BASIL OIL
(Ocimum basilicum var album)

Plant Family
Labiatae or Lamiaceae

Synonyms
Common basil, sweet basil

Description and Distribution
A half-hardy or tender herb with highly aromatic leaves.   It reaches a height of up to 3 feet (60 cms).   Basil is native to tropical Asia and the Middle East, but is cultivated throughout Europe.

Nature of the Oil
A colourless or pale yellow liquid, having a light, fresh sweet-spicy scent with a balsamic undertone.   Its odour effect is at first enlivening, giving way to a warm, comforting feeling.

Main Constituents

Linalol, methyl chavicol, eugenol, limonene, citronella.

Properties
Antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cephalic, emmenagoguic, expectorant, febrifugal, galactagoguic, nervine, prophylactic, stimulant of adrenal cortex, stomachic, tonic.

Aroma therapeutic Uses
Muscular aches and pains, respiratory disorders, scanty menstruation, colds and ‘flu, mental fatigue, anxiety, depression.

Cautions
Avoid during pregnancy.   It is advisable to use the oil in low concentrations of around 1 percent as it can be highly irritant to skin.   Better still, avoid skin applications and use in the vaporizer to perfume rooms.

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