Basil Essential Oil
Basil 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 Essential 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 varieties, 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.
Common Method of Extraction
Part Typically Used
Leaves and Flowers/Buds
Strength of Initial Aroma
Sweet, herbaceous, licorice-like, slightly camphorous.
Basil Essential 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.]
[Shirley Price, The Aromatherapy Workbook (Hammersmith, London: Thorsons, 1993), 54-55.]
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.]
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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. 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.
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