When I first started using essential oils, I heard a story about a woman who had only a bottle of Basil oil and used it for everything for an entire year before she moved on to other oils. At the time, I wondered if that could really be true. This post covers only some of the many, many uses for Basil. It truly is an oil for all seasons.
Basil is a culinary herb of the mint family. It is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia, and has a prominent place in South Asian, African, and Mediterranean food. Basil adds a fresh, herbal flavor to meats, pasta, soups, and other entrées. Gardeners and foodies know it as a tender plant with leaves that can be used fresh or dried. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. The name comes from the Greek word meaning “king”, since the ancient Greeks believed that it opened the gateways to heaven. In Italy, basil was used traditionally to signify love: if a man wore basil, he was signalling serious intentions to his beloved.
There are over 150 varieties of basil grown around the world, including: purple basil, Thai basil, globe basil (delightful in both taste and appearance – be sure to grow this in your garden if you can get seeds or a starter plant), lemon basil, and many more. doTERRA Basil essential oil is distilled from the fragrant leaves of the sweet basil plant (Ocimum basilicum). Sweet basil has a pleasing flavor and aroma that you probably recognize and value in Italian cooking. doTERRA Basil is sourced in Egypt from plants grown during the winter months.
IN THE KITCHEN
Today’s post is focused on the properties of and uses for Basil essential oil. The essential oil can absolutely be used for culinary purposes. Since fresh herbs are the most expensive grocery items by weight and perishability, stepping into the use of essential oils in place of fresh herbs can be a home run for your budget as well as your meal preps.
TIP: Basil oil is highly concentrated and has an intense flavor, so you may want to start with a toothpick swirl of the oil (dip the toothpick into the bottle and swirl it, then stick the toothpick into your dish and mix in well) – even a single drop may be overpowering for some dishes and beverages.
Here are just a few recipes to get you started:
FOR YOUR BODY
In addition to its pleasing taste, Basil offers many benefits to the mind and body. Basil essential oil is highly valued for its soothing effects and its ability to ease stress and tension. It is regenerating, stimulating, and uplifting.
Let’s start with WHY Basil has so many powerful applications. The systems most supported by the use of Basil essential oil are nervous, reproductive, and integumentary (skin).
The top properties of Basil oil include: antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic (powerful), antiviral, decongestant (veins, artieries of the lungs), digestive, diuretic, disinfectant (urinary/pulmonary), neurotonic, stimulant (nerves, adrenal cortex), steroidal, regenerative, and uplifting.
This is due to significant levels of linalool (40-40%), 1.8-cineole/eucalyptol (1-15%), and bergamotene (1-7%), as well as methyl chavicol.
- Linalool benefits: calming and relaxing aroma, surface cleansing properties, may support healthy immune system function and gastrointestinal health, calms and soothes the nervous system
- 8-cineole benefits: surface cleansing properties, may support respiratory function
- Bergamotene benefits: antioxidant
- Methyl chavicol benefits: – mood enhancer, respiratory support
Some top physical uses for Basil essential oil include:
- Supports adrenal glands
- Enhances focus
- Can help with removal of skin tags and warts
- Cools and cleanses the skin
- Supportive and soothing for those with autism
- Soothes ear discomfort
- Soothes minor skin irritations
- Supports regain/increase of sense of smell
- Soothes migraines and dizziness
- Supports mental energy and focus, memory retention and retrieval
- Supports gastrointestinal health and function; soothes nausea and cramping
- Soothes symptoms of gout and rheumatism
- Soothes symptoms of PMS and menstrual issues
- Soothes muscle spasms and inflammation
- Assists with clear breathing
- Supports moderate cases of type 2 diabetes
- Supports healthy blood flow
- Combined with Clove and Tea Tree essential oils and water, can be used as a mouthwash for clean teeth and oral health
FOR YOUR EMOTIONS
Basil essential oil is known as the Oil of Renewal and is particularly effective at supporting the body and emotions to recover from the effects of adrenal exhaustion: fatigue, low energy, feelings of overwhelm, and inability to cope with life stressors. It is also excellent for support in recovery from feelings of nervousness, anxiousness, despair, and mental fogginess. When the adrenals are strengthened and functioning well, the body is able to return to optimal natural levels of sleep, activity, and rest. Basil oil is also very helpful to those wanting to recover from negative habits.
If you make your own “pure-fumes” and other aromatic products, Basil blends well aromatically with bergamot, clary sage, cypress, geranium, grapefruit, helichrysum, lavender, lemongrass, marjoram, orange, peppermint, red mandarin, white fir, and wintergreen. It will act as an energizer and equalizer in your home blends and can be used for 20-80% of each blend depending on whether you are using it as a top note or middle note. The scent is herbaceous, spicy, anise-like, camphorous, and lively. This is an aroma that is intense and immediately recognizable.
GARDENING AND PESTS
- Diffuse or spray around doors and windowsills to deter flies and insects
- Mix with a pure carrier oil and use to soothe bug, snake, and spider bites
- Mix with water and spray on leaves or place a few drops in watering can to add to roots (especially tomatoes and roses) – this has the effect of companion planting to strengthen the plants and keep pests away
Basil may cause skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children, and do not give to children under six for internal use. If you are pregnant, nursing, or ill, use with moderate dilution (heavy dilution for topical use if pregnant) and consult with a physician for any concerns.
For internal use, take a drop or two in a large glass of water. You can also take a drop in a spoonful of honey or in 1/2 cup of diary or non-dairy milk.
Finding Brightness diffuser blend (great for kids as well as adults)
- 5 drops Rosemary
- 6 drops Cypress
- 5 drops Basil
I find the taste of Basil to be heavenly, the aroma to be incredibly soothing and refreshing, and the effect on skin to be almost magical. If you are new to thinking about having Basil ON your body, try diffusing it first – either alone or blended with one or more of the companion oils suggested above. That will get you used to the aroma, and your body will learn to love it as you experience its benefits. Believe me, Basil is the natural solution for soooooo much more than 5-star tomato sauce!
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