Common Name: Basil
Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum
Essential Oil Properties and Characteristics
Basil essential oil is a pale-yellow mobile liquid. Basil essential oil has a warm, spicy-sweet aroma. Typical physical and chemical properties are shown below.
Colour: Light yellow
Odour: Typical basil, reminiscent of aniseed
Flash point °C: 75
Specific gravity at 200C: 0.905 - 0.955
Refractive index @ 20°C: 1.487 - 1.515
Solubility in vegetable oils: Soluble
Solubility in water: Insoluble
Origin and History
There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. X citriodorum) and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as 'African Blue'.
Basil is originally native to India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years
Basil essential oil has been used for many years in herbal remedies and medicines.
Basil essential oil is a member of the Lamiaceae (Labiatae) family and is also referred to as common basil, joy of the mountain, true sweet basil and European basil.
Method of Extraction
Basil essential oil originates from India and is extracted by steam distillation from the flowering herb. Basil essential oil blends well with black pepper, lavender, geranium, clary sage, bergamot and marjoram.
Precautions During Use (Contraindications)
Relatively non-toxic, non-irritant, possible sensitisation in some individuals. Basil essential oil should not be used during pregnancy. Can irritate sensitive skin. Allergens: Contains eugenol, limonene and linalol.
The wonderfully reviving fragrance of basil essential oil gives the mind strength and clarity whilst helping to combat fatigue. It is liberating, clearing, strengthening and uplifting. Basil contains vitamin A and C, and calcium and iron. Recently, there has been much research into the health benefits conferred by the essential oils found in basil. Scientific studies have established that compounds in basil oil have potent antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties.