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Basil (Ocimum basilicum) was considered by the Greeks to be a regal plant – the Greek word for Basil is actually King! It is also valued and widely used in traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine. The essential oil is extracted from the leaves by steam distillation. The oil can be clear or pale yellow, and is very therapeutic. There are many varieties of basil, but French basil is the most commonly used in aromatherapy. This uplifting and refreshing oil has a strong spicy-sweet aroma that is often most appealing in a blend with other oils. It blends well many oils, for example: - Bergamot - Cedarwood - Citronella - Clary Sage - Eucalyptus - Geranium - Juniper - Lavender - Lemon - Lime - Rosemary - Tea Tree Basil is known for its stimulating and antidepressant properties. It relieves mental fatigue, clears the mind, and improves concentration. It is expectorant and antiseptic, used for all types of chest infections, also excellent in the treatment of congested sinuses, chronic colds, head colds, and whooping cough. The antispasmodic and carminative properties of basil help to relieve abdominal pains, indigestion, and vomiting. It works really well on tired muscle, especially in a massage oil used after hard physical work or strenuous exercise; it also eases arthritis and gout. It is reputed to be one of the best nerve tonics among all essential oils. On a lighter note is good for the treatment of hair loss hiccups and herpes! As a suffer of migraine, I am a frequently user of Basil essential oil. I find that for best relief, mix three drops of basil with four drops of lavender and three drops of peppermint essential oil to a vaporiser. Drawer the curtains and lay in the dark and inhale the aroma deeply. You will find that this is one of the best ways to help relieve the symptoms of migraine. It should be no ted that Basil essential oil should not be used by pregnant women, babies, young children or those suffering from chronic illnesses or epilepsy. Basil essential oil is not too expensive, around £5 for a 10ml bottle, depending on supplier, therefore, if you are a sufferer of migraine, I would highly recommend that you keep a bottle in your medicine cupboard.
Before I start I just need to clear up a common misunderstanding about Basil Oil. The term Basil Oil is often used to refer to virgin olive oil which is infused with basil leaves to make it aromatic. This is used in cooking. The basil oil used in aromatherpy is obtained from entire above ground part of the plant (ocimum basilicum) by steam distillation and is a different thing. The aroma of this essential oil is spicey and fresh. It has a slightly balsamic tang to it and is grown commercialy in many different countries including Bulgaria. It is used in perfumes, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, soap, medicine and fruit and will keep for up to three years from the manufacturing date, if its kept in a cool, dark place. Uses +++++ Basil is a good tonic for the nerves. It also seems to lift depression. Can help headaches and relieve fainting spells. Use to treat nasal polyps and earache. Has an affect on the adrenal cortex so may help to relief allergies. Use in sinus trouble, asthma, bronchitis. Has an anti-septic action and may help with stomach upsets. Use for wasp and other insect bites. Can relieve gout as it reduces the uric acid levels in the blood. Can aid in treatment of acne and makes an excellent skin tonic. How to use: +++++++++++ Place in a difuser for inhalation or add a few drops to a carrier oil and use in the bath. Add 3 drops to 10 mils of carrier oil (almond or grapeseed) and use for massage. Make into a compress. Warning: ++++++++ Do not use during pregnancy Over use of this oil has a stupefying effect. If you have sensitive skin test this oil on a small patch of skin first. The easiest way to do this is to out a drop on the underside of your arm and cover with a large plaster. If you get a skin reactionit will usually appear within 24 hours. Verdict: ++++++++ I have found this oil very effective in treating insect bits. Just one drop rubbed on the bite takes the itch and sting away from it. It is also very good used as a skin tonic. It leaves the face feeling clean and tingly. Be careful if you have sensitive skin though and always test first. I have skin that reacts to lots of things but it basil essential oil didn't affect it. Perhaps my favourite way of using this oil is to use it in a diffuser. The aroma is totally relaxing. (A couple of drops in a warm bath works well too.)
I love Basil, especially with the right food! However, I would stay away from this oil if you are unsure about Aromatherapy as it is very potent and should only be used by the smallest of quantities. It’s got a sweet-spicy smell and is said to be yet another aphrodisiac. Whether I believe that is another story. It is more commonly used as an alternative medicine for tiredness, headaches and poor circulation. Personally, it is much easier to grown some basil in your garden, then pluck the leaves and simmer them in your oil burner, it does have nearly the same effect and you can save your money!