Ocimum basilicum – Plant Family: Lamiaceae/Labiatae
Type of plant: Bushy annual herb growing up to 2 feet high, with white, pink, or purple flower
Part used: Leaves and flowering tops
Method of extraction: Steam distillation
Data: The plant is cut when flowering and distilled immediately, as it loses aroma when dried. Basil is a sacred plant in many countries, including India. In the Mediterranean area it’s grown around the house to confer protection and keep away flies. In Greece, a pot of basil is often found outside houses and shops. There are several types of basil; please see below.
Principal places of production: Vietnam, India, United States, Réunion (France), Comoro Islands, Madagascar, Seychelles, Thailand, France, South Africa, Egypt
When buying look for: A colorless to pale-yellow liquid with a warm, slightly peppery, aniseed-like aroma
Therapeutic properties: Antibacterial, anti-infectious, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, restorative, stomachic, tonic
Therapeutic uses: Muscular spasm and contraction, rheumatism, digestive problems, nausea, flatulence, menstrual cramp, dysmenorrhea, headache, migraines, tension, stress, physical and mental exhaustion
Blends well with: Bay laurel, bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile roman, clary sage, coriander seed, cypress, eucalyptus radiata, fennel (sweet), fragonia, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, juniper berry, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, manuka, marjoram (sweet), mastic, may chang, niaouli, orange (sweet), oregano, palmarosa, peppermint, petitgrain, rosemary, spearmint, tea tree, thyme linalol, ylang ylang
Precautionary advice: May cause irritation on highly sensitive skins; a skin patch test is advisable. Avoid use in baths and showers. Always dilute before use. Avoid during pregnancy and while breast-feeding.