Essential oils, also called volatile oils, are scented oils extracted from plants. Historically, they’ve been used in medicine, cosmetics, perfumes, food, and, more recently, aromatherapy. Essential oils are “essential” because they contain the “essence” of the plant, meaning the taste or odor.
Basil essential oil, derived from the Ocimum basilicum plant, is commonly used to enhance the flavor of many recipes today. However, its uses extend far beyond the culinary world. Today, basil essential oil (sometimes called “sweet basil oil”) is used to heal various wounds and infections, and as a calming agent to combat inflammation, reduce adrenal fatigue, and treat nerve and muscle conditions.
As a natural anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibiotic and diuretic, basil has been used in traditional Asian Indian medicine practices for years. In the 16th century, the leaves were used to treat migraines and chest infections. And centuries ago, Italian women wore basil to attract possible suitors.
- Antibacterial and Anti fungal
Basil oil has shown antimicrobial activity against a wide range of food borne bacteria, yeasts and mold. When researchers evaluated the effects of basil oil against six forms of bacteria and three strains of fungi, they found positive inhibition of all strains. You can use basil oil in your home to remove bacteria from kitchens and bathrooms, prevent contamination, and purify the air. Try diffusing or vaporizing basil oil or combining it with water in a spray bottle to rub down surfaces in your home.
- Cold and Flu Treatment
Since it helps detoxify the body of bacteria and viruses, while fighting inflammation, pain and fatigue, use basil oil when you feeling sick. Diffuse the oil throughout your home, add a one to two drops to a steam bath, or make a homemade vapor rub using eucalyptus oil and basil oil that can massaged into the chest to open up your nasal passages. It makes for a great natural cold remedy.
- Air Freshener
Bail is capable of eliminating odor-causing bacteria and mold from your home, car, appliances and furniture. In fact, the word basil is derived from the Greek sentence that means “to smell.” Traditionally in India, it’s been used for many culinary applications, including to eliminate odors and clean kitchen equipment. Run several drops through your kitchen appliances; combine it with baking soda to remove stains and bacteria from pots or pans; or spray it inside your toilet, shower and garbage cans.
- Flavor Enhancer
Basil oil can infuse plenty of recipes with its signature aroma and flavor. Add one to two drops to juices, smoothies, sauces or dressings in place of using fresh torn basil. In the process, you’ll make your kitchen smell great and reduce the risk for food contamination, too!
- Muscle Relaxant
Useful for healing fatigued or aching muscles, you can rub a few drops of basil essential oil along with coconut into painful, swollen muscles or joints. To further help relax tense areas and feel immediate relief, try soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts, lavender oil and basil oil.
- Ear Infection Remedy
Basil oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a natural ear infection remedy. Rubbing a combination of frankincense, coconut and basil essential oil behind the ears and at the bottoms of the feet can speed up the time it takes to recover from ear infections while also reducing pain and swelling.
- Homemade Toothpaste or Mouthwash
To remove bacteria and odor from your mouth, add several drops of pure basil oil to your mouthwash or toothpaste. This also helps protect your teeth and gums from toothaches, ulcers, sores and viral blisters.
- Energizer and Mood Enhancer
Inhaling basil can help restore mental alertness and fight fatigue since it’s naturally a stimulant that works on the nervous system and adrenal cortex. It’s beneficial for reducing symptoms like sluggishness, brain fog, sore muscles and poor moods that come along with adrenal fatigue or chronic fatigue. Diffuse basil essential oil throughout your home or inhale it directly from the bottle to naturally heal adrenal fatigue. You can dab several drops on your wrists, chest and back for an instant pick-me-up.
- Insect Repellent
Similarly to other essential oils, including citronella oil and thyme oil, the volatile oils found in basil can repel mosquitoes and prevent bug bites. To make a homemade bug spray or lotion, dilute several drops of basil essential oils with carrier oil and massage into skin or swollen bites as needed.
- Treatment for Urinary Tract Infections
Because basil oil is an antibacterial, antiviral and disinfectant, it helps detoxify the urinary and digestive tracts and can speed up the healing process for painful infections. That makes it an effective home remedy for bladder infections and UTIs.
- Acne Remedy
Because skin breakouts are mainly caused by built-up bacteria, excess oil and small areas of infections, basil oil can act like a home remedy for acne. Using a clean cotton ball, apply one to two drops of basil oil along with coconut or jojoba oil to the affected area once or twice daily.
- Digestive Booster
As a diuretic, basil oil helps increase production of urine, which can reduce water retention, uncomfortable bloating and digestive issues. It’s also an effective antispasmodic and can reduce cramps associated with illness, food sensitives causing stomach issues or PMS. Other people find it useful for helping to naturally relieve constipation, nausea and motion sickness. Pure basil oil can be taken internally by adding one to two drops to warm water or tea, or you can inhale it and massage it directly into painful areas such as the abdomen and lower back.
Basil oil is known to be uplifting and renewing, which makes it useful for lowering symptoms of anxiety, fear or nervousness. Used for aromatherapy for centuries to help people deal with racing thoughts and overwhelming feelings, you can burn basil oil at home to relax and unwind. This can also work quickly for natural headache relief. Massage one or two drops with a carrier oil into your feet or over your adrenals nightly.
- Hair Shine Treatment
To strip away excess grease or buildup on your hair while adding shine, add a drop or two of basil oil to your shampoo. You can also try mixing it with baking soda and apple cider vinegar to remove bacteria, grease and residue from hair naturally.