Basil essential oil is derived from the leaves of the basil plant, a popular herb used widely in Italian cooking. It has a sweet and fresh herbaceous aroma and is known for its energizing and calming properties. As it has grown in popularity over the years, basil essential oil can now be found in many hair and body care products, and even toothpaste.
A member of the mint family, basil is a leafy green herb that thrives in warmer, temperate climates. It has tender, glossy, oval-shaped leaves and can grow from 1 to 5 feet tall. Derived from the Latin word, basilius, meaning royal plant, basil is considered the queen of herbs. There are many varieties of basil, including Thai basil, sweet basil, holy basil, and African blue basil to name a few. The round, oval-shaped leaves of the basil plant are picked and used fresh or dry to flavor sauces, meats, and pizza — and steam distilled to create essential oil.
Method of Extraction
Basil essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the basil plant using steam distillation. Steam distillation is one of the most popular forms of extraction that uses steam to vaporize the volatile compounds found within the basil plant. The result is a 100% pure essential oil.
Traditional Uses of Basil
Basil has been used for centuries by many cultures. Ancient Egyptians and Greeks would bury their dead with basil as it was believed to provide protection on the journey to the afterlife. In Judaism, basil has been used during times of fasting for strength. Beyond religious and spiritual ceremonies, basil has been widely used in the culinary world and is a mainstay in Italian cuisine. And as an essential oil, it’s touted for its uplifting and soothing abilities on the mind and body.
Benefits of Basil Essential Oil
Skin, Hair, and Body Care Support
Basil is a fantastic essential oil to add to your skincare routine and can be applied to your face and body when combined with a carrier oil. It is known to balance the skin’s natural oil levels, even skin tone, and calm irritation and itchiness. It can also be used to soothe minor cuts and scrapes. When used on hair, basil essential oil can help cleanse the scalp and prevent split ends.
Both calming and energizing, basil essential oil is ideal for easing a worried mind and awakening the senses. It can also be used to promote concentration and focus when you’re feeling overwhelmed or tired.
How to use Basil Essential Oil
For the Skin
Before using on skin be sure to combine with a carrier oil such as jojoba or argan oil.
- Mix 3 drops of basil essential oil and 1/2 tablespoon of jojoba oil and use it on your face to prevent breakouts and even skin tone.
- Mix 4 drops of basil essential oil with 1 teaspoon of honey and add to a hot bath to help soothe dry, irritated or itchy skin.
- Combine 3 drops of basil essential oil with ½ teaspoon of coconut oil and use on minor cuts, scrapes, and bug bites.
For the Hair
- Mix 3 drops of basil essential oil and 2 tablespoons of argan oil and massage into your scalp to cleanse and remove dandruff and dirt.
- Add 5 drops of basil essential oil to 1 tablespoon of conditioner and wash hair to promote shine and prevent split ends.
For Improving Your Environment
- Add 6 drops of basil essential oil and 3 drops of citronella oil to an 8oz spray bottle, fill with water, and spritz outdoor spaces to repel mosquitoes.
- Add 2 drops of basil essential oil and 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to your diffuser along with water (as directed) to promote easy breathing and deep relaxation.
- Add 4 drops of basil essential oil and 4 drops of lavender essential oil to a small spray bottle, fill with water, and spritz your living room or bedroom to eliminate bad odors and freshen the space.
How to Safely Use Basil Essential Oil
Overall, basil essential oil is generally considered safe. However, it should only be used externally and not ingested. Additionally, pregnant or nursing women should avoid using basil essential oil. As with any essential oil, basil essential oil should be diluted and combined with carrier oil before using on the skin. To prevent an adverse reaction, you should do a patch test beforehand to make sure your skin isn’t sensitive. Take a look at this article for more essential oil safety tips.
With a fresh herbaceous scent and many benefits for the mind and body, basil essential oil is an ideal choice for those looking to expand their essential oil toolkit. It blends well with citrus, spicy, and floral varieties, like lemon, ginger, or black pepper essential oil. To learn more about ancient essential oils, take a look at this article: What Is Turmeric Essential Oil & How to Use It.