Basil the Beneficent
If you are a gardener, you know what a joy it is to grow Basil, Ocimum basilicum, in the garden. I returned from my garden this morning with a few leaves of basil to steep in the pitcher of water kept in the refrigerator and I anticipate a summer of fresh pesto, culinary benefits of this herb.
Native to tropical Asia and Africa, it migrated to Europe and the Mediterranean region in centuries past. The Romans considered it an aphrodisiac and it is still customarily used as a token of love and worn behind the ear or ceremoniously pinned on the lapels of the groom and his attendant groomsmen. I attended a family friend's Italian wedding recently and noted the tradition. Joy and love, two more benefits!
Many varieties are cultivated all over the world including Egypt, Bulgaria and the Americas. The variety I typically have in my formulary for aromatherapeutic blending is Basil ct. linalool. The 'ct' is the abbreviation for chemotype ( the plant chemistry varies according to where it is grown such as soil conditions, altitude, climate,etc.) Linalool is a more gentle chemotype for the skin. Basil has a sweet spicy scent and its fragrance brings to mind licorice or clove.
Basil essential oil offers an array of benefits that support our bodies, minds, spirits. Useful in blends for digestion, it can also calm the mind and bring relief from headaches and uplift the spirit!
Perhaps one of its most welcome applications during the summer season is in blends for repelling insects! As one who enjoys having my hands in the earth adding basil essential oil to a foaming soap blend is doubly beneficial!
It's muscle soothing properties added to a recipe formulated with a few other essential oils (also commonly grown in the herb garden)makes a fragrant foaming hand soap.