Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 26.05.2023

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Basil, Ocimum basilicum, is one of the best known and most popular herbs and spices. Many Italian dishes, such as tomato sauce, pasta, pesto or pizza contain basil. Basil, originally native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia, is now cultivated worldwide. Basil (about 60 species are known) belongs to the labiates family and is related to herbs such as rosemary and sage.

Basil is also used in the cosmetics industry as an aroma supplier.

General information
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Basil is an annual or perennial and herbaceous plant that reaches growth heights between 20 and 60cm. Its green leaves, about 6cm long and 4cm wide, are ovate, their surface is smooth and slightly curved upwards. The typical, distinctive fragrance of basil is secreted by the numerous oil glands of the leaves. Basil flowers between June and September, forming relatively inconspicuous white to pale pink flowers. From these, the cloistered fruits typical of the plant family form, with each cloister containing one seed.

Extracts from basil are used in cosmetic formulations.

Ocimum basilicum is the parent plant of Basilici herba also called Herba basilici. The extract from basil herb finds applications in folk medicine for flatulence, bloating and loss of appetite, also as a stomachic for aphthae, as a gargle for inflammation of the throat. Basil oil(Basilici aetheroleum) is also used in ointment base for the treatment of poorly healing wounds. There is a negative monograph of Commission E on the extract.

ESCOP: not processed

EMA: not processed

CommissionE: Negative mon ograph due to the content of estragole, which is suspected to be carcinogenic.

Recent studies focus on the antibacterial and antifungal properties of the plant with promising study results to date. s.but also Basilici aetheroleum

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  1. Kiesewetter H. (2017) Medicinal plants in dermatology - part 5: Basil (Omicum basilicum L.) Derm 23: 343-344.

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