Scientifically known as Ocimum basilicum, basil is one of the most profoundly medicinal plants on the planet. It is a plant native to India and is found in several Asian and African countries . It is extracted by steam distillation of leaves of basil plant. The oil is a clear liquid of thin consistency and has medium strength aroma.
Why is the basil essential oil unique?
The health benefits of basil oil are obtained due to the presence of different nutrients such as Vitamin K which is present in maximum proportion. Other nutrients in the oil are iron, calcium, vitamin A, soluble fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. The oil contains zero calories. Water soluble flavonoids such as orientin and vicenin enhance the health benefits of basil oil .
Health Benefits of Basil Oil
Basil oil offers comprehensive health benefits for the body and mind owing to its many medicinal properties. Below given is a list of some of the most prominent and proven health benefits of basil oil.
Benefits against infections : Basil oil has very high anti-infectious and anti-septic properties, owing to which the oil provides enhanced protection against various kinds of infections. The oil is safe to be consumed. So, infections in internal organs can also be prevented with the use of basil oil . It is especially beneficial against chest infections. Basil is a known natural antibiotic and is used against various pathogenic bacteria. When used for cooking, basil oil ensures that any germs present in the food products being cooked are killed and the food becomes completely safe for consumption. The oil also gives a rich appetizing aroma .
Benefits for the mind and nerves : Basil is supposed to have neuro-regulatory benefits. It is used as a good remedy against depression, anxiety and different kinds of nerve related disorders. It stimulates nerves and acts as a neuro-tonic . The oil is also known to relax a confused mind and give clarity of thought. Its effects on the brain are also profound. Sympathetic nerves are stimulated and adrenal cortex is strengthened. It improves cerebrospinal health as well. It can be used as a remedy for problems such as paralysis and epilepsy, besides a wide range of psychological complaints . The oil is known to relieve mental fatigue when blended with black pepper oil. Basil oil strengthens the mind .
Benefits for women : Basil oil helps in easy menstruation. Women who have problems with irregular bleeding or very little bleeding can use the oil for regular flow. The oil also has antispasmodic properties which help in reliving cramps during menstruation .
Benefits to hair : Basil essential oil is beneficial for hair especially greasy hair. It helps in cleaning the scalp and keep the hair healthy.
Benefits for skin : The antiseptic, anti-infectious and antifungal properties of basil oil helps in reducing acne attacks. The oil can be directly applied with 10% dilution on the acne. It kills the bacteria present in acne and curbs the outbreak . The oil restores luster on skin and acts as a toner. It protects skin against infections.
Benefits for the respiratory system : Basil oil is effective against common respiratory infections such as bronchitis, flues, cold and cough. Inhaling the vapor emanating from hot water in which a few drops of basil oil has been mixed relieves chest congestion. The oil can be massaged on the chest to relieve congestion. It open blocked noses .
Benefits against bites : The high antiseptic properties of basil are used to prevent infections and spread of wounds caused by insect bites. The oil can be used on venomous bites as well .
Benefits on DNA : Basil oil is known to protect DNA from damage. The flavonoids present in the oil protect the body at cellular level. Two flavonoids that are especially beneficial are orientin and vicenin. These water soluble flavonoids protect the DNA and white blood cells. Cellular damage due to radiation or damage triggered by oxygen can be controlled with the use of basil oil .
Benefits against inflammation : Basil oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and it is used in almost every natural or herbal remedy against inflammation. It provides pain relief for people suffering from joints pain, rheumatism, arthritis and other aches of the musculoskeletal system. Basil oil is also excellent against migraine headaches. Inflammation in the bowel is also remedied with the use of basil oil. It is an effective natural analgesic for various pains and aches in the body .
Benefits for digestive system : Basil oil is a remedy for various problems of the digestive system such as flatulence, constipation, indigestion and stomach cramps. The oil helps against diarrhea as well . It is an excellent tonic for the digestive system. It is colic and relieves gas in the stomach.
Benefits against cancer : Basil oil has shown anti-cancer properties when tested in laboratories. The antioxidant properties on basil help in fighting free radicals, which are responsible for causing cancer . Although it cannot cure cancer, including the herb or oil in cooking and intake in other forms can prevent occurrence of cancer up to a large extent.
Benefits for the heart : Basil oil is rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, antioxidants, magnesium and other elements and minerals. All these properties help in promoting cardiovascular health. The antioxidant properties prevent oxidization of cholesterol and reduce pressure on the heart. Thickening of blood vessels is prevented, thus curbing stroke risks. The oil protects heart and blood vessels from attack by free radicals. Blood flow improves since blood vessels are healthy and relaxed. The heart beats rhythmically and problems such as irregular heartbeats and heart spasms are prevented .
Other benefits of Basil essential oil
In addition to the above mentioned health benefits of basil oil, nausea and vomiting in people suffering motion sickness can be prevented. The oil relieves problems of the eye and olfactory system. It can be used as an antiseptic on wounds, bruises and injuries. People who experience toothache can also obtain relief from the problem.
Precautions while using Basil essential oil
The oil should be used in 10% dilution. It should not be used by pregnant women and women who experience excessive menstrual bleeding. It might not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. People who suffer from liver ailments should also keep away from using the oil .
Basil is highly acclaimed medicinal plant. Basil essential oil is great for health and when properly used can be very beneficial for health.