Basil essential oil (Ocimum basilicum) is "a fragrance of reality—the reality of physical existence and the reality of spiritual existence," states aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood in Aromatherapy For the Soul. She goes on to say the emotional benefits of basil are to encourage positivity, purposefulness, concentration, decisiveness, assertiveness, trust, enthusiasm, clarity, and strength.
At least 60 varieties of Ocimum basilicum exist. "The variety of species, subspecies, and chemotypes of basil offer us virtually the entire arsenal of aromatic substances," according to Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy.
Basil comes in five chemotypes:
This profile applies to the linalool chemotype of basil (Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool), also called sweet or French basil. It's probably the most common chemotype of basil used in aromatherapy.
The Indian herb tulsi, also known as holy basil, is a different species—Ocimum sanctum or Ocimum tenuiflorum. Holy basil shares some properties with sweet basil but also has different properties.
Plant family: Lamiaceae/Labiatae
Production: Steam distilled from the leaves and flowers/buds.
Aroma: Sweet, herbaceous, warm, rich, sharp.
Perfume/Aromatic note: Middle to top
Is basil safe to use during pregnancy? No.
Is basil essential oil safe for children? Some sources recommend not using with children under age 2.
Cautions: In large amounts, basil essential can be overstimulating.
Main components of the linalool chemotype of basil:
Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed.
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art: The scent of basil relieves headaches, sinus congestion, and head colds. Also helpful for indigestion, arthritis, sore muscles, and oily skin/hair. Emotionally, basil is uplifting and helps relieve lack of confidence, indecisiveness, negative thoughts, stress, depression, fear, anger, and mental fatigue.
The Heart of Aromatherapy: Use basil ct. linalool in blends for focus and relaxation, respiratory support, calming skin inflammation, soothing sore muscles, easing joint pain, clearing mucous and congestion, relieving headaches, and supporting digestion.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Sweet basil may help relieve muscle spasms and contractions, rheumatism, digestive problems, nausea, flatulence, menstrual cramps, headaches, migraines, tension, stress, and physical and mental exhaustion.
The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition): Uses of basil essential oil include relieving insect bites and as an insect repellent. The essential oil may help relieve gout, muscle aches and pains, coughs, flatulence, nausea, menstrual cramps, colds, and flu.
Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics, Volume 2: Basil ct. linalool is useful for hypotonic/weak conditions and congestive/damp conditions involving fatigue, headache, and irritability. (The book has a full profile of basil ct. methylchavicol.)
The Essential Guide to Aromatherapy and Vibrational Healing: Spiritually, basil helps you remember spiritual abundance and awakens your connection to angels and spirit guides. The essential oil improves mental clarity and memory and promotes courage and confidence.
Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques: Basil brings in positive energy and strengthens. Especially useful for the sixth chakra to clear the mind and improve ability to concentrate and make calm decisions.
Mixing Essential Oils for Magic: Basil supports divination skills and is important in developing psychic abilities. Use the oil to attract love, banish negativity, and ease sorrow.
Source: Dr. Axe 101 Ways To Use Essential Oils
Soothe Insect Bites and Stings
In a small glass container, mix:
Apply a small amount of the blend to the bite or sting, as needed.
Source: Rocky Mountain Oils
Gardener’s Hand Scrub
Adapted from Aromahead
Inhaler For Stomach Upset
This recipe can help ease an upset stomach and a headache at the same time.
Other Basil Uses
Aromatherapy diffuser blends from The Healing Art of Essential Oils:
The book also suggests: