People who want to grow their own herbs often start with basil. A member of the mint family, basil is a hearty plant that grows like crazy, smells great, and adds a warm yet sweet freshness to food.
Basil is almost synonymous with Italian food despite its origins in the Middle East and southeast Asia. Once Mediterranean-style food made its way east, Indian and Middle Eastern cultures also began the culinary use of basil. Before then, its uses were strictly medicinal, and its benefits can be seen from the inside out.
Benefits of Basil Essential Oil
Basil oil is often used in commercial products that claim to improve skin tone and add luster to hair. It is also used topically, either massaged into the skin or used for fighting symptoms of acne or other skin infections.
Basil is said to have antibacterial and antifungal properties that could be active against foodborne bacteria, yeasts, and mold. It is believed to have demonstrated antioxidant effects that could fight chronic infections, including bronchitis and respiratory illnesses. Basil is thought to contribute to stopping infections of the lungs and respiratory tract, so may be useful against coughing and lung inflammation and pain. It is a strong antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties, so it may also benefit heart health, aid stress relief, and prevent the formation of cancerous cells.
Among other benefits, basil oil may:
- Aid digestion
- Improve blood circulation
- Relieve tension
- Repel insects
- Fight depression
Versatile Basil Oil
Basil essential oil has versatile uses. It can be used aromatically with a diffuser, topically as part of a massage oil blend, or internally as part of a recipe. Essential oils are concentrated forms of a plant’s oil, so talk to your doctor or a qualified professional before using basil oil.