Basil Oil


‘The Elixir of life’ and ‘Mother medicine of Nature’ are the most popular historical references of Basil for its enormous healing values to the mind, body and soul.

Basil-oil-bannerIt has marked its presence significantly in various medicinal systems in the world including Ayurveda and Homeopathy for treating diabetes, renal colic, epileptic attacks, painful breasts, congestion, asthmatic attacks, diarrhea, numbness, migraine, nervous exhaustion and insomnia.

Scientifically known as Ocimum canum, Basil is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae. This traditional medicinal herb is widely distributed in India, especially Tamil Nadu and is called as Nai Tulasi in Tamil. Besides numerous therapeutic properties, the most noteworthy remedial effects of Basil and its essential oil are its functions as a cancer chemoprotective agent and anti-diabetic agent for reducing blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes.

Historical uses and importance of Basil oil:

Basil is said to have its origin in India, the land of rich traditional values. The healing, culinary and aromatic attributes of this sweet-smelling plant have been talked about in many classical herbal writings including Charaka Samhita (ancient Ayurvedic text) and the works of renowned herbalists like Dioscorides, Gerard, Culpeper and Parkinson.

Parkinson has quoted that Basil’s scent “fit for a King’s house”, denoting its royal aroma and has also said that Basil can be used “to procure a cheerful and merry heart.” Gerard and Culpeper has mentioned that Basil is an excellent remedy for melancholy and is a natural antidote for insect bites including scorpion stings, mosquito bites and bee stings.

The word ‘Ocimum’ (generic name) is derived from the Greek word ‘okimon’, which means smell. This indicates one among those reasons behind the unforgettable fragrance of the Basil variety. Basil plays a vital role in various religious practices across the world, where it has been considered as a sacred herb in Hinduism and said to have grown at the place of Christ’s crucifixion.

Basil plant has also been associated as a symbol of love, protection, courtship, truthfulness, courtship, death and luck. This plant has been a significant part of various religious ceremonies, where the smoke from burning this herb is said to calm the mind and augment the spiritual power.

Ocimum canum has been used in the traditional medicine for treating oral problems, fever, insect bites, constipation, parasitic infestations, cold, inflammation, headache, joint pain and dysentery. This plant was burnt in the homes as incense and for protecting from insects. Basil leaves were also used to guard the crops post harvesting from the damages of insects.

This herb is much remembered in various traditions across the world in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Basil and its essential oil are also used as a flavoring agent in soft drinks, shampoos, cuisines, body lotions, teas, candies, dairy products, toothpastes and cosmetics.

Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Basil essential oil:

The essential oil of Basil has about 36 chemical components and is a rich source of camphor, eugenol, β-caryophyllene, a-pinene, limonene, myrcene, camphene, naphthalene, caryophyllene and valencene.

These components contribute to its therapeutic properties like antiemetic, anti-stress, antiviral, antibacterial, rubefacient, antidiabetic, antiasthmatic, antimicrobial, anticancer, insecticide, anti-fertility, anti-fungal, anti-malarial, antioxidant, expectorant, analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Basil essential oil:

Ayurveda is a complete medicinal practice which stands on the three pillars of health, including physical, mental and a hearty soul. For attaining this holistic healing, Ayurveda focuses on treating the root cause of an illness instead of treating the symptoms. This aids in curing the sickness initially and preventing it in the future as well.

The principle of Ayurveda strongly believes that every individual is a unique part of nature with a unique individual constitution, which consists of three dynamic energies called as doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha. These doshas are a representation of the five fundamentals elements of nature. They are water, fire, earth, space and air.

Vata dosha is an arrangement of air and space and is in charge for circulatory, respiratory, and nervous functions of the system. Pitta energy is a combination of fire and water and it takes care of body temperature and metabolic activities including digestion, absorption and elimination. Kapha is a representation of earth and water and is responsible for reproductive functions, movement of fluids and muscular development of the body.

Ayurvedic texts state that every person should be treated in a unique manner according to the predominance and balance between the 3 doshas. This doshic structure determines a human’s physique, character and behavioral attributes.

Imbalance between these doshas is said to happen based on an individual’s balance with nature, which is said to deviate depending on a person’s change in food habits, lifestyle changes, environmental factors and climatic conditions.

Doshic imbalances lead to illnesses and is best treated in Ayurvedic medicine by recommending natural remedies including herbs, essential oils, meditation, yoga, prayers, Pranayama or the art of balanced breathing, simple physical exercises, Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massaging), Ayurvedic routine, Panchakarma (Ayurvedic detoxification) techniques.

These remedies help in correcting the imbalance between these doshas and aid in healing the illness initially and preventing it in the future as well. Basil oil is said to reduce kapha dosha predominantly, pacify vata and enhance pitta dosha with its warming effect on the system.

Let’s look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Basil essential oil based on its usage:

Basil-oil-broucher1. Benefits as a bathing or massaging oil:

Abhyanga or the art of Ayurvedic massaging is an ancient healing technique and is one among the friendliest remedy for treating various medical conditions.  Massaging in Ayurveda means the use of palms, elbows, feet and other conventional massaging tools and equipments for maneuvering nerves, muscles and the whole body.

Ayurveda prescribes the use of Ayurvedic essential oils in massaging technique after analyzing the individual constitution and the state of health. By this way, the medicinal properties of the essential oils pass on to the blood stream and then to the skin, where it transforms the respective health benefits to the related parts of the system.

The largest organ of the human body is skin. Using Ayurvedic essential oils in topical application, aids in passing on the healing values to the system by penetrating through the skin cells. This traditional massaging technique helps in enhancing the blood circulation and augments the red blood cells count.

Massaging your system with 10 drops of Basil oil blended with 5 drops of Clove oil, 5 drops of Lavender oil and 5 drops of Lime oil along with 15 ml of coconut oil can assist in treating respiratory infections, skin problems, diabetes, high levels of cholesterol, headache, arthritis, rheumatism, dandruff, kidney stones, urinary infections and digestive disorders like indigestion, heartburn, vomiting and other stomach disorders.

a) Relieves pain and eliminates toxic substances:

Basil essential oil has detoxifying, diuretic, antioxidant and analgesic properties that help in discarding toxic remains from the system by promoting frequent urination. This also aids in reducing the level of uric acid and salt deposits, which may otherwise lead to the formation of kidney stones.

Improper blood circulation, stagnation of water deposits and amassing of toxic remains or ama (left due to indigestion) are the major causes for rheumatic conditions, arthritis and pain leading to stiff joints, inflammation, painful muscles, soreness, redness, irritation, fatigue and difficulties in performing routine tasks.

Gently massaging the painful and affected parts with this Ayurvedic massaging blend can be of great assistance in reducing inflammation, redness, irritation, pain and it also supports in promoting blood circulation in the painful areas. The therapeutic values of Basil oil along with other Ayurvedic oils in this massage blend promotes the frequency and quality of urination through which the toxic remains in the system are eliminated.

Homeopathy medication prescribes the use of Ocimum canum in the treatment of diseases associated with the kidneys, urethra and bladder. The most common health disorders treated with Basil in Homeopathic medicine are cramps and pain in kidneys and ureters, urinary problems like formation of high acidity or spike crystals of uric acid, renal colic, swelling and other symptoms of renal calculus.

b) Skin disorders and hair problems:

The essential oil of Basil has antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral properties that help in healing numerous skin disorders including acne and dermatitis. 3 drops of Basil oil blended with 3 drops of Lavender oil and 3 ml of coconut oil can be applied on acne, marks, ringworm, eczema, athletes’ foot, leucoderma, itches and insect bites for improved results.

Basil oil also helps in clearing away skin blemishes and marks left behind by acne and wounds. Fresh juice extracted from Basil leaves mixed with honey is a traditional remedy for treating acne in Ayurveda. With its antifungal properties, Basil oil is said to be an excellent remedy for clearing dandruff, hair fall, dry and itchy scalp conditions.

A 2012 study on Antifungal activity of Ocimum canum Essential oil against Toxinogenic Fungi isolated from Peanut Seeds in post-harvest in Benin, published in the International Research Journal of Biological Sciences, concluded that the essential oil of Basil is used as an antifungal agent in protecting peanuts post harvest in Benin against the toxic strains of fungi like Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus.

This study justifies the use of the Basil leaves in the traditional medicine for treating numerous ailments and also reports “the essential oil of fresh leaves of O. canum as aflatoxin inhibitor and fungal growth suppressor. Based on these potentials, essential oil of Ocimum canum may be recommended as preservative of stored food commodities from fungal and aflatoxin contamination in storage system.”

Slightly heat 5 drops of Basil oil with 5 drops of Rosemary oil, 3 drops of Ylang Ylang oil and 3 drops of Lemon oil along with 10 ml of sesame oil and massage it soothingly on your scalp. Leave this blend to rest on your scalp for 30 minutes. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo blended with 1 drop of Basil oil and 1 drop of Lavender oil for treating dandruff, rough hair and split ends. This also aids in controlling hair fall and supports shiny, lustrous and thick hair.

c) Controls diabetes and reduces the level of cholesterol in the system:

Just like Clove oil, Basil oil is also a rich source of eugenol, caryophyllene and methyl eugenol. The high level of antioxidants along with these chemical constituents helps in supporting the proper functions of the pancreatic beta cells. These cells are responsible for storing and releasing of insulin in the system.

Massaging your system with this medicated blend will be a great aid in increasing the sensitivity to insulin and can help in controlling the level of blood sugar and insulin. This also helps in treating oxidative cellular stress and damage, thereby reducing the increased level of cholesterol and high blood pressure. You can also add 1 drop of Basil oil and 1 drop of Clove oil in your bathing water daily for obtaining these benefits.

A 2002 study on “Extract of Ocimum canum lowers blood glucose and facilitates insulin release by isolated pancreatic beta-islet cells” by Nyarko AK, Asare-Anane H, Ofosuhene M, Addy ME, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Legon studied the use of the aqueous extract of Ocimum canum in the traditional Ghanaian medicine for treating diabetes mellitus.

This study concluded that the use of Ocimum canum extracts on animal models “inhibited insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta-islet cells and fasting blood glucose levels and body weight decreased significantly.”

d) Reduces fever:

Basil oil is a known Ayurvedic remedy for treating fever, including viral and malarial fever. With its febrifuge, antibacterial, antifungal, insecticide and antimicrobial properties, Basil and its essential oil assists in reducing the body temperature even in cases of high fever.

Massaging your foot soles with 2 drops of Basil oil along with 2 drops of Coriander oil and 2 ml of coconut oil can help in reducing fever significantly as all the nerves in body end up in foot soles and passing the therapeutic properties of these essential oils through the foot soles grants instant relief.

2. In steam inhalation:

Basil essential oil has been proven for its remedial effects in reducing excess of kapha dosha, which is responsible for respiratory infections including flu, common cold, nasal congestion, sinusitis, bronchitis, chest congestion, whooping cough and breathing difficulties.

Adding 2 drops of Basil oil and 1 drop of Eucalyptus oil in steam inhalation can help in relieving cold, cough, nasal congestion, sinusitis, sore throat, watery eyes and difficulties in breathing due to excess of mucus and phlegm deposits in the nasal and bronchial passages.

3. In burners or vaporizers:

Aroma plays a significant role in the natural healing methodologies and is one among the five types of remedial measures in Ayurveda. The sense of smell in Ayurveda states that an encouraging, energizing and tranquilizing fragrance has a positive effect on the entire system. This is the major reason for the use of incense sticks, flowers and aromatic candles during prayers and other spiritual gatherings.

Basil essential oil owns a warm, sweet, herbaceous and invigorating aroma that implants an encouraging effect on the plasma, nervous system and the circulatory system. When inhaled the therapeutic properties of this oil reach the limbic system of the brain through the nasal passages. Limbic system is the control center of the human brain that controls the feelings, emotions and attributes of a person.

2 drops of Basil oil with 1 drop of Neroli oil and 1 drop of Clary Sage oil added to the burner, diffuser, aromatic candle or vaporizer during meditation or Pranayama can assist in treating anxiety, mood fluctuations, stress, fatigue, nervous weaknesses and stressful conditions. This also assists in enhancing memory power, concentration, sexual interest, self-confidence and spiritual oneness.

Being a sacred oil, Basil is known for its power in uplifting the spirit and supporting improved spiritual bonding. This also helps in expanding the heart chakra, which is responsible for self-confidence, self-love, self-respect and love for others. Inhaling the curative aroma of this oil is said to generate a soothing effect on the intestines and stomach and alleviates spasms and cramps.

4. In oral rinse and compresses:

Basil essential oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that work as a protective shield against germs causing tooth decay, bad odor and gum problems.1 drop of Basil oil and 1 drop of Clove oil added to a cup of warm water can be used as an oral rinse for relieving plaque, tooth pain, bad breath and protecting from damaging germs and other micro-organisms. This gargle can also aid in strengthening the gums and lessening toothache due to sensitivity.

2 drops of Basil oil blended with 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil and 2 drops of Bergamot oil in warm or cold compress aids in relieving joint pain, headache, muscular spasms, arthritis, stomach ache, rheumatic pain and migraine.

5. Other uses:

Basil and its essential oil is also effective in the treatment of intestinal worms, indigestion, cancer (attributed to its antioxidant and cytotoxic activities), eye irritation, epileptic attacks, renal colic, vomiting, painful kidneys, epileptic convulsions, painful urination and weak immune system.

Disclaimer:

This article is meant only for the use of education and information. It is not in any way recommended for substituting prescription drugs or expert medical guidance. We are not professionals in healthcare and this information is shared purely based on the interest of spreading the fragrance of Ayurvedic healing, the world’s oldest medical system on earth.

Never use essential oils internally and make sure that you dilute essential oils before using it for external application. This is because 100 percent organic and pure essential oils are highly concentrated substances and may cause allergic reactions if used on the skin directly.

Talk with your Ayurvedic practitioner/ healthcare expert before selecting the most suitable essential oils for your prakriti or unique individual constitution and state of health. Please avoid using Basil oil if you have sensitive skin or during pregnancy.

Thought for the day:

By bringing nature into our lives, we invite humility.  -Richard Louv

Suggested Reading:

  1. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston, Steven Maimes
  2. The Basil Supplement: Alternative Medicine for a Healthy Body (Health Collection) by William Wagner
  3. Basil Recipes: Cooking with the King of Herbs (Quick and Easy Series) by Dogwood Apps
  4. Essential Oils for Weight Loss: If You Are Not Using These Essential Oils You Are Missing Out On Weight Loss Success (Essential Oils for Beginners – … Need to Accomplish Your Weight Loss Goals) by Sophie Hart
  5. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, & Longevity by Swami Sadashiva Tirtha

Reference Links:

  1. Basil: An Herb Society of America Guide by the Herb Society
  2. Extract of Ocimum canum lowers blood glucose and facilitates insulin release by isolated pancreatic beta-islet cells by Nyarko AK, Asare-Anane H, Ofosuhene M, Addy ME, published in PubMed
  3. Antioxidant and cytotoxic activities of essential oil of Ocimum canum Sims. from India by Tamil Selvi, Thirugnanasampandan, Sundarammal published in the Journal of Saudi Chemical Society
  4. Antifungal activity of Ocimum canum Essential oil against Toxinogenic Fungi isolated from Peanut Seeds in post-harvest in Benin by Adjou Euloge S., Kouton Sandrine, Dahouenon-Ahous, Si Edwige, Sohounhloue Dominique C.K., Soumanou Mohamed M published in the International Research Journal of Biological Sciences

Basil Oil Indian


basil oil indianBasil is a blessing in disguise for the rest of the world but for most of the traditional Indian families, every day begins with the blessing of Lord Krishna through Basil leaves. This holy plant is being worshipped by the Hindus in India since thousands of years and is a familiar thing to find a Basil or Tulsi plant in every home. It is known to the world of medicine as a digestive tonic, respiratory aid, anti-depressant, pain reliever, skin care agent, immune stimulant and as a symbol of divinity.

Valued as an emblem of sacredness, purification, love, protection, eternity, respect and good luck, Basil is used in Ayurvedic preparations for more than 5,000 years. It is lovingly called as Tulsi in Hindi and Surasa in Sanskrit and has been a vital part of Ayurvedic healing of a plethora of illnesses.

The most notable among them are nervous tension, constipation, rheumatism, whooping cough, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, stress, bruises, diabetes, fever, poor memory, poisonous bites and stings, acne and kidney disorders.

Historical uses and importance of Basil leaves and its essential oil:

Popularly known as the ‘Queen of herbs’ in Ayurveda, Basil is botanically called as Ocimum sanctum. It is grown throughout the world for its spiritual and medicinal uses. Highly regarded as a symbol of ‘Good luck charm’, Basil plant has myriad references in the history of world medicine.

Basil plant has been talked about in the ancient sacred books like Rig Veda and in the Ayurvedic texts including Charaka Samhita. Respected as an elixir of life in Ayurveda, this plant is said to pave way to absolute balance and longevity for its enormous medicinal values.

The oldest historical mention of Basil leaves is in the ancient Hindu mythology, where Basil or Tulsi plant is said to symbolize Vishnupriya, the wife of Lord Vishnu and the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. God Vishnu is honored with the garland made with Basil leaves.

Few other sources state that Tulsi is trusted as a form of Goddess Tulsi and this plant is considered as a symbol of blessedness because it is believed to have grown from the ashes of Goddess Tulsi. Basil plant is worshipped by the married Hindu women in India for being blessed with the faithfulness of Goddess Tulsi.

Known as Bacia-nicola (meaning kiss me Nicholas) in Italy, Basil is regarded as a representation of love and luck and is said to attract man to his lady love. It was used in the ancient Greece in the crowning ceremonies of Kings for purification.

Besides its medicinal values, Basil leaves are also used for culinary purposes for its strong aroma and astringent flavor, especially in Asian cooking. The seeds and leaves of this plant are used in the preparation of an herbal tea, which is said to gift good health and fortune.

The native populace of the Indian subcontinent including the Himalayan areas generally grind the leaves and seeds of Basil plant and blend this with Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), Katuka (Picrorhiza kurroa), Bel Fruit (Aegle marmelos), Sugandi root (Hemidesmus indicus), and Blue Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera). This herbal mixture is then smoked for persuading the vision and dreams.

The tribal population in Australia has reported the use of Basil leaves in the preparation of an herbal tea for supporting the system as a tonic for treating fever, respiratory problems and few other illnesses. The essential oil extracted from Basil leaves also finds its use in the field of herbal cosmetics and in the treatment of skin disorders and numerous other illnesses.

Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Basil essential oil:

The remedial values of Basil oil are cephalic, antifungal, diaphoretic, anti-asthmatic, emmenagogue, antispasmodic, antiseptic, anti-cancer, antidote, anti-oxidant, diuretic, anti-fertility, expectorant, anti-diabetic, anti-malarial, hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory.

The primary chemical components of Basil oil are eugenol, ursolic acid, b-caryophyllene, linalool, oleanolic acid, carvacrol, germacrone D, b-elemene and linolenic acid. Vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and magnesium are few among its nutritional constituents.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Basil Indian essential oil:

Adorably called as Tulsi in India, Basil is the most respected and often talked about herb in the history of Ayurveda. With its divine aroma and holiness, Tulsi is esteemed high for its healing values. These holy leaves are chewed daily in the morning after performing the ritual prayers for cleansing the system, stimulating metabolic functions, supporting the respiratory functions and strengthening the immune system.

Ayurveda is by far the pioneer of the medicinal world with more than 5,000 years of promising existence. It has its roots vested with the ancient India, where its origin has been referred to Atharvaveda, one among the four sacred books of the Indian mythology.  With the literal meaning of ‘knowledge of life’, Ayurveda means more than a method of treating illnesses.

Holding all these prominent reasons, Ayurveda is known as a common sense science. It leads mankind towards a holistic life with the gifts of absolute health, harmony and longevity. The medications prescribed in Ayurveda simply rely on Mother Nature as it trusts that everything on this globe is a vital part of Nature.

With this philosophy, Ayurvedic texts denote that all things on earth including human beings are built up with the same 5 vital building blocks of nature. They are fire, air, water, earth and space. Earth stands for the bones and muscles in the body and represents braveness, stability and vitality. Air is responsible for the functions of the lungs, heart, intestines and joints.

Ether is found all over the body, where the presence of emptiness and cavity exist. Few parts among them are blood vessels, nostrils, bladder and heart. Fire controls the body temperature, metabolic functions and intellectual power. Water is in charge of the fluid functions of the body, including saliva, blood, plasma and mucus.

According to Ayurveda, every individual is a unique entity with a unique individual constitution or Prakriti, which is an arrangement of the 3 biological energies known as doshas. Ayurvedic principles revolve around the pillars of these dynamic forces, which are a combination of the vital elements of nature. They are vata, pitta and kapha doshas.

Every person has a predominance of any one of these doshas, which determines the character, personality, health conditions and behavioral attributes of a person. An individual is claimed to be healthy when there is absolute balance between all the three doshas and imbalances between these doshas end up in illnesses.

Ayurveda prescribes natural remedies like plant essential oils, herbs, meditation, yoga, prayers, Ayurvedic routine along with Ayurvedic healing techniques like Panchakarma (the Ayurvedic detox techniques), Pranayama (art of balanced breathing), Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massaging) etc. These remedies aim at correcting the imbalances of doshas, prevent illnesses and sustain a healthy life even in the late 60s and 70s.

Basil essential oil has heating and neutral energies (virya) and sharp and bitter taste (rasa). It is known for reducing excess of vata and kapha doshas and aggravates pitta dosha. Basil is said to have amazing beneficial effects on the respiratory system, circulatory system, reproductive organs and the digestive system.

The major Ayurvedic health benefits of Basil essential oil are as follows:

Basil-oil-bro1. Alleviates depression, stress and disorders of the autonomic nervous system: Visceral or the autonomic nervous system supports the generation of hormones and its resultant responses in the human system.  It controls the vital functions of the system including breathing, salivation, digestion, heart rate, urination, perspiration, respiratory rate, breathing and sexual feelings.

Problems in the functioning of this involuntary nervous system can result in indigestion, breathing problems, heart disorders, improper blood circulation, depression, nervousness, anxiety, headache, sexual problems and kidney disorders.

Basil essential oil has a balancing effect on the nervous system. This aids in treating anxiety, stress, depression, nervousness, loss of interest and negative emotions. When inhaled by adding 1 drop of Basil oil, 1 drop of Rose Geranium oil and 1 drop of Lavender oil in diffuser or air freshener, can aid in alleviating stress, inspiring positive feelings, elevating the spirits, augmenting memory power and grant the strength to face challenges.

According to the Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita, Tulsi “opens the heart and the mind and distributes the energy of love and devotion.  Basil is sacred to Vishnu and Krishna and strengthens faith, compassion, and clarity.

Tulsi stalks are worn as garlands and strengthen the energy of attachment. Basil imparts divine protection by purifying the aura and invigorating the immune system. It contains natural mercury that, as the seed of Shiva, imparts the germinative power of pure consciousness.”

According to a 2010 study on “Ocimum sanctum Linn. A reservoir plant for therapeutic applications: An overview by Priyabrata Pattanayak,Pritishova Behera, Debajyoti Das and Sangram K. Panda, published in PubMed says, “Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress.

Adding 2 drops of Basil oil in bathing water every morning and night helps in bringing in abundant of constructive thoughts, progressive ideas, encouraging feelings and new-fangled energy to face your new day and relax for a peaceful night. 2 drops of Basil oil added to your air freshener in the night can aid in granting absolute solace and calmness.

Basil has strong effects on the emotions, and can be very strengthening when we are suffering fear or sadness”, says Bryan Miller and Light Miller in their book Ayurveda and Aromatherapy.

2. Enormous benefits to the skin:

Tulsi is a darling remedy when it comes to the protection of skin from various infections and disorders. With its antioxidant and detoxifying properties, Tulsi acts as an excellent skin cleansing and nourishing agent that gifts your skin with a flawless beauty and younger look.

The antifungal and anti-microbial properties of this oil acts as a shield against microbes and aids in the treatment of acne, eczema, scabies, itches, ringworm, athlete’s foot and infectious wounds. The rich presence of Vitamins A and C nourish the skin from within and help in exploring and retaining its natural glow.

The book ‘Ocimum sanctum: The Indian Home Remedy In Current Medical Scene’ have talked about various studies, where the essential oil of Basil “has been found to inhibit in-vitro growth of E. coli, B. anthracis and P. aeruginosa proving its anti-bacterial activity.” It is also said that this oil contains anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.

Massaging your skin with 2 drops of Basil oil blended with 1 drop of Lemon oil, 1 drop of Bergamot oil and 1 drop of Lavender oil along with 2.5 ml of olive oil helps in removing the dead skin cells, reducing pimples, black heads and fading away marks left behind by wounds and acne. You can also apply this blend on wounds, eczema, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, ringworm, scabies, wounds and itches for quicker healing.

3. Nurtures the growth of healthy hair:

Basil has been an important ingredient in numerous Ayurvedic and other herbal preparations for hair care. Take 5 drops of Basil oil, 5 drops of Rosemary oil, 2 drops of Lime oil along with 10 ml of Almond oil and heat this mixture slightly.

Massaging your scalp with this herbal blend helps in promoting the growth of hair by strengthening the hair follicles, reducing dandruff, moisturizing dry scalp and rough hair, controlling itching and enriching the scalp.

4. Alleviates fever and respiratory illnesses:

The anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-malarial properties of Basil essential oil aids in reducing fever. Numerous research studies have reported that Basil oil contains 100 percent insecticidal and larvicidal activities especially against Culex mosquitoes.

Massage your foot soles with 2 drops of Basil oil and 2 drops of Lavender oil blended with 2 ml of coconut oil for reducing fever. Adding 2 drops of Basil oil in your air-freshener or diffuser can be of great assistance in keeping away from insects with its insect-repellant properties.

The therapeutic properties of Basil oil including its anti-microbial and anti-viral attributes helps in arresting the growth of bacteria, virus and other micro-organisms that worsen cold, cough and other respiratory infections. Mucus and phlegm deposits in the system are again a result of excess kapha dosha.

Basil oil is an effective Ayurvedic remedy for lowering excess of kapha dosha that aids in loosening the phlegm and mucus accumulation in the body. 2 drops of Basil oil and 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil added to steam inhalation can grant you instant relief from cold, cough, stiff nose, congestion, sinusitis, whooping cough and blocked nasal passages.

You can also massage your chest, back and throat with 1 drop of Basil oil and 1 drop of Eucalyptus oil mixed with your vaporizing ointment for supporting quicker relief. This oil also helps in strengthening the immune system and helps in fighting against infectious and communicable diseases.

5. Helps control diabetes and the risk of cardiac disorders:

The essential oil of Basil has anti-diabetic properties that aids in the treatment of diabetes by controlling the level of blood sugar. With its diuretic properties, Tulsi promotes frequent urination through which the toxic elements in the system are flushed out and helps to stay energized.

A 2005 study published in the Journal of Indian Physiology and Pharmacology says “eugenol in Basil oil have been found to reduce raised blood sugar, triglyceride and cholesterol levels and activities of LDH, GPT, GOT and alkaline phosphatase in blood serum explaining the therapeutic potentials of Ocimum sanctum as antidiabetic, cardio-protective, hypolipidaemic and hepatoprotective agent.”

The decoction extracted from the whole plant has been recommended in Ayurveda for lowering the level of blood glucose in case of diabetes mellitus. The presence of eugenol and other therapeutic constituents in this oil are also effective in reducing blood cholesterol and blood pressure. With its antioxidant properties, Basil oil is also known for protecting the heart from the effects of harmful free radicals.

Massaging your system with 5 drops of Basil oil, 5 drops of Juniper oil, 5 drops of Myrtle oil and 2 drops of Clove oil along with 20 ml of coconut oil, once in a week can help in controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and blood cholesterol. You can also add 2 drops of Basil oil in your diffuser every day and inhale this magical aroma for enhancing your heart health.

6. Relieves pain and inflammation:

The pain relieving quality of Basil oil is attributed to the presence of eugenol. This contributes to the analgesic, relaxant, nervine and anti-inflammatory qualities of this oil.

Tulsi oil reduces inflammation and swelling with its kapha reducing attribute. Kapha dosha represents the water element in the body and excess of which leads to the amassing of water deposits, built up of toxic substances, uric acid and salts in the system.

Gently massaging the painful and affected parts with 3 drops of Basil oil, 3 drops of Eucalyptus oil and 3 drops of Camphor oil with 5 ml of coconut oil aids in treating pain, rheumatic conditions, arthritis, headache, stiff joints and back pain.

This works by spreading heat in the painful areas with its heating energy, induce frequent urination where the excess water deposits and toxic remains in the system are eliminated.

7. Promotes digestion:

Basil oil has the power to increase ‘Agni’ or the digestive fire in the system with its pitta-enhancing attribute. Pitta dosha symbolizes fire and is responsible for metabolic functions, including digestion, absorption and excretion.

Adding 5 drops of Basil oil in warm compress or massaging your abdomen with 2 drops of Basil oil, 2 drops of Lavender oil and 2 drops of Bergamot oil with 4 ml of sesame oil can aid in promoting the secretion of bile, digestive juices and gastric acids.

This assists in treating indigestion, formation of gas in the stomach and intestines, vomiting, motion sickness, colic, sluggish digestion and intestinal spasms. The anti-microbial property of this oil helps in killing germs and harmful micro-organisms in the stomach and intestines.

Also useful in:

Basil essential oil is also helpful in the treatment of eye problems, oral infections, migraine pain, kidney stones, mouth ulcers, cancerous tumors, Alzheimer’s disease, labour pain and certain other medical conditions.

Disclaimer:

This post is only for the use of education and information. It is not intended for diagnosing, treating or preventing illnesses or substituting expert medical advice or prescribed medicines. We are not medical professionals and this information is shared only for spreading the glory of Ayurvedic remedies, the mother of all healing systems on earth.

Never ingest essential oils and always dilute essential oils before using it for topical applications. This is due to the fact that 100% pure and organic essential oils are extremely concentrated substances.

Avoid using Basil oil if you are pregnant or a nursing mother as it has anti-fertility and anti-estrogenic effects that may cause harm. Speak with your Ayurvedic practitioner/ healthcare professional before selecting the appropriate essential oils for your prakriti or unique individual constitution and medical condition.

Thought for the day:

He that will enjoy the brightness of sunshine, must quit the coolness of the shade.  -Samuel Johnson

Suggested Reading:

  1. Tulsi Holy Basil: The “Queen of Herbs” in Ayurveda, TCM and Homeopathy (Learning Medicinal Herbs within India’s Ancient Ayurvedic Medicine Book 2) by Ryder Management Inc.
  2. Fragrance & Wellbeing: Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche by Jennifer Peace Rhind
  3. Ayurveda: The A-Z Guide To Healing Techniques From Ancient India by Dr. Helen Mary Thomas
  4. Basil Recipes: Cooking with the King of Herbs (Quick and Easy Series) by Dogwood Apps
  5. The Basil Supplement: Alternative Medicine for a Healthy Body (Health Collection) by William Wagner

Reference Links:

  1. Ocimum tenuiflorum by Wikipedia
  2. Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review by Prakash. P and Gupta. N published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
  3. Ocimum sanctum Linn. A reservoir plant for therapeutic applications: An overview by Priyabrata Pattanayak,Pritishova Behera, Debajyoti Das and Sangram K. Panda, published in Pharmacognosy review (PubMed)
  4. Health Benefits of Basil or Tulsi Value Food Info
  5. Basil by Bryan Miller and Light Miller published in the book Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide To Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing

Calamus Oil


Calamus-bannerOften acclaimed as an ideal herb for meditation and introspection, Calamus is recommended by saints, yogis and Ayurvedic philosophers for enhancing the functions of the brain, improving memory power, increasing intellectual capacity and for stimulating proper circulation to the brain.

The essential oil of Calamus is extracted from the root of the Calamus plant, scientifically known as Acorus Calamus or Sweet flag by steam distillation method.

The Sanskrit name of Calamus is Vacha, which means ‘speech’ and the primordial sages and religious Gurus have believed Calamus to facilitate human beings to articulate from their highest inner consciousness.

Ayurveda recommends Calamus herb for its power to fortify the adrenal gland and for its effectiveness in treating neuralgia, dysmennorhea or painful periods, memory loss, epilepsy, gingivitis, lack of stamina, lymphatic drainage, asthma, hysteria, deafness, sinusitis, lack of consciousness and trauma.

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Historical uses and importance of Calamus root and its essential oil:

Calamus is native to Asia and Europe and has been found growing across Australia, South Africa, North America, New Guinea and Reunion. It has its name mentioned in the Old Testament and was talked about in Exodus as an element of the sacred anointing oil of the Bible.

It was also denoted in the Chester Beatty papyrus VI, which approximately dates back to 1300 BC and Papyrus used Calamus with various other ingredients in preparing a bandage to appease stomach ailments.

Calamus has been a vital part of the traditional healing system of various countries for more than thousands of years in the treatment of numerous medical conditions.

The primeval Egyptians trusted Calamus root as a potent aphrodisiac for its effectiveness in augmenting the health of the reproductive system. Calamus was added to wine in Europe and it also forms a part of absinthe.

The Penobscot people believed that Calamus root helped in healing prolonged sickness that was plaguing the people for a long time. They also steamed all through the homes to ward off illnesses and the dried roots were strung together for preservation.

The people of the Potawatomi community used the dried Calamus root powder for treating catarrh. Indonesians use this aromatic root as a flavoring agent in the preparation of meat, sea foods and other vegetarian cuisines.

The warriors of Teton-Dakota applied the root paste on their faces for alleviating fear in the warfront. Calamus essential oil is also used in making perfumes mainly because of its therapeutic properties.

The traditional Turks used this herb for all kinds of infections and it is used in preparing cough drops. It is also been used in the Traditional Chinese medicine, Siddha and Ayurvedic healing systems for its carminative, laxative, sedative and diuretic properties.

Chemical constituents and healing properties of Calamus essential oil:

The primary chemical components of this oil are beta asarone, eugenol, calamusenone, corenone, alpha aselinene, camphone, alpha calacorene, shyobunone, beta gurjunene, calamendiol and iso shyobunine.

The therapeutic properties of Calamus oil are rejuvenative, circulatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-arthritic, cephalic, nervine, tranquilizing, stimulant, decongestant, anti-rheumatic, emetic, anti-periodic, memory boosting, carminative, stomachic, bactericidal and expectorant properties.

Calamus in Ayurvedic Preparations:

Numerous research reports have proved that Calamus is one the most commonly employed ingredient in plenty of Ayurvedic preparations, mainly because of the presence of essential oils in its rhizomes. Ayurvedic medications like kashayam, choornam, ghritham and tailam contain Calamus and are prepared by following the preparation methods mentioned in Sahasrayoga.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Calamus essential oil:

Calamus essential oil is habitually called as a tonic for the brain in Ayurveda. It has been mentioned in Vedas, the holy books as one of the exceptional medicines and Ayurvedic philosophers explored numerous healing benefits of Calamus apart from supporting the functions of the nervous system and brain, for which Calamus still exists as a vital part of various Ayurvedic medicines since 4,000 years.

Perfect health according to Ayurveda is a triangular structure with body, mind and soul as its edges. It is the oldest of all healing systems on earth and is the pioneer to other traditional and modern medicinal methodologies like Homeopathy, Siddha, Traditional Chinese medicine, Unani, Acupressure and Chiropractic.

The greatest thing about this ancient medicinal science is that its healing techniques are documented systematically since its first recordings in Atharvaveda, one among the 4 Vedas or the major sacred books of the Hindu mythology.

This ancient citation was followed by Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, known as Ayurvedic encyclopedias written by the most respected Ayurvedic philosophers Charaka and Sushruta respectively.

“The three – body, psyche, and soul – act as a tripod. The world stands upon them, and within them, the world abides”, says Charaka Samhita. Ayurveda rightly means ‘the knowledge of life’ and this time-honored remedial method assists in providing the consciousness about life and health in every individual.

Ayurveda states that nature is made up of five fundamental elements namely water, earth, fire, air and space and it is also said that everything in nature is also built up with these five energies. When a person’s health is in balance with nature, absolute health prevails and imbalance with nature owing to food, climatic conditions and lifestyle changes causes illnesses.

Being a holistic curative system, where every person is regarded as a special part of nature with a unique individual constitution just like the fingerprints and it consists of three imperative dynamic energies called as doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha and are nothing but a representation of any two elements of nature.

Vata dosha is a combination of air and space, and is responsible for respiration, circulation and for the functions of the nervous system. Kapha signifies earth and water, and is in charge for sustenance, physical structure, movement of fluids in the system and the reproductive health.

Pitta symbolizes fire and water and is accountable for body temperature and metabolic functions like digestion, absorption and excretion. Stability between these three doshas signifies perfect health and inequality causes sickness.

Ayurveda recommends natural remedies including herbs, essential oils, simple physical exercises, yoga, prayers, meditation, Pranayama, Ayurvedic routine, Panchakarma (Ayurvedic techniques for detoxification) and Ayurvedic massaging with natural essential oils.

These remedies are prescribed in such a way to correct the unevenness between the doshas. Calamus essential oil is known to aggravate pitta and pacify kapha and vata dosha.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Calamus oil are:

Calamus-broucher1. Triggers the mind and promotes positive thoughts:

Calamus herb and its essential oil have been witnessed by numerous herbalists and Ayurvedic physicians as an endlessly safe and useful natural remedy for activating the mind and improving the power of thinking.

It is popularly known as a boosting herb for meditating Yogis and Saints, where Calamus is said to help them stay focused and concentrated in their long lasting meditation known as yagna.

Calamus was used in the preparation of tea in the ancient period and was also used in neti pot as a powerful remedy for treating brain conditions. Adding 1 to 2 drops of Calamus essential oil in diffuser, vaporizer, burner or a tissue paper and inhaling the uplifting aroma of this oil can aid in opening the mind, promoting clarity, enhancing the concentration power, mental stability, attention, and the power of positive thinking along with organization of speech.

Learned Ayurvedic research scientist Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa says, “The yogic name, Vacha, means “speech” and refers to its action on the fifth chakra and its propensity to help you speak from your highest consciousness. The complementary energetics makes the combination suitable for a wide variety of people.”

Swami Thirtha calls Calamus as “one of the best mind herbs”, mainly for its effectiveness in fostering sadhaka pitta through which it fortifies the mind’s ability to obtain information and evoke from the memory. The essential oil of Calamus has an invigorating effect on the brain with its warm, woody and medicinal aroma with increasingly sweet after-tones.

Inhaling the therapeutic fragrance of this oil helps in activating the neural pathways and has also been proved powerful in treating neurotic problems. You can also add 2 drops of this oil to warm bathing water for refreshing your mind. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend Vacha oil to persuade positive thoughts.

2. Stimulates the nervous system:

Calamus falls under the ‘sattvic herb’ category in the Ayurvedic medicinal system. All the sattvic varieties are known to enhance and empower the ‘kundalini’ energy or the ‘vital life force’. By this way, Calamus and its essential oil acts as a revitalizing nerve tonic that augments the functioning of the brain.

Massaging your system with 5 drops of Calamus oil mixed with 2 drops of Lavender oil, 2 drops of Lemon oil, 2 drops of Yarrow oil, 2 drops of Cinnamon oil and 2 drops of Patchouli oil along with 10 ml of Virgin Olive oil can aid in rejuvenating your brain and the entire nervous system. This assists in stimulating the cerebral functions, support self-expression and overall nervous health. This massage also assists in promoting peaceful sleep and treating insomnia.

Ayurvedic healing system describes this oil as a nervine tonic and a psychotropic remedy, mainly for its positive effects on learning, boosting memory, recovering from shock and treating depression and anxiety. Calamus herb and its essential oil are recommended by Ayurvedic physicians for confiscating the negative effects and toxic residues of drugs (including the heavy use of marijuana) from the fatty tissues left within brain, liver and the nervous system.

By strengthening the nervous system, this oil is also used in recovering from trauma, post-surgery effects, hysteric attacks, epileptics and certain other nervous problems. Due to its potential to contract the blood vessels and decrease pressure on the Ninth cranial nerve, Calamus oil is used in treating neuralgia.

3. Treats memory loss and augments the intellect:

For its memory-enhancing properties, Ayurveda prescribes Calamus oil as an effective psycho-pharmacological agent and the as one of the best natural remedies for treating epilepsy, mental retardation, syncope and stupor, while augmenting memory power and for retrieving people from traumatic problems.

Calamus is used in Ayurveda to counteract the side effects of hallucinogens. This essential oil has been proved to enhance blood circulation, stimulate neurons and nerves, aiding the body to attain steadiness and attentiveness.

4. Alleviates arthritic and rheumatic pain: According to the Ayurvedic philosophy, excess of kapha dosha is responsible for stagnation of toxic substances known as ama, water deposits, salt, uric acid and other fluids in the body, especially in the joints causing pain and inflammation associated with rheumatism. Calamus essential oil is a known Ayurvedic remedy for reducing excess kapha dosha and helps in lessening pain, inflammation and redness by eliminating stagnated fluids and toxic remains through urine and sweat.

Mix 2 drops of Calamus oil with 2 drops of Ginger oil and 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil along with 3 ml of coconut oil and massaging it gently on the painful area helps in promoting blood circulation, alleviating pain, strengthening the muscles, stimulating the nerves and reducing swelling and other symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis.

Few other notable health benefits:

With its pungent and bitter taste, Calamus oil is said to have excellent benefits to the respiratory system, nervous system and the digestive system. This oil strengthens the digestive system and treats intestinal worms, abdominal pain, flatulence, loss of appetite, chronic gas trouble and loss of taste. Vacha is used in many Indian homes to treat colic in newborn babies since the primeval times. Calamus essential oil effectively treats sinusitis, cold and bronchitis.

Disclaimer:

This information is only for the purpose of education and is not intended to cure, prevent or diagnose any medical condition. It is not directed as a substitute for any prescribed medication or expert medical advice. We are not medical professionals and this data is shared only for the purpose of throwing light on the ancient healing wisdom or the knowledge of life known as Ayurveda.

Never use essential oils internally and ensure that you use them in a diluted form for external use, as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated liquids. Keep essential oils out of reach of children and it is always recommended to do a small patch test on your skin with the diluted essential oil. Speak with your healthcare expert or your Ayurvedic physician before choosing the appropriate essential oils for your unique individual constitution or prakriti and health condition.

Calamus Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

calamusGreener Life Diamond – Bio-Healthy Score => 3 – Possible Skin Issues:

See => http://www.essentialdepot.com/GreenerLifeDiamond.html

The essential oil of Calamus should be strictly avoided during pregnancy as it has the potent to stimulate contractions in the uterine cavity and induce menstruation, being an emmenagogue and might lead to miscarriage or abortion. It is also advisable to restrict the use of Calamus oil during breastfeeding.

Many studies suggest that Calamus oil may have carcinogenic or cancer causing effects and might be toxic when used in excess. The prime chemical constituents responsible for its adverse effects are β-asarone (about 78.4%), α-asarone (about 6.8%) and methyleugenol (about 2%) in Acorus Calamus oil, which is of Indian origin. Various in vivo and in vitro studies have witnessed the negative potent of β-asarone in inducing the growth of malignant tumors.

The European Council files β-asarone as “substances which are suspected to be genotoxic carcinogens and therefore no MDI can be set”. According to the 1988 European Community Council, both the European Union and the United Kingdom ‘Standard Permitted Proportion’ of beta-asarone in food flavorings must be 0.1mg/kg.

IFRA (International Fragrance Association) suggests that beta-asarone and alpha-asarone should not be used as fragrance ingredients and the safe level of use of Calamus oil in consumer products should not exceed 0.01%. It also recommends that the highest concentration of methyleugenol in leave-on products like body lotion should not exceed 0.00004%.

Essential oils are highly concentrated substances and must be used in a diluted condition with safe carrier oils like coconut oil. It is meant only for topical application and it is not recommended to take essential oils internally.

Ingestion of Calamus oil may end up in creating hallucinations, convulsions and potent toxicity. Acorus Calamus is one among the 30 unsafe herbs listed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

According to the studies conducted in 1976 and 1977, Calamus oil is non-phototoxic and non-sensitizing when tested (patch testing with 2% Calamus oil) on 200 consecutive patients with dermatitis.

This warning is relevant to leave-on skin care products like creams, body lotions, massage oils and balms and not for wash-off items like shampoos and soaps.

Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Calamus Oil:

  1. Acorus Calamus: Scientific Validation of Ayurvedic Tradition from Natural Resources Pulok Kumar Mukherjee, Venkatesan Kumar, Mainak Mal & Peter J. Houghton, published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology
  2. MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF ACORUS CALAMUS Kumar Amit, Vandana, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, published in the Journal of Drug Delivery & Therapeutics
  3. Acorus Calamus by Examine.com
  4. Effects of asarone and β-asarone on conditioned responses, fighting behaviour and convulsions by P. C. Dandiya and M. K. Menon, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology and Chemotherapy
  5. Calamus by Drugs.com
  6. Toxicity of Acorus calamus rhizome powder from Eastern Nepal to Sitophilus granarius (L.) and Sitophilus oryzae (L.) (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) by R.B. Paneru , G.N.J. le Patourel , S.H. Kennedy published in Science Direct
  7. Acorus Calamus: An overview R. Balakumbahan*, K. Rajamani and K. Kumanan, Horticultural Research Station, Tamilnadu Agricultural University, Pechiparai, TN,  India, published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research
  8. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young

Thought for the day:

Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.  

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Suggested Reading:

  1. Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization by Dr. David Frawley
  2. Herbal Vade Mecum: 800 Herbs, Spices, Essential Oils, Lipids, Etc.-Constituents, Properties, Uses, and Caution by Gazmend Skenderi
  3. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications
    by Christian Ratsch, Albert Hofmann
  4. The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World’s Oldest Healing System by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Michael Tierra
  5. New Choices in Natural Healing: Over 1,800 of the Best Self-Help Remedies from the World of Alternative Medicine by Doug Dollemore

Reference Links:

  1. Acorus Calamus by Wikipedia
  2. Detection of Acorus Calamus in Ayurvedic preparations by Europe PubMed Central
  3. Vacha: Brain Tonic by Dr. R. Vatsyayan, Ayurvedacharya
  4. Clarify Your Communication with Calamus by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa published in 3HO
  5. Herb of the season, Vacha (Calamus, Acorus calamus) by Sai Ayurvedic College
  6. Vacha (Acorus Calamus Linn.): A Valuable Medicinal Plant, published in the International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research


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