Pesto pasta, margarita pizza, thai curry... this herb is everywhere! And Sweet Basil gives us an essential oil that smells just like its parent plant and is used for a lot more than just flavoring foods.
Sweet Basil at a Glance:
Distillation method | steam distillation
Aroma | herbaceous with woody notes
Best areas it grows | India, Asia, US, Egypt, Mediterranean, Africa
Blends well with | Bergamot, Black Spruce, Blue Spruce, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Geranium, Lavender, Lemongrass, Lime, Sweet Marjoram, Neroli, Pine & Rosemary
Sweet vs Exotic
You've probably heard of the different types of basil plants (Thai basil, sweet basil, holy basil, Greek basil, Italian large leaf... and that's just a few of them!) - but when it comes to essential oils, there are two main types: Sweet Basil and Exotic Basil.
While both are technically basil essential oil, they each have different cautions worth being aware of before we get into uses.
Those delicious basil plants can either produce an oil high in linalool or high in Estragole (a.k.a methyl chavicol - different names for the same compound;) depending on the specific plant type and where it was grown. The key is the estragole, which is a carcinogen.
Find out the type of your Basil oil by checking the GCMS report!
Look for linalool and estragole/methyl chavicol levels to determine the type of Basil oil and how to use it!
The estragole chemotype is most commonly called Exotic Basil and contains large amounts (up to 86%) of estragole. This compound has caused liver cancer when fed to mice, but no tests have been done on its effect when used on human skin. Because of this, we chose Sweet Basil essential oil for our oil collection.
The linalool chemotype is called Sweet Basil and contains 45 - 70% linalool. Linalool might seem familiar if you've looked at gcms reports before; it's also a main ingredient in Lavender and Bergamot essential oils. Sweet Basil is safe for regular use when diluted and can be used undiluted in small amounts for short periods of time. It still contains traces of estragole, but these amounts are less than 1% and are easily detoxified by the body. But because of those trace amounts of estragole, Sweet Basil is not recommended for use during pregnancy or with children under 5 years.
Top 4 Uses
| Pain Relief
Specifically for muscle soreness and cramps and headaches! Sweet Basil is a strong pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties. These properties help soothe sore muscles, joints and nerves as well as headaches - you'll find it in our Headache Relief roller and Muscle Rub blend;). It also relaxes muscles and improves muscle tone, making it great for cramps, spasms and muscle recovery.
One group of researchers studied Sweet Basil essential oil and its effect on pain in mice. They found that it significantly reduced mechanical hyperalgesia (which is a type of heightened sensitivity to pain) in the mice and concluded that sweet basil essential oil could have analgesic effects on some chronic non-inflammatory pain like fibromyalgia.
| Mental Clarity
Interesting fact about Sweet Basil: it's both stimulating AND soothing! This might seem counter-productive, but it actually has a balancing effect on the mind.
It stimulates the mind, encourages mental clarity, and reduces burnout and fatigue by supporting the body's adrenal function.
One small study looked at a group of 14 individuals, each with self-assessed mental exhaustion or moderate burnout. They reported feeling less mentally exhausted and burned out after inhaling an aromatherapy blend of peppermint, basil and helichrysum 3x a day for 3 weeks.
So adding a few drops to your diffuser (or inhaling a few breaths from the bottle) could be a great way to help you stay focused and feel energized throughout the day!
| Digestion & Nausea
Now we come to the gut. And sweet basil essential oil does more than just help stimulate digestion!
It can help relieve stomach cramps, excess gas, soothe nausea and even help with ulcers. Traditionally, Basil has been used in Iran to help treat IBD (inflammatory bowl disease). Researchers explored this historical remedy by studying the effects of Sweet Basil essential oil on an acetic acid-induced colon inflammation (colitis) in rats. They gave different dosage levels to the rats and found that higher doses "significantly reduced ulcer severity, ulcer area, and ulcer index." Their results even suggested that Sweet Basil exhibited a protective effect against acetic acid-induced colitis.
But remember, if you're looking to treat your own IBD, you should research more for your specific needs and check with your health advisor before treating yourself! If you have any questions about relevant studies or basic info, contact us and let us know! Our aromatherapists are happy to help.
Sweet Basil Tip!
| Bug Repellant
Planting Basil next to your tomatoes helps protect your plants from pesky bugs... and Sweet Basil essential oil can help keep bugs away from you too!
The essential oil kills mosquito larvae and soothes pain and itching from bug bites and even painful stings. We keep it handy in our kitchen when we come back in from picking herbs in the garden for a dinner recipe;) It's amazing how quickly a mosquito finds you outside (ugh)...
Here's how our aromatherapists use Sweet Basil...
- 1tsp sweet almond oil
- 3 drops sweet basil essential oil
- 3 drops clove bud essential oil
- 3 drops peppermint essential oil
Massage into desired area to help relieve muscle aches and pains! You can also use Massage Relieve Oil - it has all 3 of these oils plus more to help relieve pain, soreness and inflammation. And for a digestive aid, I've also used our Muscle Rub blend in a pinch;)
Bug Bite Roller
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 8 drops tea tree essential oil
- 8 drops patchouli essential oil
- 8 drops sweet basil essential oil
- 4 drops roman chamomile essential oil
Add essential oils to a 10ml roller bottle and fill it the rest of the way up with fractionated coconut oil. Pop your roller ball top in, swirl to combine and roll directly onto any itchy bug bites! ❤️