Basil, Sweet Basil

Spring means new flavors and fresh ingredients! Here’s something we shared back in May on one of our favorite herbs: Basil!

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Hello Friends!

Today I want to share the healing properties of a plant many of us think of as a cooking herb: basil, specifically sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum). Basil doesn’t just smell amazing and taste delicious in pasta dishes. Basil essential oil is helpful for a variety of health needs.

Now, the first thing to know with basil essential oil is that chemical properties can vary from oil to oil. It’s important to know exactly what properties your basil oil possesses for maximum effect. (This is where a certified aromatherapist can help 😉.

Basil is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. It is also a wonderful digestive aid and helps the digestive system to overcome nausea and vomiting. It’s also great for chest colds as it has expectorant properties.

Wonderful physical benefits aside, basil also helps with mental and emotional health (which, as we think holistically, we know to also be a part of the body!). Basil helps to increase confidence and motivation and is great to boost mental clarity and happy emotions.

So remember all this next time you add basil leaves to your favorite dish! No wonder it’s such a favorite!

How do you like to use basil in food and around the house?

What basil benefit are you most interested in?

(All information comes from my wonderful teacher Liz Fulcher and her data sheets on essential oils for the Aromatic Wisdom Institute.)

 

“Home Herbal” by Penelope Ody

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When a friend first lent me this book nearly twenty years ago, I was in awe. So much knowledge in a small, easy to read book!

Home Herbal looks at health needs according to age, herbs that can be used medicinally for all manner of maladies, practical ways to use and prepare herbal remedies, and common complaints with instructions on how to treat them. Through beautiful pictures and expert advice, my knowledge was expanded. I got so excited! Mullein and St. John’s wort and calendula and arnica and licorice! Tinctures and infusions and emulsions and ointments!

This book helped me learn to treat my chronic bronchitis (with mullein) and set me on a road to looking at health and medicine differently than I ever had before. I got my own copy and I still keep it as a reference for using herbal remedies. Check it out yourself; you won’t be sorry! It’s an invaluable tool for anyone wanting to learn more about holistic health. Click the picture below to find it on Amazon for a penny!

Have you ever read Home Herbal? What do you think?

What resources have been invaluable to you in your journey towards healthful living?

What is Holistic Health?

On this blog we talk a lot (and will talk a lot) about “holistic health.” But what does that mean?

What is Holistic

By definition, holistic means “relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts” (merriam-webster.com).

Whereas mainstream medicine treats individual health issues as they pop up (say a cold), holistic medicine is concerned with caring for the entire body as well as the mind.

This is why aromatherapy is considered holistic – when I am consulting with someone who’d like an essential oil blend, I don’t just dump in a bunch of oils that are good for the common cold. I probe deeper. I ask the person if they have any allergies, if they’ve been going through a stressful time, or how their mood has been. All these and other factors affect how I treat what seems to be the simplest of problems – a cold.

This might sound exhaustive or even a little unnecessary, but think about it. Our bodies are a collection of systems working together to keep us alive and well. The respiratory system is not independent of the cardiac system, nor is the muscular system independent of the nervous system. They all work together and rely on each other.

It follows, then, that a health issue affecting one will affect the other. If the immune system is struggling, the entire body will respond in order to fill in the deficiency. This is why I believe a holistic approach is so important: a cold does not just affect your nose or your throat. The rest of the body doesn’t just let your nose fall of and say “well the rest of us are fine!” Your entire immune system is weakened, your mood is affected, and it’s harder to carry out everyday tasks as usual. Cutting off your nose would not make this better!

So I hope this helps clear up any misconceptions you may have about holistic health, or at least clarifies for you what it even is. Holistic medicine is a bit of a fad right now, and as such it is easy to think that this or that is what holistic health means. But really the concept is simple. How you practice it and how it plays out in your individual life will look different to different people.

And honestly, that’s the spirit of holistic health: everyone’s different, with different bodies and health needs and reactions. Medicine should help each individual body and mind the way that they specifically need it. If you believe that, then congratulations! You’re thinking holistically.

What comes to mind when you think of holistic health?

Does this post clear up any misconceptions, answer any questions, or spark more?

Let me know in the comments below!