Basil Essential Oil
You’re most likely familiar with the basil plant for its use as a seasoning in the kitchen. Sweet basil essential oil is also used in food, yet it has applications that extend to your skin and overall health. These are some of the many ways this essential oil is used today:
- Mouth care products such as mouthwash
- Flavoring in foods that include processed meats and ketchup
- Bug repellents
- Skin and hair care
- Digestive, nervous and immune system health
Basil’s use for health and personal care goes back to ancient times. For instance, the thousands-of-years-old Ayurvedic health system long used basil for a variety of health complaints, including skin diseases, coughing and digestive troubles. For personal care, this oil seems to improve the look and quality of the skin and hair.
Creating the Oil
The essential oil of sweet basil is not made in a lab. Instead, it is carefully extracted from the basil, or Ociumum basilicum, plant with a steam distillation process or sometimes with a hydro-distillation process as the second-best option. Once the oil is extracted, you can gain its health benefits by inhaling it and using it on your body.
Scientific Support for Sweet Basil’s Benefits
Basil oil has been extensively studied by scientists, and research confirms many of its benefits, including for the skin. For instance, an August 2013 study in the journal Molecules looked at the effects of basil oil against infections from drug-resistant bacteria. The study included infections of the skin as well as other parts of the body. The essential oil worked effectively against the various E. coli bacteria strains that were tested and was better at blocking bacteria growth than rosemary essential oil (although rosemary also worked).
In addition, an April 2006 study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science tested sweet basil essential oil and two other types of basil oils against the Propionibacterium that causes acne. The sweet basil oil worked well against this bacteria, and researchers determined it could be useful for managing acne.
Research also shows significant benefits beyond skin care. As one example, an April 2006 study in the journal Cancer Letters on mice discovered that out of 17 Thai plants studied, sweet basil oil showed the best results in inhibiting the murine leukemia virus that can lead to cancer. The researchers noted that this study showed the possibility for using this essential oil in the treatment of cancer. Also, a 1989 study in the Canadian Journal of Botany found that sweet basil oil blocked the growth of fungi that created mycotoxin, which can lead to human diseases.
These are just some of the studies backing up the many health benefits of this extraordinary essential oil.
Using products with sweet basil oil added to the ingredients can give your body the fantastic skin and health benefits of this natural oil. By using this and other natural ingredients, we are able to provide healthier versions of personal care products that don’t cause your body to absorb harsh chemicals.