Scientific names: Josephwort

Latin name: Ocimum basilicum

Common names:

Ayurvedic names: Munjariki, vedhi Marubak

Chinese names: Jiu ceng ta, Lou le, Xun sun, Yu xiang cai

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    الريحان (arrayhaan)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae?

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Whole plant, leaf





Known Constituents:

Constituents Explained:


Traditional Use:

Commonly known for its use in cooking, its used to ease symptoms of gas or indigestion.

Used to treat skin conditions and insect bites. The leaves are sometimes used to repel insects.

Basil tea was once drunk to gently promote delayed menstruation(1).

Clinical Studies: 

The antibacterial potential of essential oils and methanol extracts of sweet basil Ocimum basilicum L. (Lamiaceae) was evaluated for controlling the growth range of food-borne pathogenic bacteria. Essential oils extracted by hydrodistillation from the leaves and stems were analyzed by GC-MS.

Fifty-seven compounds representing 94.9 and 96.1% of the total leaf and stem oils, respectively, were identified, of which methyl chavicol, gitoxigenin, trimethoquinol, beta-guaiene, aciphyllene, alizarin, naphthaline, (-)-caryophyllene, and mequinol  were the major compounds. 

The essential oils and methanol extracts of O. basilicum displayed a great potential of antibacterial activity against Bacillius cereus, B. subtilis, B. megaterium, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, Shigella boydii, S. dysenteriae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, V. mimicus, and Salmonella typhi with their respective zones of inhibition. 

The results of the study suggest that the natural products derived from O. basilicum may have potential use in the food and/or pharmaceutical industries as antimicrobial agents.

Another study identified the possible antiplasmodial compounds from leaf, stem, root and flower extracts of Ocimum canum (O. canum), Ocimum sanctum (O. sanctum) and Ocimum basilicum (O. basilicum).

The O. canum, O. sanctum and O. basilicum were collected from Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu and the extraction was carried out in ethanol. The filter sterilized extracts of leaf, stem, root and flower extracts of O. canum, O. sanctum and O. basilicum were tested for antiplasmodial activity against Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum). The potential extracts were also tested for their phytochemical constituents.

The leaf extract of O. sanctum showed excellent antiplasmodial activity followed by leaf extract of O. basilicum. Statistical analysis reveals that, significant antiplasmodial activity was observed between the concentrations and time of exposure. The chemical injury to erythrocytes was also carried out and it shows that, there were no morphological changes in erythrocytes by the ethanolic extract of O. canum, O. sanctum and O. basilicum.

The in vitro antiplasmodial activity might be due to the presence of alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, phenols, saponins, triterpenoids, proteins, resins, steroids and tannins in the ethanolic extracts of tested plants. 


Hossain MA, Kabir MJ, Salehuddin SM, Rahman SM, Das AK, Singha SK, Alam MK, Rahaman A. “Antibacterial Properties Of Essential Oils And Methanol Extracts Of Sweet Basil Ocimum Basilicum Occuring In Bangladesh.” 2010 May

Ibaneson SJ, Sundaram R, Suganthi P. “In Vitro Antiplasmodial Effect Of Ethanolic Extracts Of Traditional Medicinal Plant Ocimum Species Against Plasmodium Falsiparum.” 2012 February.

Source material:

Herb Name: Basil

Others names: Sweet basil, Lua le

Latin name: Ocimum basilicum

Family: Lamiaceae

Common part used: Leaves, Essential oil, Seeds, Roots

Description: Sweet basil is an herb with tender green foliage (bears a spicy clove aroma), and small white flowers. It grows to around 75 cm.

Properties: Basil is an herb that is used in herbal medicine to treat colds, flu, fever, indigestion, nausea, cramps, acne, stings, and skin infections. It is an aromatic, warming, restorative, and lightly sedative herb that relaxes spasms, helps to improve digestion, lowers fevers, and is very effective against bacteria and internal parasites. It is used in skin care products for stress-related skin complaints.

Contents: Basil has a range of essential oils, including: eugenol, citral, camphor, camphene, anethole, cinnamate, citronellol, geraniol, linalool, myrcene, pinene, ocimene, terpineol. Basil is also rich in the anti-inflammatory compound (E)-beta-caryophyllene.

Internal use: Internally, Basil is used to treat brain diseases, heart, lung, and bladder diseases. When used as a tea, it also helps to revive vitality. Basil helps to combat flu and colds, nausea, poor digestion, abdominal cramps, gastroenteritis, migraine, insomnia, low mood, anxiety, and exhaustion. 

External use: Externally, the leaves are used to fight colds and headaches. Additionally, Basil is used for loss of smell, acne, insect bites, stings, and skin irritations. Basil is the key ingredient of aromatic body rubs that tone the skin. Basil infusion is also used topically to close enlarged skin pores.

Essential oil and aromatherapy use: In aromatherapy, the essential oil of Basil is successfully used for headaches. It may reduce allergies. It can imitate estrogen hormone (the female hormone), and therefore it helps with menstrual problems. It can help to control acne and it is good for congested skin. Basil essential oil has the following effects: antidepressant, analgesic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, carminative, digestive, energizing, emmenagogue, expectorant, insecticide, uplifting, tonic, and nervine.

Safety precautions: Pregnant women and children should not use the essential oil of Basil. Basil essential oil may irritate the skin in people with sensitive skin. It is advised not to use this oil in baths.