A universally known fact is that aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from plants. One of the most commonly used essential oil in aromatherapy is that of Basil.Basil got its name from the Greek word “basileum” meaning “king”. Considered as "king among plants" as it was one of the ingredients on the list of oils blended to massage kings.
Basil is an important herb as its uses are two-fold, for cooking as well as to cure a variety of ailments. The herb covers and offers a plethora of medical benefits. If added early while cooking, it loses its flavor; hence it should be used as soon as it is plucked from the plant. It ought be added towards the end of cooking. It exudes a warm, gentle unique flavor and fragrance in cooking.
The leaves of basil are steam-distilled to create oil. Medically, it provides relief to sore gums, ulcers, chest infections and digestive problems. It has been used as a brain stimulant and an antispasmodic, making it wonderful in the treatment of bronchitis and whooping cough.
Basil is said to have uplifting and refreshing properties. 2-3 drops of basil oil is known to relieve mental fatigue, tension, stress, mild anxiety, loss of appetite, flatulence, nausea, sinusitis, cold, fever, earaches, eases rheumatic, arthritic and muscular pains.
A potpourri of dried basil leaves and flowers creates a fragrant atmosphere wherever kept. It is also used as an insect repellent, as burned sprigs of basil drive away mosquitoes. If you keep a potted plant of basil on the windowsill, it will deter flies from entering your home.
Basil oil, when mixed with massage oil and gently rubbed over the stomach, helps to ease many types of digestive problems. Basil should be used sparingly on skin as it could cause irritation. If you want to add a few drops to your bath, dilute it with a carrier oil, or mix it with a skin cream or lotion.
It should NOT be used during pregnancy. Basil helps with depression, increases alertness, aids in concentration, relieves headaches, head congestion and migraines. Basil regulates the menstrual cycle and reduces menstrual cramps. The herb blends well with rosemary, lavender, bergamot, clary sage, geranium and citrus oils.
Sharon Hopkins manages aromatherapies sites like http://www.aromatherapies.net that provides information on aromatherapy essential oils. They concentrated extracts of plants and their roots, stems, flowers and fruits. Further they can be classified as carrier oils, massage oils, cooking and baking oils.
Photo Credit: James Barker