Basil Herb Profile
Also known as
Ocimum basilicum, Sweet Basil, Garden Basil, and Common Basil.
Not to be confused with holy basil(tulsi)used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Fresh basil leaves have a unique aroma not even approximated by
any other herb, making them an essential ingredient in cuisines of
countries all over the world. There are hundreds of species and their
hybrids marketed as basil, but the herb most commonly used in herbal
medicine is the Mediterranean or "sweet" basil (although arguably Thai
basil is sweeter). Basil produces its essential oils in glands in its
leaves that have to be activated by UV-B rays from the sun; the best
quality basil is grown in hot, sunny climates. Basil is used as a
fragrance ingredient in perfumes, soaps, shampoos, and other body care
products. Reportedly it has been used in the Far East for centuries for a
variety of ailments, including head colds, a cure for warts, worms, as
an appetite stimulant, carminative, and as a diuretic, among others.
Basil has a unique aroma because of the many constituents of its
essential oil. The oil contains 1,8-cineol, citral, eugenol, linalool,
methyl chavicol, methyl cinnamate in relatively large quantities and
bisabolene, camphor, cryophyllene, geraniol, and ocimene in smaller
quantities influencing taste and action in the body.
Dried leaf in teas or essential oils for topical application.
The essential oil used topically. As a spice it can liberally used in foods.
While most of us are familiar with basil as a culinary herb, the
applications of basil in natural health are not as well known. It was
first described in a Chinese herbal around 1060 C.E, and has been used
for stomach spasms and kidney ailments there ever since. The Chinese
have also used it to treat snakebites and insect bites. The essential
oil is antibacterial, and drops of basil oil may relieve ear infections.
European scientists are investigating the use of basil oil as treatment
for antibiotic resistant infections with Staphylococcus, Enterococcus,
and Pseudomonas. There are some indications basil oil may help restore
immune function damaged by stress.
Basil oil also helps the active ingredients of other
herbs more readily penetrate the skin when basil oil is added to
ointments, liniments, and salves. Dried basil leaf can be added directly
to food or drunk as a tea (1/2 teaspoon of dried herb steeped for 10
minutes in 1 cup of boiling water in a closed container) to relieve
flatulence and fullness.
The German Commission E advised caution in the use of basil
because of the estragole in its essential oil might cause cancer, but
later testing indicated that an increased risk of cancer would only
occur in persons who ate approximately 1,000 kilograms (over a ton) of
the herb daily, a finding so impossible as to suggest the Commission's
precaution was completely unwarranted. Nonetheless, the safety of the
herb has not been established for pregnant women, nursing mothers, or
children under six.
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is
not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 10 August, 2010.