Cooking with Essential Oils – Featured “Basil”

This article provided by “The Free Library” will cover the essential oil of basil. Please find the copyright info at the bottom of this article and support the author for his hard work.

We are all very familiar with basil as a cooking herb, but it also has numerous qualities for using in the health arena. Listed here are a few details about the specificup basil that I am more familiar with. Keep in mind that with many herbs and/ or oils, there generally are numerous species or genus that will all be called basil (or other herb or plant).

* Botanical family: Lamiaceae or Labiatae (mint)

* Ocimum basilicum CT Methyl Chavicol is grown in several places including Reunion, Comoro, and Egypt. Methyl chavicol CT (also known as estragole CT) is the chemotype of basil making it a strong antispasmodic

antispasmodic /an·ti·spas·mod·ic/ (-spaz-mod´ik)
1. preventing or relieving spasms.

2. an agent that so acts.

* Extraction method: Steam distilled from leaves, stems, and flowers.

* Key constituents: Methylchavicol, Linalol, 1,8 Cineole, Eugenol eugenol /eu·gen·ol/ (u´jen-ol) a dental analgesic and antiseptic obtained from clove oil or other natural sources; applied topically to dental cavities and also used as a component of dental protectives.  

The family of plants that produces the most chemotypes (variations in oil compositions within the same species) is Lamiaceae (or Labiatae)–the mint family. Plants produce chemotypes as an adaptation to survive in a variety of different environments. Some plants are adaptable and some are not. Some species can live in only one special environment, like frankincense and myrrh myrrh: see incense tree. , while others can grow almost anywhere. The large variety of chemotypes produced by the mints is evidence of their ability to live under a wide range of soil types and environmental conditions. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is one of the many oil-producing members of the mint family. I wish it would grow as uncontrollably as the other mints do in my gardens here in the mountains of Colorado. Maybe I’m at too high an altitude and a lack of oxygen–you think?


Usually due to such a long history of essential oils, or at least their mother plants, there will always be a certain amount of folklore that goes along with it. Many times the folklore can be quite interesting and conjure up numerous thoughts and ideas about what brought a particular folklore idea into existence so many years ago. Here’s a sampling for basil.

Considered by the ancient Greeks as the “king of plants,” basil was used to anoint

tr.v. a·noint·ed, a·noint·ing, a·noints
1. To apply oil, ointment, or a similar substance to.

2. To put oil on during a religious ceremony as a sign of sanctification or consecration.

3.  kings. Hindus placed sprigs of basil on the chests of deceased loved ones to protect them from evil and provide safe passage into the next life. Due to its supposed aphrodisiac


Any of various forms of stimulation thought to arouse sexual excitement. They may be psychophysiological (arousing the senses of sight, touch, smell, or hearing) or internal (e.g., foods, alcoholic drinks, drugs, love potions, medicinal preparations).  qualities, Italian women displayed basil to alert possible suitors, and the men would present the women with basil sprigs.

No wonder we love brushing against basil or running our hands over the plant to inhale its wonderful aroma. I guess I can’t speak for anybody else–but I sure enjoy it.

Historical uses

Historically, basil has had many very important health remedies attached to it. I’ll list a few of them but please understand that with today’s knowledge this listing is extremely limited as to what basil is capable of in assisting the body’s quest for greater health.

Bast Bast, in Egyptian religion
Bast (băst), ancient Egyptian cat goddess. At first a goddess of the home, she later became known as a goddess of war. The center of her cult was at Bubastis. Her name also appears as Ubast.
 was used anciently for respiratory problems, digestive and kidney ailments, poisonous insect or snake bites, fevers, epidemics, malaria, and throat/lung infections.

Janice W., Michigan, was stung on the forehead by a yellow jacket wasp. She said the pain was very intense. She used just one drop of basil oil on it and the pain stopped instantly. She had mentioned there was no redness or soreness after that one application of basil oil.

Being used extensively in traditional Asian Indian medicine, basil’s name is derived from “basileum,” the Greek name for king. In the 16th century, the powdered leaves were inhaled to treat migraines and chest infections. The Hindu people put basil sprigs on the chests of the dead to protect them from evil spirits. It was listed in Hildegard’s Medicine, a compilation of early German medicines by highly-regarded Benedictine herbalist

1. One who grows, collects, or specializes in the use of herbs, especially medicinal herbs.

2. See herb doctor.  Hildegard of Bingen Hildegard of Bingen (hÄ­l`dÉ™gärth’, bÄ­ng`É™n), 1098–1179, German nun, mystic, composer, writer, and cultural figure, known as the Sibyl of the Rhine.  (1098-1179).

Simone T., New York, said he suffered greatly from migraines and nothing seemed to help. If he catches the onset at the right time and takes a few capsules of basil, wintergreen, and peppermint peppermint: see mint. , it immediately relieves the pressure by decreasing the inflammation that occurs in the vessels in the head. This is now his only relief for migraine headaches.

Medical properties

Some of basil’s known medical properties include it as a powerful antispasmodic, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxant.

Basil is an excellent antispasmodic essential oil, relaxing to the muscles, both voluntary and involuntary.

Basil is the first oil that my husband or I reach for in the middle of the night when we are awakened with those horrible charley horse muscle spasms. Just a few drops in the palm of our hand, applied topically where the pain is the worst, and within seconds the muscle spasm is long gone. There are times when the spasms will hit my husband more than once. When it does he just grabs the basil again and applies more than he did the first time for lasting relief the second time around.

There have been times I’m too far asleep to wake up all the way and grab the basil to stop the spasm–which means it’s really just a small one this time. I notice in the morning when I’ve not used the basil to halt the spasm that the affected muscle will be sore and tender. But if I’ve used the basil I never feel that tenderness sensation in the muscles in the morning. In fact, I’ve forgotten that I even had a spasm in the middle of the night.

French medicinal uses

I list these because the French have a very long history of using essential oils, so we often learn even more about their uses from the French.

Migraines (especially from liver and gallbladder problems), mental fatigue, menstrual periods (scanty).

Hope S., California, was doubled over with severe menstrual pain. She said her sister gave her a drop of basil essential oil to rub on each of her ankles and within minutes the severe cramping ceased.

Other possible uses

This oil may be used for aches/ pains, anxiety, bronchitis, chronic colds, concentration, nervous depression, digestion, earache ear·ache
Pain in the ear; otalgia.
, fainting, fatigue (mental), fever, gout gout, condition that manifests itself as recurrent attacks of acute arthritis, which may become chronic and deforming. It results from deposits of uric acid crystals in connective tissue or joints. , headaches, hemorrhoids, hiccoughs, insect bites (soothing), insect repellent, insomnia (from nervous tension), intestinal problems, poor memory, chronic mucus, muscle spasms, ovarian cysts, prostate problems, rhinitis

Rhinitis Definition

Rhinitis is inflammation of the mucous lining of the nose.

Rhinitis is a nonspecific term that covers infections, allergies, and other disorders whose common feature is the location of their symptoms.  (inflammation of nasal mucous membranes), loss of smell, snake bites, vomiting, wasp stings, and whooping cough.

“Every night I rub basil on my knees and lower legs and ankles so my legs will remain still in the bed (Restless Leg Syndrome restless leg syndrome Nocturnal myoclonus Sleep disorders A clinical complex characterized by nocturnal cramping of the anterior calf, restlessness, a feeling of heaviness, aching, painful paresthesia and tingling in legs with uncontrolled twitching, relieved by ). About three drops of basil in the palm of my hand with a quarter’s worth of vegetable mixing oil, rub my hands together and spread over both legs. Just three drops per night makes all the difference in the world.”–Dianne H., Montana

It is both anti-septic and antibacterial. Basil is a decongestant

decongestant /de·con·ges·tant/ (de?kon-jes´tint)
1. tending to reduce congestion or swelling.

2. an agent that so acts.
 (because of its 1,8 cineole content) and supports the prostate. Basil may help restore a lost sense of smell, cleansing the receptor sites of the nose.

Phenolics and phenylpropanoids are among the most important classes of essential oil compounds. They cleanse receptor sites in the body, eat up free radicals and protect us from viruses and harmful bacteria. The oil of basil (Ocimum basilicum) is one of the many essential oils that are rich in phenolics and/or phenylpropanoids. Don’t worry if you don’t understand all these foreign sounding words. The main thing is to remember what they and the oils they are present in have the capability of doing.

Aromaticup and fragrant influence (inhalation)

Helps one maintain an open mind and increases clarity of thought. Fights mental fatigue.

Amazing as it may seem, this one oil from the essence of basil has been known to help with all these issues and many more. This is certainly not unlike all essential oils, if they are a pure-therapeutic-grade essential oil.

As we continue with other essential oil articles you will discover they also do much of the same things. This is why I often continue to try another oil, and perhaps even another oil, until I find one that works for my body.

Applications (as taken from various reference books)

Apply to temples, tip of nose, vita flex (reflexology

Reflexology Definition

Reflexology is a therapeutic method of relieving pain by stimulating predefined pressure points on the feet and hands. This controlled pressure alleviates the source of the discomfort. ) points on feet, and/or directly on area of concern; diffuse; may also be added to food or water as a dietary supplement (only therapeutic-grade essential oils that is labeled for dietary supplement or internal consumption).

Dilute one part essential oil with four parts organic cold-pressed vegetable oil; apply two to four drops on location, temples, neck; chakras/ vita flex (reflexology) points, (crown of head, forehead, heart, and navel); directly inhale; diffuse; or take as dietary supplement (using only a therapeutic-grade essential oil that has been approved as a dietary supplement).

Oral use as dietary supplement (as taken from various reference books)

Pure therapeutic-grade essential oils are Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS GRAS – A public domain graph-oriented database system for software engineering applications from RWTH Aachen. ) for internal consumption by the FDA. Dilute one drop oil in one teaspoon honey or four ounces of beverage (i.e., rice milk). Not for children under six years old; use with caution and in greater dilution for children six years old and over.

Caution: Avoid use if epileptic.

Helpful hints for cooking with essential oils

It is important not to heat essential oils beyond their flash point. This can be easily avoided by lowering the stovetop

The top surface of a stove, especially when used for cooking.

Used, prepared, or done on the top of a cooking stove: a stovetop casserole; stovetop cooking.  temperature, using the essential oils in conjunction with extra virgin olive oil, or by adding the oils when the dish has been removed from the heat or flame.

It is easiest to use essential oils in recipes that call for dried herbs, spices, or fruit juices (i.e., lemon, orange). Simply replace these ingredients with the companion essential oil. Essential oils have a stronger flavor than dried herbs and spices.

There are approximately 60 drops of oil in a teaspoon, but because essential oils are so potent, a much smaller amount would be sufficient. It would be best to start out with small amounts of oil and then increase until the desired flavor preference has been reached.

Since the flavor of essential oils can dissipate, add oils to dishes immediately before serving if the recipe requires refrigeration.

The juice or zest of one lemon, orange, tangerine tangerine: see orange. , or grapefruit can be replaced with 10-15 drops of the companion essential oil.

One tablespoon or more of marjoram marjoram or sweet marjoram (mär`jÉ™rÉ™m), Old World perennial aromatic herb (Marjorana hortensis) of the family Labiatae (mint family), cultivated in gardens for flavoring. , oregano oregano (É™rÄ•g`É™nō), name for several herbs used for flavoring food. A plant of the family Labiatae (mint family), Origanum vulgare, , sage, rosemary, thyme, fennel fennel, common name for several perennial herbs, genus Foeniculum vulgare of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family), related to dill. The strawlike foliage and the seeds are licorice-scented and are used (especially in Italian cooking) for flavoring. , dill, black pepper, or coriander coriander (kōr’ēăn`dÉ™r), strong-smelling Old World annual herb (Coriandrum sativum) of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family), cultivated for its fruits.  can be replaced with 1/2-1 drop of its companion oil.

With recipes that include less than one teaspoon of an herb or spice, dip a toothpick

n a wood sliver used to cleanse the interdental space.

toothpick, balsa wood,
n a triangular wedge of balsa wood used to clean the teeth interproximally and stimulate the interdental gingival tissues.  (wooden–never plastic) in the oil and then swirl it in the recipe to blend it with other ingredients.

Cinnamon bark, clove, ginger, and nutmeg essential oils are much stronger than their companion spice, so it’s best to use the toothpick method outlined above.

Keep in mind these are guidelines and be willing to experiment to suit your taste.



symbol of gladness. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 176]

See : Joy


Strongly aromatic perennial herb (Mentha piperita, mint family), source of a widely used flavouring. Native to Europe and Asia, it has been naturalized in North America.



Small, thin-skinned variety of the mandarin orange species (Citrus reticulata deliciosa) of the rue family (citrus family).


Zucchini Casserole

3 cups zucchini, thinly sliced at an
I tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon basil or 1/4-1/2 drop of
basil oil
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1]2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon oregano
2 eggs, beaten

Simmer zucchini until tender, then drain. Add butter to zucchini and place in a casserole dish. Beat eggs and add onion, garlic, salt, seasonings, and half of the cheese. Pour mixture over zucchini and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350[degrees]F for 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

In a blender, combine:

1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup avocado oil
5 medium-thick slices Roma tomato
1 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 drops basil oil

Blend all ingredients except basil essential oil on high until smooth and creamy. Place in a small mixing bowl and swish in basil oil. Serve with salad.

Makes 2-3 servings

Avocado Basil Dip

8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. chives, chopped
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
8 oz. guacamole or 4-5 avocados
2 teaspoons blue agave or honey
1-2 drops basil oil

Mix cream cheese, chives, and onion. Add guacamole. If you are using fresh avocados, cream in a blender or with a spoon until smooth. Mix in agave/honey and basil oil. Serve with chips.

Makes 2 cups

There are so many ways to use the essential oil of basil in cooking. Any time you might add fresh or dried basil use the essential oil instead. For the small amount of oil used in a recipe, especially like the dip or vinaigrette where the oil is not heated, you will gain more of its therapeutic benefits than you would from the actual plant-especially a dried herb which has lost 95-98 percent of its essential oil.

Just a quick reminder: I am not a doctor or medical professional so I cannot by law diagnose or prescribe essential oils to anyone. Any of the products or techniques mentioned is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me. I love talking about essential oils and natural health care. I can be contacted by phone or by e-mail at Or visit one of my websites: or www.gentlewindsinc.younglivingworld. com. My mailing address is: PO, Box 8, Guffey, CO 80820, 1-719-689-5651.

‘Til next time–happy oiling!

MILLIE MILLIE Maximum Interchange of the Latest Logistic Information is Essential  TROTH