Emotionally, basil is both stimulating and soothing. It energizes the mind while, at the same time, relieves doubts and fears and lightens our burdens. Basil moderates a tendency to be too blunt, outspoken, or independent. Basil is used in treatments for depression, hysteria, nervous tension, and mental fatigue.
Basil stimulates the adrenal cortex and strengthens the nerves, making it beneficial for mental fatigue, headaches, insomnia, fainting, loss of the sense of smell, memory loss, and poor concentration. Basil strengthens the digestive function, being of particular use with hiccups, flatulence, indigestion, and vomiting. Basil has strong antispasmodic and expectorant properties. It calms muscle spasms from injury or fatigue and alleviates coughs. The antispasmodic properties quiet dry coughs. The expectorant properties keep mucus from building up in the lungs. Basil is also analgesic, providing pain relief when applied to the body. Basil is excellent applied undiluted to insect bites and stings, and in Indian (Eastern) medical lore, is listed as a remedy for snake bite. Many people like basil, either diluted and applied to the chest, or inhaled, in the treatment of chronic colds, earaches, and mucus. The hormonal properties of basil, being yang moving toward yin, have a specific affinity for prostate problems in men.
The action of basil on the system resembles both peppermint and thyme in many ways. In a bath, even a drop or two produces an interesting sensation of tiny pin pricks as it increases circulation to the capillaries just under the skin.