Everybody loves basil in food, from the Thais to the Italians, and who doesn’t like Thai or Italian cuisine? I have grown to like this aromatic herb in my food and cooking, and even have a few thriving basil plants on my balcony, which all came from a single plant I bought from a nursery 8 years ago. We always have more than enough for our Thai spicy basil minced meat stir-fry, homemade Italian pesto for pasta or as a sandwich spread, or for garnishing Vietnamese beef noodles. I didn’t know that Basil essential oil, steam-distilled from the leaves, stems and flowers, is a powerful antispasmodic, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant.
Basil was used extensively in traditional Asian Indian medicine. In the 16th century, the powdered leaves were inhaled to treat migraines and chest infections. The Hindu people put basil sprigs on the chests of the dead to protect them from evil spirits. Italian women wore basil to attract possible suitors. It was listed in Hildegard’s Medicine, a compilation of early German medicines by highly regarded Benedictine herbalist Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179).
Essential Oils Desk Reference, Sixth Edition
When inhaled, Basil fights mental fatigue and that’s why it’s in the blend Clarity (a post on Clarity will definitely be up sometime in the future).
Basil is one of the oils in the Young Living Raindrop Technique (RDT), which is one of the safest, non-invasive regimens available for spinal health and an invaluable method to promote healing from within using topically-applied essential oils. I was first introduced to the Basil essential oil through RDT.
I didn’t use Basil much on its own topically, but added it to homemade salad dressing – crushed garlic in extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar. A little drop goes a long way! The safe way (not that it will hurt anyone but just so that the basil is not overpowering in the dressing) to add in the Basil essential oil is to dip a toothpick into the bottle to pick up less than a drop of the oil, dip it into the dressing, taste the dressing and repeat the steps as needed till you get the desired amount of Basil in the dressing. This is the recommended method for adding essential oils to your recipes, especially for the first time.
At a RDT class recently, conducted by Kai Tan, a Diamond leader in Young Living, she talked about each oil used in the RDT and explained their uses. She mentioned that Basil was a good oil for muscle-related aches, pain and injuries. That night, I used it on my husband who had been nursing a recurring shoulder injury. He had strained it while lifting our son’s small Optimist boat and never really allowed it to heal completely before straining it again, almost every weekend, lifting the boat or swinging the kids around. Various essential oils have helped relieve the pain but the pain would come back every couple of days. I know, the solution is to stop him from straining the shoulder again but how do you stop a man from carrying heavy loads? Maybe I should tie his arm down. Anyway, the Basil improved his condition noticeably. I layered it with Copaiba to amplify the effects and also to address any inflammation. It helps that he likes the smell of Basil and doesn’t mind putting it on in the morning before going to work.
I’m going to try adding it to my homemade pesto for the extra oomph and of course for its antiviral and antibacterial effects!