7 ways to use Basil as medicine!

I grow many different herbs every year and my favorite by far is Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum). Sweet basil is probably the most common type of garden basil available. I've grown several different varieties of basil over the years but always end up coming back to this one. 

Though basil is mostly known for its prominence in Italian cooking it was originally found in India and Asia a solid 5000 year ago. It was also grown in ancient Egypt, possibly for use in embalming.

Sweet basil herb. healing properties

Basil is one of those herbs that almost everyone is familiar with, especially chefs! You've probably used basil when cooking and preparing fresh salads, but did you know that basil also has medicinal properties? 

Basil is a natural anti-inflammatory, has antibacterial properties and is very high in antioxidants. It can be used to soothe the stomach, calm a cough or take the sting out of a bug bite. 

See how much more it does then just taste good? The best part is, most of us have fresh basil growing in our herb gardens or on our window sills. We're growing our own medicine. How convenient is that? 

Medicinal uses for basil

The oils in basil are what make it such a helpful herb but unfortunately they are quite delicate and become weakened with drying. For this reason I try to use fresh basil whenever possible.

Basil, medicinal properties

How to brew and use Basil tea

1) Basil is a member of the mint family so it should come as no surprise that it's often used to settle the stomach. The easiest way to use it is in tea. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil to boiling water and steep for about 5 minutes then strain. Sweeten with raw honey to taste and sip slowly to help with digestive issues. This can also soothe a cough.

2) To soothe a sore throat you can brew a basil tea in the same way but skip the honey and let the tea cool then use it as a gargle.

3) To soothe a headache add about 5 basil leaves to boiling water and continue to boil for a few minutes then cool. Sip slowly. Basil works on headaches because of it's muscle relaxing qualities so this works best on tension headaches.

4) Boil water and add a few chopped basil leaves. Remove from heat and breath the steam in to help with congestion. (don't get close enough to get a steam burn!) May also help with headaches.

Using fresh basil leaves

5) Some migraine sufferers have gotten relief by chewing a basil leaf at the onset of a migraine.

6) Fresh Basil can be crushed and applied to a bug bite or sting to draw out the poisons and stop the itching. I've read that rubbing crushed Basil on a wart daily will help remove it. I haven't tried it, but it couldn't hurt.

Using Basil essential oil

7) Aromatherapy: basil is a very uplifting scent and it has the same stimulating properties as mint. It helps concentration and improves mood. Basil essential oil can be added to a diffuser to gain the benefits of this scent.

Basil for your health

As you can see basil can really come in handy as a medicinal herb on the homestead. WebMD even has a full profile on it! Unfortunately, for all these wonderful properties basil has there is one notable blemish on it's history. 

There were some physicians in the 1500's that believed that smelling too much basil would cause scorpions to breed in your brain! Of course that's not possible, but if ever somebody ever gives you a basil plant.....they might not have the best of intentions.


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I am not a doctor or other health care professional nor do I claim to be. I am not trained in any medical field. I am simply passing on information that has worked for me. This information is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. see a Dr if you are ill. Click for my full disclaimer.


  1. I had no idea I could do some much with basil apart from Pesto and other edible things. These are great tips, thanks. Over from Link it to Me Party

  2. Fascinating! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  3. Isn't it amazing how God provides in so many ways. I'd love to try this for congestion. Thanks for sharing this on The Maple Hill Hop this week.

  4. I am so going to try it on bug bites. We have had a very wet spring and summer. The mosquitos are terrible and they love my ankles! Thanks for the tip!

  5. This goes straight to my garden pins! :)

  6. I use basil essential oils, I am going to have to try it for congestion! Basil has amazing medicinal properties! Thanks for joining the Link-It To Me Link Party, I hope you will party with us again this week!

  7. Amazing! I had no idea. I'm still slowly learning a little about the medicinal uses of herbs. Thank you for sharing at Tuesday's with a Twist, I'm featuring you this week. I hope you share some more and have a fantastic week!!

  8. Great tips! I have not heard of making a tea with basil but perhaps I'll try it. Growing herbs is a special joy in gardening. I'm visiting from Wildcrafting Wednesday.

  9. Basil has so many great things going for it. Learning new things everyday which is awesome

    1. It really does! Plus basil is natural as opposed to drugstore remedies!

  10. I need to have basil on hand it really is great for so many ailments I generally don't get sick often but I have two kids who get a few colds a season

    1. I always grow basil for that very reason! It's pretty easy to grow, even indoors in a pot.

  11. Wow - I had no idea that basil could help with everything from bug bites to migraines. What a versatile herb basil is!

    1. Isn't it? I think it's really cool how something we use everyday has all these hidden medicinal properties.

  12. I'm a basil lover also. I add some purple curly basil to the sweet basil. It has a mild licorice flavor. It's my favorite go to tea!