Karen Young from The Federation of Holistic Therapists examines the health benefits of basil:-
Most of us associate basil with a hearty bowl of spaghetti Bolognese, but outside of the kitchen, this humble herb has been used for centuries to treat a range of common ailments.
A native of Asia, basil has a long history of use in Ayurveda, the traditional health system of India, for the treatment of coughs, colds and other respiratory problems. It has also been used as a traditional remedy for digestive complaints such as flatulence, indigestion, nausea and stomach cramps.
In terms of boosting mental health, basil is said to have a positive action on the nervous system, helping to reduce mental fatigue, ease headaches and improve concentration.
In contrast to prescription drugs such as diazepam, a recent study even suggests that basil – including the essential oil – can help to reduce anxiety without any sedative side effects.
The great thing for me is, now that I am qualified in aromatherapy, my knowledge base has grown so much. Oils I hadn’t heard about or used or blended have surprised and delighted me (and I am sure will continue to do so).
One of these such oils is basil which has been a total surprise. If I get up in the morning and my head needs “clearing” (no I’d not been on the wine!), I’ve slept badly, got a busy day ahead or need to concentrate (excellent when studying) or just want to feel more “awake” I mix:-
Rosemary – for mental fatigue, stress, stimulates circulation (*see Precautions)
Basil – for mental clarity, anxiety, helpful for depression (*see Precautions)
Lemon – to lift the spirits, invigorates and revives
Please note, never use essential oil/s undiluted or consume or ingest internally. It is advisable not to use Rosemary after lunch as it can be too stimulating.
Do NOT use Rosemary or Basil if pregnant or lactating, have high blood pressure or epilepsy. Not suitable for children.
Do NOT use lemon before sunbathing.
Always consult your GP or Health Practitioner if unsure before using any aromatherapy oils.
Julia Lawless says of basil in The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils:-
“Oil of Basil is an excellent, indeed perhaps the best, aromatic nerve tonic. It clears the head, relieves intellectual fatigue, and gives the mind strength and clarity.”
Basil is an antiseptic and especially good for spots. Something I didn’t realise, as usually its tea tree that would be the usual go to on the occasion that one appears! However, a drop on a cotton bud applied direct to the spot clears it up in no time.
Basil, as many of us know, tastes wonderful in cooking, but Basil oil is also a good source of Vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium.
Basically, it’s pretty damn good!
Thanks for reading. Until next time.