Aromatherapy
Basil

Ocimum basilicum

Sweet basil, also known as common basil, is a member of the Labiate family. The herb is native to Asia and has been used comprehensively in Indian herbal medicine. The flowering tops and tender leaves of the plant are used to prepare its essential oil by distillation. The essential oil extracted from sweet basil not only clears the head, but is also inspiring. In effect, this essential oil serves as an excellent tonic or stimulant for the nerves.

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Presently, the plant is found growing in abundance in France, Reunion, Cyprus and the Seychelles. In fact, this plant is not only valued for its therapeutic properties, but also for its use in cookery, particularly in France. Sweet basil is a bushy and labiate (has its set of petals corolla divided into two asymmetrical and overlapping parts) plant that usually grows up to a height of three feet. While the stem of the plant is obtusely quadrangular, the labitate blooms are white in hue appearing in whorls in the leaves' axis. The herb bears leaves that resemble the shape of the heart and are greyish-green underneath. The leaves of sweet basil are considered to be a symbol of love in Italy.

Sweet basil provides numerous benefits for the health and some of them include its therapeutic use for motion sickness, indigestion, constipation, nausea, respiratory problems, diabetes and others. It has been proved that basil essential oil is an excellent natural resource for vitamin A, iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

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Basil essential oil is considered to be an excellent analgesic or palliative. It has a crisp fragrance and works marvellously when used in aromatherapy. This essential oil has the aptitude to stimulate the mind and bring clarity of thought and ensure steadiness of the nerves. At the same time, it helps to get rid of sinus congestion, bring down high temperatures during fever as well as treat menstrual disorders.

The essential oil obtained by distilling the leaves and flowering tops of basil is used externally for massaging the skin. This not only augments the gleam of the dreary skin appearance, but also the hair. Owing to this action of basil essential oil, it is widely used in the manufacture of several skin care products that are believed to enhance the quality of your skin. In addition, this essential oil is also used to treat conditions, such as a variety of digestive problems - nausea to hiccups. Basil essential oil is also effective for treating contagions of the throat as well as the respiratory tract. When applied topically, this essential oil also helps in curing wasp and insect bites, especially mosquito stings, acne and skin contagions.

Since basil essential oil possesses potent carminative properties, it is often used as a tonic for the digestive system. Hence, this oil is very useful in treating digestive disorders, including constipation, indigestion, flatulence as well as stomach cramps or spasms. Using diluted basil essential oil internally provides instant relief by expelling the gas accumulated in the stomach and intestines. This oil is also colic and, therefore, recommended to treat bowel pains.

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As basil essential oil is highly useful in providing respite from influenza, cold and fever associated with these symptoms, it is widely used to treat whooping cough for its antispasmodic property. In addition, this oil is also recommended for patients suffering from bronchitis, asthma and sinus infections. In addition, as the basis essential oil is a potent antibacterial property, it is effective for curing various types of contagions, including wounds, cuts, skin contagions, bladder infections and other conditions. In addition, this essential oil is also excellent for treating infections caused by virus.

Using basil essential oil brings about an uplifting effect and, therefore, is highly effective in treating mental exhaustion, nervous anxiety, melancholy, depression as well as migraines. Owing to the soothing effect produced by basil essential oil, it is extensively used in aromatherapy. Using this essential oil on a regular basis provides cerebral power and clearness of thoughts. In addition, basil essential oil has the aptitude to enhance the pulse rate, thereby, augmenting the blood circulation to a remarkable level. This oil also facilitates the metabolic process.

As basil essential oil possesses analgesic properties, it is used to provide relief from pain, especially muscles and joint aches. Therefore, this oil is recommended for patients suffering from arthritis, wounds, burns, sports injuries, bruises, scars, sprains and even headaches. In addition, basil essential oil is ophthalmic by nature and provides relief when applied to bloodshot eyes.

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As aforementioned, basil essential oil is also an effective in providing relief from itching due to stings and bites from insects, honey bees and even snakes. Sweet basil has an affectionate and zesty aromatic scent that is rich in camphor. To be precise, the aroma of basil essential oil resembles that of fresh herbs. It is important to note that basil essential oil serves as a tonic for the mind and, thus, stimulates the mind. This oil helps to intensify concentration or focus on any subject. This oil may be used by itself or blended with other essential oils to help you remain vigilant.

The essential oil obtained from sweet basil is a great tonic for the nerves and when you use this oil, it will notably enhance your alertness. It may prove to be especially useful while studying for any examination, driving late in the night or any other situation when you might need to concentrate on any thing or memorize something. The stimulating properties of sweet basil essential oil facilitate in alleviating sinus congestion and are also helpful to bring back the loss of aptitude to smell owing to chronic nasal catarrh (inflammation of a mucous membrane that is accompanied by excessive secretions).

Sweet basil essential oil is also an accepted diuretic and helps to increase urine outflow, thereby helping in flushing out excessive water accumulated in our body as well as wastes and toxins produced by the body. In addition, it also helps to relieve headaches owing to reduced blood circulation related to liver and gall bladder stagnation as well as constipation. You may inhale pure sweet basil essential oil and unadulterated peppermint oil with a view to obtain rapid respite from the symptoms of hot flashes.

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Since sweet basil essential oil possesses antispasmodic properties, it is often used as a hot compress using a hot towel to provide relief from flatulence, bloating, menstrual cramps, and chronic constipation as well as alleviate muscle and joint pains. When applied topically on the skin surface as a compress, the essential oil obtained from sweet basil has the aptitude to provide relief from a number of symptoms of conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis, sinus infection and even allergies.

Sweet basil essential oil has the smell of fresh herbs that is able to remove congestions in the chest and sinuses and, at the same time, heal various respiratory contagions. When the oil from sweet basil is used in aromatherapy diffusers and spread all over the air in a room or your home, it helps in restraining the respiratory symptoms. The essential oil obtained from basil can also provide relief from flatulence and excessive gas in the stomach and intestines instantly when you are enduring indigestion.  Like in the case of any other essential oil, you ought to talk with any competent and qualified aromatherapy specialist before using this oil internally.

In order to treat minor cuts and injuries, a few drops (one or two) of basil essential oil may be applied directly on wounds each time or alternately you may even dilute the oil by adding appropriate carrier oils and applied topically on the wounds. While this will not only heal the wound quickly, but also fight bacteria, if any. Then again, you may also use the oil in a compress and apply it on the wound to combat bacteria. Apart from being antiseptic, the bail plant also possesses analgesic properties. As a result of this, it not only heals the wound, but also provides relief from pain. In order to provide quick relief from arthritis or joint pain, add a few drops of basil essential oil to any appropriate carrier oil and massage it on the affected areas. You will be surprised to note that minutes after the massage the patient will not longer experience the throbbing pain.

In fact, a massage with basil essential oil is very refreshing and it helps to enhance the quality of the skin as well as the lustre of hair. In addition, basil oil is also beneficial for the skin and helps to treat a number of skin problems, including acne and eczema. This is attributed to the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of this oil.

Homeopathic medicine practitioners often use basil essential oil in skin toners, while several cosmetic manufactures include this oil in facial formulations that are commercially available in the market. Although in a much diluted state, basil oil can also be used internally to treat gallbladder infections.

It is advisable that every household should preserve a bottle of basil oil in the medicine cabinet during the summer since it is a wonderful substitute to bug bite medications containing loads of chemicals. Applying basil oil topically on stings and wounds will not only provide relief from pain, irritation and itching, but, at the same time, diminish the risks side effects, especially infections, that are associated with any skin irritation or puncture.

The basil essential oil meant for aromatherapy can be used in diffusers or oil warmers to enhance the mood of any room. Using this oil in aromatherapy diffusers also has an inspiring effect and helps to relieve people of all types of throat, nasal and respiratory congestion.

When the essential oil obtained from basil plant is used in aromatherapy massages, it is usually blended with citrus essential oils like the oils obtained from lemon, frankincense, grapefruit and geranium. In addition, aromatherapy product combinations also mix basil essential oil with other essential oils obtained from lavender, peppermint and bergamot.

In terms of aromatherapy massage oils, the essential oil obtained from basil plant is said to possess uplifting and energizing properties. Therefore, it is widely used in blends of essential oils for people enduring stress, nervous anxiety, lethargy and migraine. Using this essential oil in a vaporizer is a wonderful way to reap the benefits of the uplifting, energizing and concentration-enhancing properties of basil essential oil.

General properties

  • antispasmodic
  • carminative
  • galactogenic
  • stomachic
  • tonic
  • uplifting
  • warming

Blends well with

General uses

Precaution

Although basil essential oil possesses numerous effective therapeutic properties, to some extent, it may prove to be hazardous when not used according to the recommendations of your physician or when it is used inappropriately. Hence, one needs to exercise caution while using this essential oil obtained from the leaves and flowering tops of basil through distillation.

It is important to note that basil essential oil should never be used by pregnant women. In addition, the estragol present in this oil may result in unfavourable reactions to people who are sensitive. Hence, it is advisable that people ought to use low or watered down concentrations of this essential oil, or alternately utilize basil essential oil that contains very little or no estragol at all. For instance, it is safer to use the O. Americanum Linn. or O. gratissimum Linn. varieties of basil essential oil.

While basil essential oil possesses tonic properties, when consumed in excess amounts it may result in an incredible result. Therefore, this oil should not be used by pregnant women or children below the age of 16 years. As this essential oil possesses emmenagogue (any drug that promotes menstrual outflow) properties, pregnant women are advised to avoid using this oil. It is very important that both the essential oil obtained from basil and basil in any other form should not be used during pregnancy. This essential oil should also not be used by nursing mothers as it may harm the baby as well as the mother. Nevertheless, there are some people who claim that using basil or the basil essential oil enhances breast milk production. At the same time, one should remember that excessive use of this essential oil may also cause irritation in case you have a susceptible skin. Hence, it is advisable that people having sensitive skin ought to use this essential oil very cautiously.

If basil essential oil is not used in very small amounts, it is likely to cause skin irritation in most people, especially those having sensitive skins. Therefore, it is advisable that basil essential oil should always be watered down using any carrier vegetable oil or sweet almond oil. Most importantly, before one takes basil essential oil internally, he or she should essentially discuss with a certified aroma therapist.

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Comments

From Elizabeth - Oct-22-2014
I was putting some basil oil into a smaller container when it tipped over and spilled. I got most of it up with a suction dropper, but rubbed the excess into my hand so as not to waste it. YIKES! Within an hour I was running to the bathroom to pee and then again and again... After googling, I found out that basil is indeed highly diuretic! Be careful on this one - potent stuff!
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