The latin botanical name of basil is Ocimum Tenuiflorum or Ocimum Sanctum. This is the same regular basil we buy at the grocery store. There is another species of basil with the Latin name Ocimum Basilicum (also known as Thai Basil). Chances are you have encountered sweet basil because over the last couple of years it has gone mainstream. This sweet basil is native to Southeast Asia although it has become the herb of choice in Italian cuisine thanks to a sweet tangy flavor. I point this out to demonstrate the importance of understanding the latin botanical classifications of plants because it’s the only way to know for sure what you are putting on your scalp and face.
Given its sacred history going back at least 5,000 years, the importance of holy basil in holistic nutrition makes sense. Basil has been documented to help with respiration especially during a cold, dissolve kidney stones, headaches, digestive problems, diabetes, insect bites, blood purification and more recently for it’s alkalinity and therefore ability to create a hostile environment in which cancer cells cannot thrive. A cousin of the mint family, basil has antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which inhibit bacterial infections that cause breakouts. Basil is far gentler than its mint cousins so there are no precautions when using it as a wet, dry or powdered herb. Like all essential oils, the volatile oil of basil is extremely potent and should be used with precaution (This is good practice for all essential oils anyway).
Because of the tingling sensation on my scalp, I checked to make sure it wouldn’t be too extreme on my face before using the left overs as a scrub and mask. Most recipes I have come across are typically a mixture of basil, besan (chick pea flour) and yoghurt or milk. I figured this was to balance the basil’s stimulation but I found my skin can tolerate this basil mix pretty well; probably because my mixing ingredients were moisturizing coconut water and aloe vera juice. Always do your due diligence; do not slather things on your face or hair without questioning potential outcomes.
- Thick grainy consistency is difficult to work with because it won’t cling to strands or scalp. This is very similar to brahmi, in fact if you look at this photo from profiling brahmi, the two powders look identical and have the same “swelling” effect on my hair.
- Exceptionally pleasant aroma (assuming you like basil to begin with).
- Basil has a light and soothing tingling sensation (no where near peppermint, garlic or cayenne). The intensity depends on your personal threshold but for me it was a very mild sensation.
- Like mint (although with a much lower intensity), basil has an invigorating wake-you-up sensation.
- Messy application but basil does not stain.
- Excellent cleanser that absorbs oil extremely well.
- Post rinsed hair felt somewhat stripped. Conditioning is definitely a must afterwards. I used v05 Shea Cashmere (perfect conditioner for light density hair).
Final Thought: I love how it cleans and it’s scent as well. Basil is potent enough to stand alone as a cleansing mud. However since it has insufficient clinging abilities, I will be mixing it with bentonite clay (similar to this recipe) to improve that aspect of it.
I’m sure the tingling sensation helps to stimulate blood flow from the papilla to the hair follicle. This might explain how basil aids in hair growth. Cleansing and growth..it’s a double win if you ask me!