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Home Page > Essential Oil Profiles > Basil Essential Oil

Basil Essential Oil

Basill Essential Oil ProfileBasil Essential Oil is amongst the oils that I immediately think of when I want an oil that can help stimulate my mind and allow me to focus on the task at hand. Basil Oil is an energizing oil and is best used during the morning and daytime hours.

Basil Essential Oil tends to be one of the first oils that I select when I have a cold. It is considered anti-bacterial/anti-viral, it acts as an expectorant and it also helps keep me alert. Basil Oil is also said to help with headaches, though it's not one I commonly use for that purpose.

The chemical composition of Basil Essential Oil can vary greatly between varities, batches and suppliers. Ideally, look for Basil Essential Oil that has a a significant percentage of Linalool and that is weak in Methyl Chavicol (Estragole), a suspected carcinogen. Basil Oils that are higher in Linalool tend to have a more appealing aroma. Additionally, Linalool is said to act as an insect repellent.

Though I love Basil, I rarely use it alone. Instead I typically enjoy the most benefit from it as a part of a synergistic blend. But beware... Basil can easily dominate a blend. Go easy on the ratio of Basil Oil that you add to blends until you are more familiar with working with it, and be sure to heed all safety precautions.

Basil Oil
Basil Oil

Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum

Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled

Part Typically Used: Leaves and Flowers/Buds

Color: Clear

Consistency: Thin

Perfumery Note: Top

Strength of Initial Aroma: Medium

Aromatic Description: Sweet, herbaceous, licorice-like, slightly campherous.


Basil Oil Uses: Bronchitis, colds, coughs, exhaustion, flatulence, flu, gout, insect bites, insect repellent, muscle aches, rheumatism, sinusitis. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 58-67.]

Major Constituents:
Methyl chavicol
[Shirley Price, The Aromatherapy Workbook (Hammersmith, London: Thorsons, 1993), 54-5.]

Safety Information: Use Basil Oil sparingly and with caution. High doses may be carcinogenic especially for those basils that contain a significant amount of methyl chavicol (Eugenole). Tisserand and Young suggest a dermal maximum of 15% if the estragole content does not exceed 0.8%. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 208.]

Avoid Basil Oil during pregnancy. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 186.]

Important Notes: The essential oil information provided within the Essential Oil Properties & Profiles area is intended for educational purposes only. This data is not considered complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, oil color can vary based on harvesting, distillation and other factors. Profiles for several absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.

General Safety Information: Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and give children only the gentlest oils at extremely low doses. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

Cover Own Safety Profiles for 400 Essential Oils and 206 Constituents:
Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young

The second edition of Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young is a 784-page powerhouse of information that is invaluable to the serious aromatherapy student, aromatherapy practitioner, health care professional, and everyone seriously interested in understanding individual essential oils, their constituents, usage guidelines, safety precautions and contraindications.
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