Basil is an herb. The parts of the plant that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.
Basil is used for stomach spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, kidney conditions, fluid retention, head colds, warts, and worm infections. It is also used to treat snake and insect bites.
Women sometimes use basil before and after childbirth to promote blood circulation, and also to start the flow of breast milk.
Some people use it as a gargle.
In foods, basil is used for flavor.
How does it work?
- Acne. Early research suggests that applying a gel containing basil and sweet orange essential oils to the skin for 8 weeks might help clear breakouts in people with acne.
- Mental fatigue. Early research suggests that aromatherapy with basil, peppermint, and sandy everlasting essential oils might reduce mental fatigue in some people.
- Head colds.
- Loss of appetite.
- Intestinal gas.
- Stomach spasms.
- Kidney disorders.
- Blood circulation.
- Snake and insect bites.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
Basil is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in food amounts.
Basil is POSSIBLY SAFE for adults when taken by mouth as a medicine, short-term. In some people basil can cause low blood sugar.
The above-ground parts of basil and basil oil are POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth as a medicine, long-term. These contain estragole, a chemical that might increase the risk of getting liver cancer.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Basil is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts are POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Basil contains a chemical, estragole, which has caused liver cancer in laboratory mice.
Children: Basil is LIKELY SAFE for children in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts are POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Basil contains a chemical, estragole, which has caused liver cancer in laboratory mice.
Bleeding disorders: Basil oils and extracts might slow blood clotting and increase bleeding. In theory, basil oils and extracts might make bleeding disorders worse.
Low blood pressure: Basil extracts might lower blood pressure. In theory, taking basil extracts might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.
Surgery: Basil oils and extracts might slow blood clotting. In theory, basil oils or extracts might increase the risk for bleeding during surgical procedures. Stop using basil at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
The appropriate dose of basil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for basil. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.