We love basil and it’s a staple in our kitchens. From pesto and margharetia pizza to a tomato and mozzarella salad, we have countless ways of using the herb and benefiting from its glorious taste and smell. Less well known is the essential oil of basil, Ocimum basilicum, which, with its sweet and spicy aroma, takes its name from the Greek word for “king.” The basil plant was once so highly prized that it was considered king among plants, which is not so hard to believe given how it is prized as a culinary delight to this day.

Essential oil of basil has a long history in health and well-being

Although native to Asia, it has a strong history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is known as tulsi (from the species Ocimum sanctum) and used for snake bites, malaria and fever outbreaks. Pliny the Elder (23 AD – August 25, 79) was said to recommend it for epilepsy and jaundice. It was also widely used as an aphrodisiac. In the middle ages it was prescribed for melancholy and depression. With such a long history of used for various illness and complaints, it is not surprising that it is still used widely today.

In contemporary aromatherapy, it is used for a variety of day to day health complaints and to revitalize well-being across many body systems. It is a very useful oil to have in the home and at hand to uplift and revitalize.

Here the the top five reasons to use essential oil of basil to optimize health and well-being:

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Reason #1: Essential oil of basil makes an effective treatment for digestive health

Basil essential oil is carminative, meaning that it settles the digestive system and expels gas from the intestines. It is useful for digestive disorders ranging from indigestion, intestinal infections, gastric spasms, gastroenteritis and dyspepsia to nausea, vomiting and hiccups. It’s therefore a great essential oil to have while traveling, especially through Asia, South and Central America and Africa if you’re a westerner with a sensitive belly.

Reason #2: Essential oil of basil is one of the finest remedies for the brain and head

As a cephalic, it is renowned for its positive affect on the nervous system, clearing the head, relieving intellectual fatigue and giving the mind both strength and clarity. It is protecting in cases of nervous exhaustion and feelings of vulnerability.

It is a superb brain stimulant. It can be used during study or intense work when focus and concentration is needed and when you need to boost and enhance your memory. This is the oil to reach for when you have a paper due at 9am and you’re still only half way through at 3am.

It is also very calming, acting as a sedative for insomnia for those who worry during the night. It’s great for relieving headaches causes by neck and shoulder tension.

Reason #3: Essential oil of basil provide relief for respiratory complaints

Basil’s antispasmodic property has a beneficial action on the respiratory system. It is an expectorant (expels mucus), effective in providing relief for chest infections, sinusitis, colds, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, flu and whooping cough. It is also helpful in restoring sense of smell lost through coughing, colds and allergies.

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Reason #4: Essential oil of basil is a tonic for the reproductive system

Basil essential oil is an emmenagogue, meaning that it promotes and regulates menstrual flow. It is therefore effective for bringing on delayed menstruation, scanty periods and abdominal cramps.

Reason #5: Essential oil of basil is an effective in skincare preparations

Basil essential oil can be used in low dilutions to improve the tone and appearance of the skin

Five reasons to use essential oil of basil for health and well-being

Basil essential oil is effective for problems and complaints of the digestive, nervous, respiratory, and reproductive systems, as well as being an effective ingredient in skincare preparations. It is a warming oil superb for mental and physical exhaustion. Its aroma is uplifting, awakening, clarifying and toning. Essential oil of basil is an essential oil for the home as it is effective at optimizing health and well-being.

Note: When using an oil burner or diffuser, it blends perfectly with eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, lavender, lemon, rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint and tea tree.