As a natural anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibiotic and diuretic, basil has been used in traditional Asian Indian medicine practices for years. In the 16th century, the leaves were used to treat migraines and chest infections. And centuries ago, Italian women wore basil to attract possible suitors.
Basil essential oil benefits include:
- Fighting bacteria
- Fighting infections
- Reducing disease-causing inflammation
- Fighting free radical damage
- Fighting viruses
- Relieving congestion
- Increasing urine output
- Stimulating the nervous system
- Stimulating the adrenal cortex
While fresh basil herbs are also beneficial and a great way to flavor recipes, basil essential oil is much more concentrated and potent. The compounds found in basil oil are steam-distilled from fresh basil leaves, stems and flowers to form an extract that contains high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial phytochemicals.