Basil or Ocimum Basilcum (Botanical Name), is in use for its therapeutic effects for as long as 5000 years. Ayurveda being its number one advocate. In ancient scriptures of India, Egypt and Greeks basil is mentioned several times to treat conditions fever, lungs issues and antibacterial properties. On suggestion of an Aromatherapist friend Stephanie, I once used basil oil in diffuser as decongestant and it worked. It made me curious on what else it has to offer so I decided to geek out and find all evidence based information so that I can use basil oil for wellness for my family.
I am jotting down all the benefits of basil essential oil with findings of scientific studies conducted by professionals.
But before that here is an introduction to uninitiated.
Basil Essential Oil : An Introduction
Basil comes in more than 1o varieties and 7 chemotypes. Its chemical composition and properties are dependent on growing conditions and method used to extract the oil out of plant. These chemotype are:
- Ocimum Basilcum CT linol
- Ocimum Basilcum CT fenchol
- Ocimum basilcum CT euegnol
- Ocimum basilcum CT chavicol
H0w basil oil is extracted
Basil oil is mostly extracted using steam distillation method and leaves, flowers and buds are used as a plant part to obtain oil from. Like most other essential oils basil oil is volatile in nature and is transparent in color.
Evidence Based Benefits of Basil Essential Oil
Here is what I found
Basil oil has antibacterial properties that can help you with infections like:
- Abdominal Cavity
- Respiratory tract
- Urinary Tract
- Skin infections
- Infections acquired with Hospital equipments
Basil oil was clinically tested in 2013 study by Medical University of Lodz, Poland on patients with above mentioned infections. The study concluded that basil oil is very active against bacteria.
Is an Excellent Disinfectant
Antimicrobial Properties makes basil essential oil and excellent cleaning ingredient. In a 2015 study by Ubon Ratchathani University, Basil oil and 8 other essential oils were tested against (Salmonella enteritidis) bacteria that is responsible for causing fevers, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. The study concluded that basil oil was the best performer active against microbes and can be used as a disinfectant. (2)
You can use basil oil to clean things like:
- Kitchen slabs
- Keyboards/Mice, Tv Remotes, Car Keys etc. (According to a university in Australia These things contain more bacteria than a toilet seat)
Can reduce Hypertension
A google scholar conducted a study to find about naturally occurring calcium channel blockers. He discovered that eugenol found in basil oil (40% to 50%) works as calcium channel blocker and has an antihypertensive effect.
Eugenol can reduce SYS/DIA and Mean Blood pressure. Participants of this study were given median dose of 30 mg per kg of their body weight to test the effects. Eugenol shows its effect by blocking the calcium channels of blood vessels and increase the supply of blood and oxygen to heart. This process relaxes the heart hence reduces the blood pressure.
For those who don’t know, Calcium channel blockers are prescription medicines used to treat conditions like:
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Heart rhythm issues
Has Diuretic Properties
When we eat too much salt, our body retain the water we consume. It also affects the hormones that controls our thirst and decreases our fluid intake.
Water retention is responsible for:
- Swelling in feet and ankles
- Puffiness in body
- Knee and elbow pain
As a cure we are prescribed with diuretics such as bumetanide or torsemide. But the problem with these diuretics is that with water, they also expel essential minerals from our body. This is the reason we feel dizzy and weak after taking diuretic.
Basil on the other hand works by eliminating water without losing minerals. This is the main reason behind basil being used in weight loss treatments. However, the weight we lose by using diuretics is short lived if we don’t fix our diet.
This goes without saying that anything that has antioxidant properties is good for us. Our body is constantly exposed to oxidants. Here is a video by National Jewish health explaining how oxidants sabotage our health.
So, It is a good idea to supplement our body with antioxidants on top of those that our body produces. And as we grow older antioxidant production reduces.
Coming back to the basil.
In 2014, Institute of Biotechnology, Iran organized a research to study the chemical composition and medicinal properties of basil oil. They discovered that basil oil can work as moderate antioxidant and help us in detoxification for our body.
To be cont..