All About Basil
Basil is used across the world as both an herb and spice. Much research has been done on this aromatic herb that has many health benefits and many chemo-varieties. It is a powerful antioxidant with strong antimicrobial action and can help with wounds, lowering blood sugar, and reducing anxiety. It can be protective to the cardiac, digestive, and nervous systems. It may also help ward of insects, parasites, and inflammation. More research is warranted as well as human studies on the different chemovarieties of basil.
Over 100 research articles have been catalogued on basil. Reviewing the species and chemovariety in each study is recommended. Much research has demonstrated both the antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of various basil species. It reduced certain cancer cells and showed neuroprotective and hepatoprotective activity in vitro. It may also be protective to the digestive and cardiac systems and lower blood sugar levels, improve wounds, fight inflammation, and insects. It also has shown an anxiolytic effect. Human studies are warranted. Click the button below for a detailed review of research.
Basil Herb and Essential Oil
Latin Name: Ocimum basillicum
- Basil (O. basilicum)
- Estragole type - high in estragole content up to 87%
- Linalool type - high in linalool, eugenol, and linoleic acid
- Methyl cinnamate type - high in methyl cinnamate and linalool
- Holy basil (O. tenuiflorum, or O. sanctum)
- Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora)
- Lemon basil (O. citrodorum) high in geranial, neral, and nerol
Other Common Names
- Also called Albahaca, Basilic, Basilici Herba, common basil, garden basil, Krishna Tulsi, Munjariki, St. Josephwort, Surasa, Vanatulasi, Varvara, Visva Tulsi.
Basil is a common green, leafy herb. There are over 100 varietes of basil, and many chemotypes.
- Chemotype variation also exists based on season of harvest (Hussain, Anwar, Sherazi, & Przbylski, 2006).
- The three main variations are a type high in linalool, a type high in estragole, and a type high in methyle cinnamate (Lis-Balchin, 2006).
- The chemotype variation is so significant, that further chemotype classification for the species is proposed (Grayer et al, 1996).
Leaves are prepared fresh or dried. For making a tea, steep 1 Tbsp of dried herb, or 2 Tbsp of fresh herb in 2 cups of boiled water for five minutes. Strain and drink.
Essential Oil Description
Steam distillation of the leaves, flowers, and buds creates a thin, watery, clear to pale yellow oil. The aroma is uplifting, fresh, herbaceous and has a camphorous undertone.
- The estragole type contains up to 87% estragole as well as linalool and 1,8-cineole
- The linalool type contains about 34% linalool, 34% eugenol, linoleic acids, and 1,8-cineole
- The methyl cinnamate type is up to 63% methyl cinnamate and up to 27% linalool