Basil Essential Oil <br/><em>Ocimum basilicum</em>
Basil essential oil stirs your senses and enlivens your spirit, bringing clarity, awareness and happiness. This wildly useful oil is a popular ingredient in culinary, physical, spiritual, magickal and emotional applications, an all-star essential oil that smells gorgeous too.
History of Basil: From Ewww! To Whew!
Basil oil didn’t always hold the revered position it now enjoys. In fact, important ancient Greeks disliked the herbaceous oil and plant, thinking it unpalatable and a breeder of scorpions. Dioscorides, the Greek physician and botanist who authored the Greek encyclopedia of herbal medicine, thought it dulled sight.
That attitude toward basil had completely transformed by the 1600s. Herbalist/botanist John Gerard waxed poetically about the aroma of basil, saying it is ‘good for the heart and for the head’. His compatriot, noted botanist and physician Nicholas Culpepper found several uses for basil, saying ‘It expelleth both birth and after-birth’ and advising its use in easing the pain of venomous bites of scorpions, hornets and wasps. Both herbalists were on the right track for what we now know are some of basil’s many benefits.
This evolution of thought on the usefulness of basil wasn’t necessary in ancient Asian and Middle Eastern herbalism. There, basil has always been highly regarded, as a culinary ingredient, a spiritual aid and a medicinal helper.
A Million Uses for Basil
Basil is a herb of many faces, with 50 to 150 different species of the herb available. Most basil essential oils are derived from sweet basil, known for its high linalool content that benefits many physical and emotional issues.
- High concentrations of antioxidants and helpful phytochemicals make basil essential oil a notable aid for many physical ailments.
- Muscle Relaxant. Soothe your tight muscles and swollen joints with a relaxing massage of basil oil diluted in carrier oil. Adding a hint of lavender oil gives it another little boost in both aroma and effect. These relaxing, anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits are thanks to the oil’s limonene, eugenol, linalool, estragole and sabinene phytochemical content.
- Acne Calming. Basil’s antibacterial properties greatly aid those enduring acne breakouts.
- Nasal Decongestant. The aroma of basil, especially when it’s combined with eucalyptus, is favored by many to ease nasal congestion.
- Ear Discomfort. Ayurvedic medicine practitioners have used basil essential oil to calm ear pain and infection
- Headache. Basil oil has been a long-treasured approach to calming headaches. Traditional healers suggest you rub a few drops of basil mixed with a carrier oil into the bottom of your feet for headaches.
- For centuries, basil essential oil’s aroma has been used to bring about positive emotional effects.
- Stress. Wipe away mental fatigue and ease anxiety and stress with the aroma of basil essential oil.
- Energy. The aroma of basil essential oil is a mood enhancer and energiser due to its effects on the adrenal cortex and nervous system.
- Pleasure. Basil oil has long been considered an aphrodisiac, especially in Ayurvedic healing. Some researchers believe the oil’s link to sexual pleasure relates to the oil’s effects in calming the nervous system and uplifting mood. In previous centuries, young Italian women would place basil leaves in their hair to entice young men.
- Balance and Harmony. Basil oil awakens the spirit and makes it alert to physical and spiritual realms. This clarity of mind aids meditation to balance energy centers and to find focus and concentration.
- Chakras. Basil essential oil is ideal for use in balancing the throat chakra and solar plexus.
- Angelic Fragrance. Basil oil is an angelic fragrance, clearing your mind to ease the connection with your spirit guides and angels. It is thought to attract good spirits.
- Magickal Use. If you are seeking protection and wish to attract love, or attract prosperity and success into your life, basil oil is an excellent choice. The oil is often used to encourage the confidence of users and provide a cleansing effect prior to rituals.
Basil essential oil should be diluted in carrier oil before application to skin. Pregnant and nursing women and those with epilepsy should avoid using the oil. Using basil directly on skin without dilution can cause skin irritation; definitely, avoid contact with mucous membranes and sensitive areas.