We often hear about basil when we watch cooking shows. It is that little plant that you can mix in with your morning toast, chicken, pasta, salad, and you can even put them right on top of your pizza. But did you know that basil has several other uses, aside from being an ingredient in many of your favorite meals? For example, it can be used for many medicinal purposes, such as for reducing inflammation, improving digestion, and managing diabetes.
5 Best-Selling Basil Plants
But that is not all. Aside from all these uses, did you know that basil can also be used to repel unwanted organisms such as mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, flies, thrips, hornworms, and other bugs? It is also effective against the larvae of mosquitoes. The efficacy of basil as a repellent is said to be due to its camphor, limonene, myrcene, and thymol content. On the other hand, eugenol and estragole are responsible for their larvicidal activity.
What makes this plant a good alternative to chemical repellents that can be found in the market is that they are less harmful to beneficial organisms, as well as to humans residing nearby.
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Steps to Use Basil as a Repellent
1. Plant Your Basil
Growing basil is ideal particularly if you reside in an area that has a warm climate. Moisten the soil wherein you plan to grow your basil. Also, make sure that the soil is well-drained. Plant your seeds in a pot with peat-free multi-purpose compost, then transfer resulting seedlings in individual pots containing peat-free soil-based compost.
Water your basil plant regularly. Ensure that they get sufficient amounts of sunlight each day as well. You can use the resulting plant as a source of leaves that you can use as a repellent, but guess what, your basil plant can also repel pests even without you picking off its leaves! This brings us to our second step, which is toâ€¦
2. Do Companion Planting
Many plants are harmed by pesky organisms such as hornworms and thrips. Fortunately, basil is effective in repelling these pests and so if you want to protect your backyard plants from these then try growing basil around these plants.
However, be careful when doing this, since, on the downside, basil may attract other unwanted organisms such as Japanese beetles.
3. Position Them Strategically
Have you ever tried hanging out on your front porch in the evening only to end up wanting to go back inside your house because there are so many insects flying around your face and buzzing in your ear? Instead of buying contraptions and repellents for bugs and pests that are ruining the peaceful atmosphere of your house, make use of basil plants!
Just put one plant in a pot, and place them in areas where the bugs, pests, or insects often are and youâ€™re good to go!
4. Tear The Leaves Into Pieces
A more effective way of using basil as a repellent is by shedding its leaves. Just get some basil, tear the leaves into tiny pieces by hand or mince them using a knife, and put the resulting pieces in containers that you can position in different insect-infested spots throughout your house.
You can even use basil leaves as an alternative to the potpourri you put in that little bowl in the middle of your coffee table!
5. Turn It Into Powder
Obtain basil leaves. Keep the leaves in the dark for about one week to let it dry. Let the leaves turn into powder by using an electric blender. After this, store the resulting powder in a glass container, then cover the container with aluminum foil to keep the powder away from sunlight, which may reduce its efficacy. You can mix the powder with water and spray the resulting mixture onto the plants that you want to protect
6. Use It as a Rub
When you are heading to someplace that you know is likely to be packed with bugs, the tendency is you are going to purchase a repellent from the pharmacy or the grocery store. However, while these may be undoubtedly effective, you should also be careful when using such products because for some people, they may result in irritation, redness, or rashes.
You can use basil as a more natural alternative to repellents available in the market. Just grab some leaves, crush them (you may use a mortar and pestle for this step), and rub it onto your skin.
7. Let It Burn
Before diving straight into burning some basil, dry them first. One way by which this can be done is by laying its leaves out on trays. Make sure that the herbs you are going to burn are fresh.
Keep the trays in a paper bag or a dark corner in your house. It is important to keep the leaves away from sunlight since it may reduce the efficacy of the herb. Once the leaves have dried up, burn them. The resulting smoke shall be able to repel unwanted pests.
8. Purchase Basil Essential Oil
You can try extracting the oil by yourself, but while it would seem like a nice DIY activity, itâ€™s quite difficult, most often it is done in laboratories since it requires certain tools and kits that you canâ€™t have at home. So if you donâ€™t want to bring basil leaves around with you if you want to use it as a natural repellent, you can buy a bottle of basil essential oil.
There are many bottled basil essential oils for sale online or in physical stores. Having a bottle with you is more efficient and handy, and also it will save you a lot of time.
Health Benefits of Basil
- High in antioxidants
- Help reduce stress
- Helps to prevent cancer
- Reduce high sugar levels.
- Help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure which prevent having heart disease.
- Improves your mental health as it can alleviate anxiety and depression.
- Lowers the risk of inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, and bowel issues.
As they say, looks can be deceiving. And this just might apply to the basil plant. While it is a pretty small plant that can be easily overlooked as nothing but a source of herbs for someoneâ€™s recipe, you will be surprised to find out it can be used for many other things, such as an insect, bug, or pest repellent. Plant one in your yard or a pot now and you will never have to run to the store to buy chemical-based repellents ever again!