Basil – More Than a Kitchen Plant
A universally known fact is that aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from plants. One of the most commonly used essential oil in aromatherapy is Basil. Basil got its name from the Greek word “basileus,” meaning “king.” Therefore, it was considered “king among plants” as it was one of the ingredients on the list of oils blended to massage kings.
Basil is an essential herb as its uses are two-fold, for cooking and curing various ailments. The herb covers and offers a plethora of medical benefits. If added too early while cooking, it loses its flavor; hence the Basil should use as soon as it is plucked from the plant. It ought to be counted 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 relieves sore gums, ulcers, chest infections, and digestive problems. In addition, it has been used as a brain stimulant and antispasmodic, making it excellent in treating bronchitis and whooping cough.
Basil is said to have uplifting and refreshing properties. For example, 2-3 drops of basil oil relieve mental fatigue, tension, stress, mild anxiety, loss of appetite, flatulence, nausea, sinusitis, cold, fever, earaches, and eases rheumatic and 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 own a potted basil plant on the windowsill, it will deter flies from entering your home.
When mixed with massage oil and gently rubbed over the stomach, Basil oil helps to ease many types of digestive problems. However, Basil should be used sparingly on the skin as it could irritate. 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.
Women should NOT use it during pregnancy. Basil helps with depression, increases alertness, aids concentration, and relieves headaches, head congestion, and migraines. In addition, Basil regulates the menstrual cycle and reduces menstrual cramps. The herb blends well with rosemary, lavender, bergamot, clary sage, geranium, and citrus oils.