Most people are familiar with basil, especially if they enjoy Italian cooking. Margherita pizza or spaghetti topped with basil leaves are summertime treats. The herb grows when it is sunny and warm, so winter may be a good time to take advantage of the essential oil from the plant.
Diffusion of basil (Ocimum basilicum) can be beneficial when the days are dreary and cold. The essential oil diminishes mental fatigue while rebuilding energy reserves. When combined with lemon it is uplifting and invigorating on even the dullest day. It can give the push you need to get everything done when the daylight hours seem so short.
Winter can cause other problems when you are stuck inside due to inclement weather. Lack of sunlight and outside interaction can cause depression, anxiety and other nervous disorders. Fortunately, basil acts as a nerve and brain tonic to lift your mind and spirit.
Basil essential oil is also useful in reducing the pain and inflammation of gout, rheumatoid arthritis and muscle aches when used in massage. With this therapy, the variety of the plant known as “Sweet Linalool Basil” is best because it is not known to irritate skin whereas other basil varieties can be irritating. For massage, use 10 drops of an essential oil blend containing basil in one ounce of carrier oil.
This aromatic oil can be a digestive tonic by stimulating sluggish digestion. To get help from basil oil for this use, you can either inhale directly from the bottle or massage a small amount onto the abdomen. It’s carminative properties will assist and help with gas, too.
If all of these actions that basil essential oil has aren’t enough, you can turn to basil when you have a stuffy nose, bronchitis or the flu. It’s also antibacterial and antiviral to keep you from getting sick in the first place.
To gain these wintertime benefits of basil, diffuse a blend of equal parts of basil, lemon (Citrus limon), and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) during the day. It will keep your mind sharp, body healthy and soul lively.