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The Alluring Magickal Properties of Basil

Hi, my loves and welcome to WiccaNow. Recently I’ve been sharing guides to all my favourite magickal herbs and plants, like this post all about the magickal properties of hibiscus. I’ve also shared a post about lemons, another about patchouli, a post all about yarrow and most recently a guide to the magickal properties of sunflowers. Today I want to continue with this by sharing a guide to one of my favourite herbs, today’s guide is all about the magickal properties of basil.

Basil is an ancient healing herb used for centuries in Ayuverdic medicine to treat everything from snakebites to inflammation. Originally from Asia, basil is now found in various cultivars all over the world. The magickal properties of Basil include luck, prosperity, abundance, protection and harmony among many others.

botanical illustration of basil from 1796 for magickal properties of basil

Disclaimer: Any medicinal benefits given here are a product of my own research and as such should not be taken over the advice of trained medical professionals. If you are ill, please go and see a doctor. Always make sure that anything you consume is 100% safe. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor or midwife before consuming something you haven’t tried before.

History of Basil

Basil, also known as Ocimum Basilicum, is a member of the wide-reaching Lamiaceae family. The Lamiaceae family also contains mint, sage, rosemary and lavender. 

Basil is thought to have originated in India and it’s been cultivated for over 5,000 years during which time it’s spread to all corners of the earth. Its exact origins are a little unclear as there is some evidence, in the form of ancient records from 807AD, which suggest that it might have originated in the Hunan region of China rather than in India. 

From India, basil was carried to the Middle East where the Ancient Egyptians used it as part of their mummification process (maybe due to its strong anti-fungal effects). Traces of it have been found in plenty of ancient Egyptian mummies. Due to its use in burials, it became known as a mourning herb. 

By 350BC it had made it’s way to Greece and Italy via spice trading routes from where it spread all over Europe. It quickly became a common culinary, medicinal and religious herb. 

basil plants flowering

Interestingly, during medieval times, people assumed that basil was poisonous. This was due to the fact that basil and rue don’t like to grow next to each other, and as rue was considered to be an antidote to many poisons, basil was thought to be toxic.

In the 1500s, some “physicians” thought that scorpions would grow in your brain if you smelled basil. This is due to one English gentleman in Italy who wrote that leaving a basil leaf in a damp place ensured that a scorpion would appear there 2 days later. There are even anecdotal references by other physicians to patients dying from scorpion infestations due to smelling basil too often. Obviously this wasn’t something that actually happened.

Basils journey through Europe brought it to England by the 1600s, and from there it was brought to the Americas. Today there are over 150 different cultivars of basil and it’s found all over the world. 

Fun Facts about Basil

  • Basil was a disliked plant in Ancient Greece, where it represented hate and was thought to be a symbol of Satan. 
  • There is a form of basil which is revered in Hinduism. This basil is called “holy basil” or “tulsi”.
tulsi basil for the magickal properties of basil
While similar, you notice the difference between a common garden basil and tulsi basil right? Tulsi basil has much smaller leaves and woodier stems.
  • The French sometimes refer to basil as L’herbe royale or “royal herb”.
  • Jewish folklore suggests that consuming basil (presumably an infusion of basil in water) while fasting will make you feel stronger. 
  • In the Greek Orthodox Church, basil leaves are used to sprinkle holy water. There are a lot of Eastern European Orthodox Churches who do the same thing, and basil is often placed on, next to or below the church altar. 
  • In Europe, placing basil leaves in the hands of a deceased person is meant to ensure safe passage into the next life. In India placing a basil lead into the mouth of someone who is dying ensures that they make their way to god. 
  • Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks thought that basil would ensure that the heavenly gates remained open for recently deceased souls. Funny since other ancient Greeks believed that Basil represented Satan. 
  • There are quite a few varieties of basil seeds which will absorb quite a bit of water and become gelatinous. These seeds are often used in Asian drinks and desserts.
  • Basil is a traditional herb used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
  • Basil was once used to see if a woman was “pure” or not. She was given basil and if it withered in her hands she was considered “impure”. 
  • The name “Ocimum” comes from Greek mythology where a warrior named Ocimus was killed by a gladiator. Where he died, basil sprung up. It’s also equally possible that the name is derived from the Greek word “Okimon” which means fragrant. 
  • Basilicum originates from another Greek word, namely “basileus” which means “kingly”. Basil was considered the king of herbs since it first grew on the cross Christ died on. The name might also originate from the fact that Romans believed eating basil would prevent them from being killed by a Basilisk. 
  • Basil is linked to the Indian goddess Lakshmi. Stories say that she was turned into a basil plant by a rival. While this didn’t harm her in the slightest and she was easily able to attain her previous form, she did imbue basil with some of her essence. She is a goddess associated with good fortune which is why basil is considered a luck-bringing plant.
  • Basil is the most common herb used to make pesto.
basil pesto in a jar with basil leaves and a spoon around it
A good pesto filled with fragrant basil, toasted pine nuts and parmesan must be one of the most delicious things ever.

Medicinal Benefits of Basil

As mentioned earlier, tulsi basil has been a staple herb in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It was used to treat snakebites, inflammation of the nasal passages and for common colds. There are many different varieties of basil and not all of them are equally medicinally effective. If you plan on using basil for health reasons, always make sure that you are using a variety that is actually medicinally beneficial. 

  • Basil oil is anti-fungal and helps to repel insects. Its thought that it might even be toxic for mosquitoes. 
  • Supports liver health
  • Contains antioxidants which may help to protect the skin from the effects of ageing
  • May help to reduce high blood sugar
  • May help to reduce high blood pressure, albeit very briefly
  • May help to relieve anxiety and stress
  • May prevent memory loss caused by ageing
  • Might increase your ability to think and reason
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • May help with nausea
  • May help to reduce damage caused by strokes and might aid in recovery
  • May thin your blood

Magickal Properties of Basil

Basil is a common addition to money and success spells (I’ve already mentioned this in my article about the best herbs for drawing money to you). Keep a leaf in your wallet to draw success to you or make a 3-day infusion of basil in water, then add it to a mop bucket and mop your entire house with basil water to call success to your household. This would also work in your place of work. 

If you want to repel someone who has feelings for you which you don’t return, place basil under your bed and let it wilt while thinking about the person you want to discourage. This also works if you want to stop having feelings for someone who has made it clear they don’t share the same feelings. Simply do the same thing but think about your feelings fading away rather than about the other person.

Plant basil outside your home to repel negative energies and malevolent intent. If you keep basil inside, you are calling prosperity to you, just make sure to keep the basil plant nice and healthy for it to work at full effect. 

basil water gif
Don’t let your basil plants die!

Basil makes a great addition to a love charm as it invites success in love. Giving a basil plant to a newly married couple is thought to ensure that their marriage status sweet and prosperous. If you want to call love to yourself, give the person who you are interested in a basil plant or cook them a meal with basil in it. 

Other Magickal Properties of Basil
  • Prosperity
  • Abundance
  • Protection
  • Divination
  • Success
  • Peace
  • Courage
  • Strength
  • Stress
  • Purification
  • Happiness
  • Love
  • Travel


Deities – Lakshmi, Ares, Krishna and Vishnu


Zodiac – Scorpio, Aries and Pisces

Planet – Mars

Element – Fire

Gender – Masculine

Crystals – Aventurine, tigers eye, citrine and ruby

the magickal associations of basil illustrated
The magickal associations of Basil

So, my lovelies, I hope this guide gives you all the info you were looking for about the magickal properties of basil! May your days be filled with success, your nights filled with love and your energies stay strong and protected. 

Until next time,

Blessed be,

Amaria xx