Basil oil Health Benefits, Uses, Quality & Best Products Compared

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 5:42 min

Basil oil is obtained from the Basil shrub - also known as king herb. It is famous for its culinary use, but is also common in medical and cosmetic treatments. Its fragrance is sweet, spicy and slightly reminiscent of anise.

Name Basil
Lat. Name Ocimum basilicum, Ocimum minimum
Synonyms Basil, King herb
Origin Nordwest India, Egypt
Price per 10ml 4,50
our recommendation
Teebaumöl from

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Psychological impact

Basil oil is known to calm the nerves. Its aroma reduces stress and balances the mood. Basil’s effect is through the production of the body's own anti-stress hormones. It generally elevates the mood, and even works against depression. Basil oil may also be able to promote memory.

Physical effect

Basil oil is a highly valuable, natural substance that has many positive effects on general health. Basil has been one of the most important medicinal plants in traditional Indian Ayurveda medicine for thousands of years. Some of its effects are described and explained below.

Improved digestion

Basil oil also increases blood flow to the stomach wall, which stimulates gastric juice production. Increase in gastric juice allows food to be quickly broken down. Additionally, nutrients are more efficiently transferred to the bloodstream.

Irregular menstrual cycle

Basil oil is one of the few essential oils that promotes formation of the exact hormones controlling the a woman's period. The oil can prevent delays, weak periods, and even absent periods.

Cough and bronchitis

Basil oil is a strong expectorant. This property is therapeutic for colds and a strong cough. The bronchi are stimulated by the oil to liquefy the mucus in the lungs. It makes it easier to cough up and remove mucous build-up. The antibacterial effects of the oil also fight the bacteria that can worsen the cold.

Arthritis

Arthritis may be caused by excessive uric acid in the blood. This is a common disease - gout - which manifests with severe pain and swelling of the joints. Crystallized uric acid, deposits itself in-between the joints, causing inflammation. Basil oil promotes circulation to the kidneys, which are responsible for the excretion of uric acid. They are stimulated to increase their activity, and to remove uric acid from the blood. With a drop in uric acid levels symptoms of arthritis are alleviated. 

Furthermore, the oil also has strong analgesic properties. This further alleviates the pain of existing arthritis.

Detoxification

Due to basil’s stimulating effect on the kidneys, the organs function better. The kidneys play a central role when it comes to removing toxins from the body. Basil oil increases the blood flow to the kidneys. This allows them to remove more toxins, and provides them with an increased supply of nutrients.

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Bowel problems and diarrhoea

The most common cause of intestinal problems is the unhindered growth of bad bacteria. They disrupt the digestive process in the intestine. Often, diarrhoea, cramping and abdominal pain ensue. Basil oil’s antibacterial effect inhibits the growth of these bacteria. The oil is also a muscle relaxant, which counteracts abdominal cramps. These cramps are symptoms of an unhappy gut. Certain ingredients in basil oil prevent cramping of the peripheral intestinal muscles.

Acne and other inflammatory skin diseases

Basil oil has several positive effects on our skin. It promotes blood flow, which allows for cell renewal and rejuvenates skin. However, anti-inflammatory properties of basil oil are particularly important. This effect was demonstrated in a study by Dr. Rüben. Basil oil’s antibiotic properties make it ideally suited for skin diseases such as acne and blackheads. The oil also has an excellent effect against severe inflammation, such as eczema.

Migraines and headaches

The analgesic properties of the oil help to reduce headaches. The oil will not completely subdue migraines, but it can very well alleviate the numbing pain. Especially for everyday headaches, the pain-relieving effects of basil oil are ideal.

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Side effects

The main ingredient causing side effects in basil oil is tarragol. Estragol is said to cause nausea, dizziness and even fainting at very high doses. A carcinogenic effect of this substance is also being investigated.

Applications

Basil oil is a wonderful fragrance oil. Heat the oil in a diffuser or fragrance lamp, to enjoy its calming effects. For aromatherapy, you can use it in its pure form. To apply the oil to your skin dilute the oil. Like most essential oils, Basil oil irritates to the skin. Simply mix 3 drops of basil oil with 10 ml of a suitable carrier oil, such as apricot oil. For oral intake, mix it with honey so as to mask the bitter taste

Manufacturing

Basil oil is extracted from the plant using steam distillation. The whole plant is used for this process. About 60 kg of basil will produce 1 Litre of pure oil.

Ingredients

The most important biologically active ingredients in basil oil are:

  • Eugenol
  • Estragol
  • Linaool
  • 1,8-cineole

Chemotypes of basil

Chemotypes are plants within one species, but with a differing chemical composition. These differences are due to different growth conditions such as location, sun exposure and weather conditions. There are 2 essentially different Basil chemotypes:

Ocimum basilicum L. subsp. Basilicum. This species is endemic to Europe and characterized by a high linalool content. Ocimum basilicum subsp. minimum L. This Asian variant is characterized by a high tarragol content. This chemotype is not very suitable for therapeutic applications - estragol can have strong side effects.

History

The King herb originated in India, where basil is still one of the central medicinal herbs in Ayurvedic therapy. Findings in the pyramids showed that the plant was also central in traditional Egyptian culture. The basil herb finally found its way to Rome through ancient Egypt. 

Basil is still one of the most important and classical Italian spices. In fact, it is one of the three main ingredients of the world-famous Pizza Margherita! Created in Naples on the occasion of Queen Marghareta's birthday, the pizza reflects the three colours of the Italian flag.

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Botany

Basil is a medium-sized plant that can grow to heights of up to 90 cm. Due to artificial cultivation and especially because of its culinary use, it is now widespread globally. There are 2 different types of basil. Ocimum basilicum is mainly native to Europe while Ocimum minimum is endemic to Asia and Africa. There are also numerous subspecies that differ in leaf shape and color. The '' Opal '' variety, for example, has an intense red colour.

Cultivation

Basil is mainly grown in subtropical, tropical and temperate latitudes. The plant loves heat and only thrives in soil temperature of minimum 12 degrees Celsius. Below this temperature, basil is very susceptible to fungal and pest infestation. The plant blooms between July and September. Both bundled goods and potted plants are available on the market. Basil prefers slightly alkaline and sandy soils.

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