Massage into your nails

3 drops bay oil
3 drops sandalwood oil
25ml sweet almond oil

Folklore of Bay

The bay tree is an ancient symbol of wisdom, peace and cultural excellence. It is also a herb that signifies love and protection.

The Ancient Greeks dedicated bay to the god Apollo, and also to his son Asclepius, the god of medicine. Bay was said to be sacred to Apollo in honour of his first love, the nymph Daphne, who was changed into a bay laurel tree by her father, the river god Peneus, to save her from being caught by Apollo.

Bay symbolises sporting excellence at the Olympic Games - a tradition that has been passed down for thousands of years. Bay replaced the olive branch in this role because of the influence of the Pythian games at Delphi, which were dedicated to Apollo.

The Ancient Romans decorated their homes with evergreen wreaths of bay leaves to celebrate their winter festival of Saturnalia in honour of Saturn, god of agriculture. Bay is till a large feature of the Christmas wreath.

A symbol of undying affection, lovers exchanged boughs of bay in ancient times. Sprigs of bay are sometimes still included in the bridal bouquets in European weddings.

During Medieval times, bay trees were planted to protect the farmstead from lightning. The sudden death of the tree was said to foretell impending disaster.

Circulation Booster

Use bay's warming and stimulating actions to jump-start your circulation.

For aches and pains
Stimulate local circulation to help you dispel toxins with massage:
25ml sweet almond oil
2 drops bay oil
4 drops rosemary oil
2 drops ginger oil

stomach massage

Warm hands and feet
Give chilled extremities a vigorous friction massage:
20ml sweet almond oil
3 drops bay oil
3 drops juniper oil

Combat cellulite
Boost circulation and lymphatic drainage with a brisk massage:
30ml grapeseed oil
1 drop bay oil
2 drops geranium oil
4 drops lemon oil
Bay stimulates while geranium and lemon are detoxifying

Focus the Mind

Bay inspires confidence and eases emotional exhaustion.

Uplifting massage

Blend 4 drops of bay, bergamot and basil oils in 25ml sweet almond oil. Use on the upper chest, back and shoulders. Bergamot is refreshing, bay uplifts and sweet basil will act with bay to sharpen the mind.

Overcome shyness

At work and social occasions rub on your wrists.
2 drops bay oil
3 drops rosemary oil
20ml grapeseed oil

Help concentration

Make a mist spray with:
6 drops bay oil
6 drops pine oil
6 drops sandalwood oil
6 drops coriander oil
250ml pure water
Spray liberally when lethargy sets in. Bay and pine sharpen the mind, coriander and sandalwood combat lethargy and fatigue.