According to folk medicine, basil has been used for treating a number of ailments, including malaria, kidney problems, and emphysema and even as an antidote for snake and insect bites. In ancient Rome, it was known to be an aphrodisiac and antidepressant, and was used for epilepsy and jaundice.
So if you have a condition for which Basil Essential Oil is recommended, which one should you use? To answer this question, you will have to learn a bit more about the different types of basil.
Due to its unique chemical makeup, Holy Basil is more irritating than other types of basil and therefore is not recommended for use on the skin. It is considered moderately toxic. You should avoid using it if you are pregnant.
The sweet, warm scent of this type of basil means that it provides stress and anxiety reducing effects in addition to all the normal benefits of basil. Holy Basil is also said to increase the qualities of faith and compassion. So that is why it is treasured by those on a spiritual path.
In Sanskrit, the name of Holy Basil is “Tulsi”, meaning “incomparable.” It is considered an incarnation of the Goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of health, wealth and love. Prayer beads are made out of the stalks of it and worn around the neck as a way of inviting an influence of purity to surround the wearer. It is in every Indian home as a revered houseplant that is used daily for both spiritual and medicinal purposes. It is an important ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines, particularly for relieving stress. It is considered a “rasayana,” an elite group of Ayurvedic herbs that have a powerful ability to enhance overall well-being.
Like most types of basil, traditionally it has been used for migraines, headaches, anxiety, depression and other nervous disorders, lack of energy, laziness, mental fatigue, physical fatigue, low self-esteem, jet lag and low blood pressure. For all of these conditions, diffusion is the only recommended way to use it. For colds and all respiratory conditions, you should use a nebulizing diffuser or inhale it directly from the bottle.
Scent: Holy Basil has a scent similar to other varieties of basil, but it has a richer, spicier aroma, thanks to its eugenol content.
Blends With: Eucalyptus, Juniper, Lemon, Neroli, Rosemary.
Fragrance Note: Top.
Composition: Camphene, eugenol, cineole.
Sweet Linalool Basil Essential Oil is considered relatively non-toxic. It is not known to be a skin irritant, but it may still cause irritation to people with sensitive skin. Like Holy Basil, it should not be used during pregnancy.
Sweet Linalool Basil can be used on the skin if it is diluted up to 2% in any carrier oil (i.e. 10 drops to a tablespoon). It is said to improve skin tone. But before using it in a larger area, check you aren’t sensitive to it by only using it on a small area at first.
It can be diffused for all the same conditions as Holy Basil, but it can also be diluted and applied to the forehead as a cold compress. This is said to be useful for migraines, headaches, anxiety, depression and other nervous disorders.
You can dilute it and use it in a bath or as a hot compress on the area of discomfort for gout, rheumatism, arthritis, muscle aches and menstrual cramps. This is a traditional remedy for these conditions.
It can be diluted and applied to the scalp. This is said to increase hair growth.
You can dilute it and apply it to the forehead, heart and chest areas. This is said to increase energy and to remove both mental and physical fatigue. Similarly, it can be applied along the frontal line of the body (i.e. from the heart area upwards and downwards from the front of the neck to the pubic bone, parallel to the spine). This is said to help remove the tendency to be lazy and any feelings of low self-esteem. Diluting it in a bath is also said to help low self-esteem.
It can be diluted and applied in the morning on the heart, chest and head area as a traditional remedy for jet lag.
It is said that diluting it and applying it on the heart and chest area is good for people suffering from low blood pressure.
Sweet Basil is commonly used in Italian and French cuisine and it’s also valued for its digestive, gas-reducing benefits. Sweet Linalool Basil is the most widely used variety of Basil Essential Oil in aromatherapy.
Dr. Christoph Streicher says, “Amrita’s Linalool Basil has virtually no methyl chavicol. It is therefore completely safe for any application. Basil has a longstanding tradition in many cultures. Its Greek name means “king’s herb.” It was revered in both ancient Greek and Roman times. In India, it is associated with Lord Krishna. From a plant with such a historic and meaningful past, we can expect a profound quality. Indeed, basil has a substantial effect on our subtle energetic makeup. All the different basil chemotypes have an energizing effect that goes beyond the energy level of our body to profoundly affect our inner being. At the same time, basil integrates and harmonizes all the chakras. Methyl chavicol-containing basils are more energizing, while the Linalool Basil is stronger on the integrating side.”
Scent: Sweet Linalool Basil has a cooling, almost minty, sweet, licorice-like herbal scent.
Blends With: Bergamot, Citronella, citrus oils, Clary Sage, Geranium, Hyssop, Rosemary.
Fragrance Note: Top.
Composition: Linalool, methyl chavicol, eugenol, limonene, citronellol.
Tropical Basil Essential Oil is similar to other Basil Essential Oils but it has a stronger, more camphor-like scent. It energizes the mind and body and is often diffused to ease headaches and respiratory conditions.
Tropical Basil Essential Oil has lot of the chemical component called methyl-chavicol, which is considered toxic and a skin irritant. Because of its high methyl-chavicol content, this oil is not available in California. So, like Holy Basil, the only way we recommend you use this essential oil is via diffusion. This type of basil should also not be used during pregnancy.
Tropical Basil has a distinctly camphor-like aroma, making it stronger and more medicinally scented than the other basil varieties. It is said to be energizing, antiseptic, fever-reducing and spasm-suppressing. It is traditionally used for the same conditions as Holy Basil and Sweet Linalool Basil, but only via diffusion. It is said to be the ideal variety of basil to use for cold and respiratory problems.
Scent: Tropical Basil has a strong, herbal, camphor-like, sweet scent.
Blends With: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Citronella, Geranium, Hyssop.
Fragrance Note: Top.
Composition: Methyl-chavicol, linalool, cineol, camphor, eugenol, limonene, citronellol.
So Which Basil Should You Use?
It depends on the effect desired. If it is energy you want, diffuse Holy Basil or Tropical Basil. If you want to be able to dilute it and apply it to your skin and have it in your bath, use Sweet Linalool Basil. If you want to increase faith and compassion as part of your spiritual journey, diffuse Holy Basil. If you have a cold or other respiratory issues, diffuse Tropical Basil.
We hope this has helped you to know which Basil Essential Oil to use. If you have been using any of these Basil Essential Oils and would like to pass on your experiences, please add a comment below, so we can all learn and benefit.
Disclaimer: The statements made in this blog have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.