Basil Essential Oil is most commonly obtained from the Ocimum Basilicum (Methyl Chavicol) leaves & flowering tops. This plant is from the Lamiaceae (Labiatae) family. The aroma of Basil Essential Oil is described as sweet, warm, slightly spicy.
The Basil plant actually has many different variations and originates from Asia and the Pacific Islands. The plant typically has broad, oval-shaped pointed green leaves with purple-white flowers and grows around 16 inches.
The Oil is generally steam distilled and is produced in many countries, although European Basil Essential Oil is said to be of excellent, high quality. It is also produced in India, North Africa, Madagascar, Vietnam, the USA and many more countries!
Due to the Basil plants having such diverse scents, it has actually been suggested to classify them according to chemistry rather than botany.
Variations of Basil include:
Reunion Basil (O. Basilicum) – has a harsher, more herbal scent and is often used to flavour food and dental products. Contains little Linalol, but has 70-88% Methyl Chavicol which is a skin irritant so use with caution. East Indian Basil (O. Gratissimum) – This East Indian species has high percentages of Thymol or Eugenol.
Hairy Basil (O. Canum) – Originating from East Africa, this Basil is spicy because of its high content of Methyl Cinnamate and Camphor.
Basil Essential Oil tends to be very pale in colour – either a greenish or yellowish shade – or can have little to no colour at all. It is usually the leaves or flowering tops that are steam distilled to produce the oil, but seeds are also sometimes used. Each type of Basil Essential Oil has slightly differing aromas, but generally is an aroma similar to Aniseed; warm, rich and sharp.
The chief constituents of Basil Essential Oil are Linalool, Borneone, Camphor, Cineole, Methylchavicol, Eugenol, Ocimene, Pinene, Sylvestrene (Terpenes).
Always consult a medical practitioner or qualified aromatherapist when considering using Essential Oils topically, and always dilute with a carrier oil.
With natural antimicrobial properties, you can reach for Basil Essential Oil if you have suffered an insect bite. Add 2-3 drops of Basil Essential Oil to a carrier oil such as Grapeseed, Jojoba or Almond, and apply topically for minor skin irritations or itchiness caused by insect bites.
Basil Essential Oil is an analgesic and provides relief from pain. That is why this essential oil is often used in the treatment of arthritis, wounds, injuries, burns, bruises, scars, sports injuries, surgical recovery, sprains, and headaches. It can also be used to relieve cold symptoms via inhalation.
Basil Essential Oil can be used topically, when mixed with a carrier oil, and massaged into the skin. It enhances the luster of dull-looking skin and hair. It is often used in many skin care products that claim to improve the tone of your skin. It is also used to treat acne and other skin infections.
Due to the calming nature of Basil Essential Oil, it is widely used in aromatherapy. It has a refreshing effect when inhaled, so it is used for treating nervous tension, mental fatigue, melancholy, migraines, and depression. Regularly using this essential oil provides mental strength and clarity.
Basil Essential Oil can be used as a digestive tonic. Since basil oil has carminative properties, it is used for treating indigestion, constipation, stomach cramps, and flatulence. The effects can be immediate. It also has colic qualities and is therefore used to alleviate bowel pain.
Basil Essential Oil can be used as a chemical-free, household cleaning spray. Combine 2 cups water, 1 cup white vinegar, 20 drops of lemon essential oil, 15 drops of basil essential oil and add to a spray bottle. Mist over household surfaces before wiping clean with a wet cloth.