Basil brings to mind Italian food and fragrant garnishes, but basil is useful for so much more than cooking! Basil essential oil, which can also sometimes be referred to as sweet basil oil, has been used since ancient times to treat all kinds of health issues. We’re going to show you why basil essential oil deserves a spot in your essential oil collection!
We’re going to cover the origins and history of this fantastic oil. Then we will share some of the most popular and scientifically-backed uses for basil essential oil.
Lastly, we will share a basil oil recipe that you can make at home! We’ll wrap up by answering some frequently asked questions about basil essential oil.
Read on to learn what basil essential oil can do for you!
Table of Contents
The Origins and History of Basil Essential Oil
Sweet basil or Ocimum basilicum L. Belongs to the Lamiaceae plant family, which is the mint family of plants. The mint family includes around 200 species of various basil varietals that are grown all around the world.
The scientific name for the basil plant is Ocimum basilicum, which is derived from the Greek word basilicas which means “king” or “royal,” which is another nod to its sacred heritage.
Long ago, basil originated from India. The plant was considered to be holy to practitioners of Hindu. Basil was believed to be an incarnation of the god Vishnu’s wife Lakshmi, who was the goddess of fortune and beauty. Women would wear basil in their hair to attract potential suitors using the influence of the goddess Lakshmi.
Basil essential oil was previously used as a part of traditional medicine for the treatment of headaches, coughs, diarrhea, constipation, warts, worms, kidney malfunctions, and even more. Likely because of its scientifically proven antibacterial and anti-fungal effects.
Basil was additionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to assist with various skin conditions as well as indigestion and coughs.
Today, we see basil in use for treating stomach spasms, loss of appetite, fluid retention, head colds, warts, and even intestinal worm infections! Basil essential oil is naturally anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibiotic, and diuretic as well.
We’ll go into more detail on these modern uses of basil essential oil below!
Benefits of Basil Essential Oil
Some commonly noted benefits of basil essential oil include:
- Fighting bacteria
- Preventing infection
- Reducing inflammation that can cause disease
- Fighting viruses
- Relieving congestion
- Stimulation of the nervous system
While not all of these claims have strong scientific research backing them, they are generally observed benefits of this essential oil.
Modern Uses for Basil Essential Oil
So we have established that basil essential oil has many incredible benefits. Now let’s get to those practical uses for basil essential oil!
May Soothe the Digestive System
Basil essential oil has been used to relieve digestive issues like constipation and act as a stimulant to the digestive system, but there is no concrete evidence on this. Some claim that a few drops of basil essential oil mixed with a carrier oil and massaged into the stomach can relieve constipation.
May Stimulate the Nervous System
Stimulating the nervous system is another use for basil essential oil that has more observed evidence than scientific evidence.
Individuals who are dealing with mental and emotional exhaustion can allegedly use basil essential oil to regain energy and focus. It is recommended to take a few drops of basil essential oil into the palm of your hand and then rub them together vigorously. Inhaling this scent is said to help stimulate the nervous system to regain energy.
May Relieve Stress
As with many aromatherapeutic benefits of essential oils, there is not a lot of scientific research available regarding basil essential oil’s ability to reduce stress in aromatherapy.
You can still give it a try and see how it works for you, as many sources say that they feel stress relief from smelling this essential oil. You can place a few drops of the basil essential oil in your palm and hold it over your nose to reap the potential benefits of this essential oil.
May Help Treat Acne
This use for basil essential oil has some scientific basis! In one study, a blend of basil and orange essential oils was applied to an area of skin affected by acne and all of the individuals in the study saw some level of improvement.
How to Use
To give this a try, you can mix a drop or two of basil essential oil with a non-comedogenic carrier oil or witch hazel, and use a cotton ball to apply it to the affected area.
May Help with Insect Bites and Other Minor Skin Irritations
Another application for basil essential oil on the skin is for alleviating insect bite irritation and other small skin irritation. There is an extensive research study that lays out all of the potential uses for basil essential oil in regards to skin irritation. Generally, basil essential oil has a healing effect on the skin and can help with a variety of irritations that include insect bites.
How to Use
To use basil essential oil on your skin, mix it with your choice of carrier oil and apply it to the affected areas.
May Reduce Headache Pain
Some sources also claim that inhaling the scent of basil essential oil can assist with headache pain as well as migraines.
How to Use
You can combine a few drops of basil essential oil with a carrier oil and massage it into your temples, neck, or chest. You could also diffuse it or inhale it directly from the bottle.
May Help Boost your Hair
Some sources claim that adding basil essential oil to your shower routine can result in shinier and less greasy hair. There is no scientific backing to be found for these claims, but basil essential oil is typically well-received by most individuals.
How to Use
You can either add a drop or two of basil essential oil to your shampoo or make your own hair-degreasing super goop by combining baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and basil essential oil and massaging it into your scalp before shampooing. This is said to balance pH and remove grease and residue from your scalp.
Less Common Uses of Basil Essential Oil
Here are some of the less common uses of basil essential oil. You can genuinely use basil essential oil daily with a variety of purposes that it has to offer!
Wash Produce and Clean Surfaces
Some of the same antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties that make basil essential oil effective at preventing infections also may help kill harmful germs that are present on produce and surfaces.
How to Use
You can easily use basil essential oil on produce by adding several drops to a spray bottle, filling the rest with water, and spraying it over the produce.
You can also use this solution to clean kitchen surfaces as a more natural alternative to traditional cleaning products.
Basil essential oil smells sweet, spicy, and warm, but it also can help fight harmful germs that might be floating around in the air. Diffuse basil essential oil at home or work to spread around this healing essential oil and purify the air in your space. This practice might even reduce your chances of getting sick.
You can diffuse a combination of these oils in a buggy space or mix a few drops of each with a carrier oil and spread it on your body before an outdoor activity.
Fresh Basil Versus Basil Oil
Fresh basil leaves are a great way to flavor recipes and absorb some of the benefits that basil has to offer. It is important to remember that basil essential oil is much more concentrated and potent than its leaves. Fresh basil leaves, stems, and flowers are steam distilled to procure an extract that has high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial phytochemicals.
The three primary categories of these compounds are oxygenated monoterpenes, sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, and oxygenated sesquiterpenes. Oxygenated monoterpenes account for 60.7- 68.9 percent of the compounds and are a type of chemical compound that is responsible for some of the antibacterial activities of essential oils.
Sesquiterpene hydrocarbons account for 16.0-24.3 percent of the compounds and function as antioxidants. Oxygenated sesquiterpenes can also be responsible for the antioxidant activities of basil essential oil and account for 12.0-14.4 percent of the basil essential oil.
The range in percentage happens because the chemical composition of basil changes depending on the season and so does the essential oil.
Sweet Basil Versus Holy Basil
Most essential oils that you see that are labeled basil essential oil will use sweet basil. Holy basil is a different type of basil. This type of basil does not have the same chemical composition as regular basil and may produce different results. Holy basil is still known to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and energizing. Be sure you are familiar with all of its properties before putting it to use for the purposes we will list in this article.
Our Favorite Basil Essential Oils
There are several brands to choose from when it comes to basil essential oil because this is a pretty common oil. Here are a few of our favorites and links to find them!
By contrast, The Plant Guru offers a 10ml basil essential oil complete with GC/MS test results from a third party. That way you can be sure you are receiving a quality product, all for a low price.
Although The Plant Guru is newer to the scene, they are quickly making a name for themselves based on their no-nonsense pricing and high-quality products.
Rocky Mountain Oils meets in the middle on price with a 15ml bottle of basil essential oil. Reviewers rave about the potency of this product, and some say that it is much more potent than any other brand that they have tried.
Rocky Mountain Oils is also excellent because you can see the GC/MS test results from the specific batch that your bottle is from. This way you know that what you’re getting is pure!
Make your own Basil Oil at Home
You can make a less concentrated version of basil oil at home to use in cooking or topically. Here is just one of many recipes available for use that is super easy and doesn’t require much effort:
- Take two ounces of basil and remove the leaves from the stems
- Take 12 ounces of olive oil and add it to a resealable container or jar
- Carefully stuff the two ounces of basil into the jar with the olive oil
- Seal the jar or container
- Store at room temperature and preferably in a sunny spot for one day
- Strain the oil into another jar, squeezing the basil leaves to remove as much basil as possible
- Discard the basil leaves
- Store refrigerated in a sealed container for up to one week.
Can you use basil essential oil for aromatherapy?
Absolutely, basil essential oil can provide stress relief and stimulate the nervous system by inhaling the oil. You can use basil essential oil aroma-therapeutically by inhaling it directly from the bottle, diffusing it, or using it mixed with a carrier oil and applying it topically.