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code: 11161


Latin Binomial: Ocimum basilicum ct linalol
Plant Part: Herb
Extraction: Steam Distilled
Growing Practice: Ethical
Country of Origin: Nepal
Odor Type: SPICY


Odor Characteristic Odor is sweet-spicy, green undertone, fresh with faint balsamic-woody notes and a lasting sweetness. Some basil oils can have an anisec note.

Refractive Index: 1.47950 to 1.48950 @ 20.00 °C.
Specific Gravity: 0.89000 to 0.93000 @ 25.00 °C.
Appearance: pale yellow to yellow colour liquid
BioChemical Class: alcohol, phenol ethers
BioChemicals: Main components %

1,8-cineoloe 3-27

Methyl-chavicol 0-30

Methyl eugenol 0-7

Eugenol 0-7

Z-methyl cinnamate 0

E-methyl cinnamate 0

Linalool 44-69

β-caryophyllene 0.7-14.4

There is enormous variation in the components within and between groups

Sweet Basil has GRASS status
CAS No: 8015-73-4

About the Plant

Ocimum basilicum is a culinary aromatic herb of major importance from the Lamiaceae family native to tropical Asia/India, having spikes of small white flowers and aromatic leaves. Grown as a perennial in warm tropical climates. It grows to 3 ft. high, with opposite, green, silky leaves and flowers arranged in a terminal spike. Basil is sensitive to cold and grown as an annual in northern climes.


Basil's name is thought to originate from the Greek, basilikon, meaning "kingly or royal." In the first century A.D., the Roman naturalist, Pliny, reported that Basil relieves flatulence, which has been subsequently proven true. In the Far East, the herb had been used as a cough medicine, and in Africa, it has been used to expel worms. American colonists considered Basil the essential ingredient in a snuff that was used to ease headaches. In India, Basil was held in such high esteem that it was used in courts to swear upon, and next to the Lotus it was considered one of the most sacred plants. This plant was used as an embalming herb in Ancient Egypt, and in some parts of Mexico, Basil is carried in one's pocket to attract money and to keep a lover faithful. The above ground portion of this plant is used medicinally, and primary chemical constituents of Basil include essential oil (estragol, eugenol, lineol, linalol), caffeic acid, tannins, beta carotene and vitamin C. The essential oil obtained from this plant contains camphor. Basil is aromatic and carminative and will help to expel flatulence, and ease griping pains in the abdomen. One of the varieties of Basil, Holy basil Ocimum tenuiflorum is sacred in the Hindu religion. The goddess, Tulasi is thought to have manifested into the plant. A widely known version of this legend states that, "Tulasi was tricked into betraying her husband when she was seduced by the god Vishnu in the guise of her husband. In her torment, Tulasi killed herself, and Vishnu declared that she would be "worshipped by women for her faithfulness" and would keep women from becoming widows . Thus, holy basil, which also goes by the common name Tulsi, an obvious reference to the goddess, became a Hindu symbol of love, eternal life, purification and protection.
Aromatherapy: Uses have included: as a nerve tonic, strengthening concentration, calming hysteria and lifting (moderate) depression, headaches & migraines, sinus congestion, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, influenza, restoring sense of smell due to catarrh, digestive disorders, vomiting, gastic spasm, nausea and dyspepsia. (Ryman 1991; Lawless 1992; Rose 1992; Price 1993; Sheppard-Hanger 1995) Aromatherapy massage uses: Most notable massage therapy use is powerful antispasmodic action on smooth muscle (Reiter/Brandt 1985). Effective used in abdominal massage for irritible bowel syndrome, colic and spasm of digestive tract. Appears to have stimulating effect on digestion and may be helpful in treating low appetite and nausea, either in massage or diffused (Martin, I 2007) The 1,8 cineol content of sweet basil essential oil could perhaps be useful for clearing sinuses and ameliorating catarrh, which is supported by its antimichrobial activity in vitro. The high linalool content (shown to relax smooth muscle in vitro) could at high concentrations be also beneficial in vivo. There is no scientific evidence for the usefullness of basil essential oil in childbirth and other female problems.(Lis-Balchin 2006) Note: There appears to be contridiction regarding reports of soothing action of massage and affecting stimulation. See Safety tab.

Perfumery: Sweet basil essential oil is a classic perfume material and adds interesting notes to chypres, crepe de chines nad certain modern green perfumes. It blends especially well with opopanas and bergamot, clary sage, lime and oakmoss. Suggested dilutions are .30 to mg% with a minimum perceptable range of .04 to .10 mg%.

Herbal: While most herbalists prefer other, more effective herbs, basil is still recommended for a variety of home remedies. The herb is a carmenative, meaning that it relieves gas, and when brewed in tea is said to aid digestion. Basil tea may also be useful for relieving stomach cramps, vomiting and constipation.

An interesting research paper from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry regarding affect of light reflected from colored mulch and phenol content of sweet basil. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0012648

The linalol chemotype of basil essential oils is generally regarded as safe for external use. However, Tisserand and Balacs recommend that the methyl chavicol chemotype should not be used in aromatherapy, either internally or externally because of the carcinogenic and hepatotoxic nature of methyl chavicol. To confuse us further, research in Germany into the toxicology of methyl chavicol states: "It is concluded that no dangers exist for human health, as long as normal intake of these products take place. Much of this data used by the EU Scientific Committee for Food were from laboratory studies with rats and mice, consuming high doses." This leads us to continue to look further for comprehensive and recent research.

Because a loss of spontaneous contractions in the uterus of experimental rats in vitro, caution is advised during any time of pregnancy and parturition. (Lis-Balchin 2006) There is cant pharmacological information available for basil oils suggest that it should not be used in cases of cancer (Tisserand/Balacs, 1995) and in cases of hepatic disease. There is not enough data to predict carcinogenic effects of methyl chavicol in basil oil reliably, therefore basil oils are not recommended in aromatherapy massage for babies or children.


Oral LD50 1.4 < 3.5 g/kg body weight (rat)

Dermal LD50 > 1.5 g/kg (rabbit)

No irritation or sensitization at 4% (human). Note: methyl chavicol is a sensitizer, therefore more exotic basil oils may cause sensitization in some people. Other chemotypes have not been tested. (Lis-Balchin 2006)

RIFM recommended safety of use limits: 4%

The information provided on these pages is not a substitute for necessary medical care, nor intended as medical advice. Always keep aromatic extracts tightly closed and in a cool, dark place, out of reach of children. Never ingest aromatic extracts. Always dilute aromatic extracts when applying topically and avoid areas around eyes or mucous membranes. If redness or irritation occurs, stop using immediately and contact your health provider if necessary.