Family • Lamiaceae - Solasi - Ocimum basilicum L. - SWEET BASIL - Luo le

Scientific names

Ocimum americanum Jacq.
Ocimum barrelieri Roth.
Ocimum bullatum Lam.
Ocimum x citriodorum Vis.
Ocimum sanctum
Ocimum basilicum Linn.

Common names

Albahaka (C. Bis., Ibn., Tag.)
Albanaka (Tag., Ibn.)
Basilico (Ital.)
Bauing (Sul.)
Bawing (Sul.)
Biday (Ilk.)
Bouak (Bis.)
Kalu-ui (C. Bis.)
Kaluwi (C. Bis.)
Kamangi (P. Bis.)
Kameingi (P. Bis.)
Ruku (Sul.)
Ruku-ruku (Sul.)
Samilig (Bik.)
Samirig (Bik.)
Solasi (Tag., Pamp.)
Valanoy (Iv.)
Sweet basil (Engl.)
Grand basilic (Engl.)

Balanoy and solasi are shared common names, of two varieties of basil: ocimum basilicum (sweet basil) and ocimum sanctum (holy basil), the latter not used in cooking.
Solasi is a common name shared by (1) Luminitzera racemosa Kulasi, (2) Ocimum basilicum, solasi, and phonetically with (3) Ocimum sanctum, sulasi.

 Gen info 
The genus Ocimum ranks high in herbs with medicinal use. There are anywhere from 60-150 species in the genus.


Balanoy is an erect, branched branched, smooth, somewhat hairy, and very aromatic undershrub, growing 0.5 to 1.5 meters high. Leaves are simple, opposite, ovate to oblong-ovate, entire or slightly toothed, with acute tips and glandular spots on the lower surface. Flowers are pink or purplish and borne in racemes which are 8 to 15 centimeters long. Calyx of the individual flower or floret is strongly reflexed, the upper lobe round, the lower two narrowly lanceolate and acuminate, and the lateral ones ovate. Corolla bilabiate, exerted, and upper lip broader, subequally 4-fid, the lower lip entire. Petals pink or purplish, stamens exserted. Fruits are nutlets, smooth or somewhat rugose.

There are two common species in the Philippines: O. basilicum and O. sanctum. Both are used medicinally.

Found throughout the Philippines in settled areas at low and medium altitudes.
Often spontaneous in open waste places.

Grows well in open areas with moist, well-drained and friable soil. Occasionally cultivated throughout the Philippines. Common garden plant. It flowers all year round. The plant is deeply rooted.  Prefers warm and moist habitat, sensitive to dryness. Soil should be well-drained, and rich in humus to produce higher yields. Use seeds for propagation.

• The dried leaves contain 0.21–1% essential oil, the major compounds of which are linalool and methyclaviol.
• Flowers yield 0.4% of volatile oil.
• The Algiers oil contains cineol, linalool and estragol. The Javan variety contains eugenol, ocimene, and pinene Oil from Reunion contain d-d–pinene, cineol, d-camphor, methyl clavicol, and linalool. Seychelles oil contain methyl chavicol and anethol.
• Some of the other compounds are: caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, p-cymene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, methyl cinnamate, myrcene, quercetin, rutin, tryptophan, safrole.
• Study yielded 14 different anthocyanins: 11 cyanidin-based pigments and 3 peonidin-based pigments.
• Study of essential oil constituents yielded a total of 49 components. The main components were methyl eugenol (78.02%), a-cubebene (6.17%), nerol (0.83%), and e-muurolene (0.74%).
• Study of essential oil identified the major components as L- linalool (26.5-56.3%), geraniol (12.1-16.5%), 1,8-cineole (2.5-15.1%), p-allylanisole (0.2-13.8%) and DL-limonene (0.2-10.4%).

Other vernacular names

AFRIKAANS: Basilie, Basilikum.
ARABIC: Habaq, Haabaq nabati, Alrihan, Rihan.
BENGALI: Babuitulsi, Baburi tulsi, Debunsha, Khubkalam.
BURMESE: Pinsein, Ziya apyu.
CHINESE: Luo le.
CROATIAN: Bosiljak
CZECH: Bazalka pravá.
DANISH: Basilik, Basilikum.
DUTCH: Baziel, Bazielkruid, Koningskruid.
FINNISH: Basilika.
FRENCH: Basilic, Framboisin (Antilles), Herbe royale, Oranger des savetiers, Pistou.
GERMAN: Basilienkraut, Basilikum, Echtes Basilienkraut, Gartenhirnkraut, Gewöhnliches Basilienkraut.
GREEK: Vasiliko, Vasilikos.
GUJARATI: Damaro, Damro, Nasabo, Sabje.
HEBREW: Rehan.
HINDI: Babui tulsi, Babul, Bahari, Barbar, Kali tulsi, Rihan.
ITALIAN: Basilico.
JAPANESE: Bajiru, Mebouki, Suiito bajiru.
KANNADA: Kama kasturi, Kamkusturi, Ramkasturi, Sajjebiya, Tulasigidda, Tulasiya sasyajati.
KHMER: Chi sa.
LAOTIAN: Phak bua la pha, Phak bua la phe, Phak i tou.
MALAY: Daun kemangi (Indonesia), Kemangi, Ruku-ruku, Selasih hijau.
MALAYALAM: Paccha, Truinitru.
NEPALESE: Baavarii phuul, Tulasii
NORWEGIAN: Basilikum
PERSIAN: Firanj mushk, Deban-shab, Rayáahn, Reyhan.
POLISH: Basylico
PORTUGUESE: Alfavaca, Alfavacao, Basílico, Hierba de vaquero, Manjericão, Manjerico.
RUSSIAN: Bazilik, Bazilik obyknovennyi, Dushistye vasilki, Dushki.
SERBIAN: Bosiljak, Bosiok, Bosilje, Faslidjan, Maslidjan.
SINHALESE: Hintala, Sawandalata, Suwandutala.
SANSKRIT: Ajaganothika , Manjarika, Munjariki, Surabhi, Tulasidevesha, Tungi.
SLOVAKIAN: Bazalka pravá, Bazalky pravej.
SPANISH: Albahaca, Albahaca común , Albahaca silvestre, Alhábega, Ocimo.
SWAHILI: Mrihani.
SWEDISH: Basilica
TAMIL: Sabja, Sada tulasi, Tirnirupachai, Tirunitru, Tirunirrippachai, Tirunutpatchi , Tiviragandam.
TELUGU: Bhutulasi, Rudrajada.
THAI: Horapha
TURKISH: Feslien
URDU: Rihan

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Comparative study of volatile compounds from genus Ocimum / American Journal of Applied Sciences , March, 2009 by S. Raseetha Vani, S.F. Cheng, C.H. Chuah

(2) Ocimum basilicum, O. americanum, and O. micranthum /

(3) Cardiac stimulant activity of Ocimum basilicum Linn. extracts / A Muralidharan, R Dhananjayan / Indian J Pharmacol • 2004 [cited 2010 Feb 20];36:163-6.

(4) Antimicrobial Effects of Ocimum basilicum (Labiatae) Extract / Ahmet ADIGUZEL, et al / Turk J Biol 29 (2005) 155-160

(5) Anthocyanins in Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) / J. Agric. Food Chem., 1998, 46 (5), pp 1734–1738 DOI: 10.1021/jf970887r

(6) Potential Anti-inflammatory Properties of Crude Alcoholic Extract of O basilicum L. in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells / Chinnasamy Selvakkumar et al / Journal of Health Science, 53(4) 500-505, 2007.

(7) Antibacterial and Antioxidant study of Ocimum basilicum Labiatae (sweet basil) / Dinanath D Patil, Dnyandeo K. Mhaske, Gurumeet C. Wadhawa / Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research 2: 104-112 (2011)

(8) Essential Oil Composition of Ocimum basilicum L. and Ocimum minimum L. in Turkey / Musa Ozcan and Jean-clause Chalchat / Czech J. Food Sci. Vol. 20, No. 6: 223–228

(9) |Sorting Ocimum names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(10) Effect of Methanolic Leaf Extract of Ocimum basilicum L. on Benzene-Induced Hematotoxicity in Mice /
S. Saha, M. K. Mukhopadhyay, P. D. Ghosh, and D. Nath / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2012 (2012) / doi:10.1155/2012/176385

(11) Essential oil from Ocimum basilicum (Omani Basil): a desert crop. / Al-Maskri AY, Hanif MA, Al-Maskari MY, Abraham AS, Al-sabahi JN, Al-Mantheri O./ Nat Prod Commun. 2011 Oct;6(10):1487-90.

(12) PHYTOCHEMICAL AND PHARMACOLOGICAL STUDIES ON OCIMUM BASILICUM LINN – A REVIEW / Alia Bilal, Nasreen Jahan, Ajij Ahmed, Saima Naaz Bilal, Shahida Habib, Syeda Hajra / IJCRR. 2012; 4(23)

(13) Optimisation study of gum extraction from Basil seeds (Ocimum basilicum L.) / Seyed M. A. Razavi, Seyed Ali Mortazavi, Lara Matia-Merino, Seyed H. Hosseini-Parvar, * Ali Motamedzadegan & Elham Khanipour / International Journal of Food Science and Technology 2009, 44, 1755–1762

(14) Anti-proliferative activity of essential oil extracted from Thai medicinal plants on KB and P388 cell lines / Cancer Letters, Vol 235, Issue 1, Pages 114-120 / J. Manosroi, P. Dhumtanom, A. Manosroi

(15) Central properties and chemical composition of Ocimum basilicum essential oil / Ismail M / Pharmaceutical biology • 2006, vol. 44, no8, pp. 619-626 / INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 1635, 35400013915583.0100

(16) The effects of green Ocimum basilicum hydroalcoholic extract on retention and retrieval of memory in mice / Shadi Sarahroodi, Somayyeh Esmaeili, Peyman Mikaili, Zahra Hemmati, Yousof Saberi / DOI: 10.4103/0257-7941.107354 / Ancient Sci Life [serial online] 2012 [cited 2014 Mar 10];31:185-9.

(17) Hypoglycemic effect of basil (Ocimum basilicum) aqueous extract is mediated through inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase activities- An in vitro study / HA El-Beshbishy, SA Bahashwan / doi: 10.1177/0748233711403193 / Toxicol Ind Health February 2012 vol. 28 no. 1 42-50

• Carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge, diuretic, demulcent, mucilaginous, cooling.
• Leaves and flowers considered excitant, diuretic, and stimulant for weak digestion.
• Seeds and flowers considered stimulant, diuretic and demulcent.
• Seeds are mucilaginous and cooling.
• Studies have shown sweet basil to possess analgesic, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiulcer, cardiac stimulant, chemomodulatory, CNA depressant, hepatoprotective, immunomodulatory, hypoglycemic, and larvicidal activities.

Parts utilized
• Leaves, seeds.
• Mature fresh leaves are harvested 2 to 3 months after planting. Leaves are picked leaving the branches on the plant to allow it to flower and produce seeds for the next season.
• The leaves are air-dried until they crumble when crushed with the fingers. Store in amber colored bottles in a cool, dry place.

Culinary / Edibility
– The leafy and flowering tops are used as condiment; eaten sparingly in salads.
– Seeds are sometimes eaten.
– In Kanawar, sometimes eaten mixed in ordinary bread.
I- n Bengal, infused in water, used as a refreshing and cooling drink.
– Cough: Expectorant properties – Take infusion or decoction of herb (9-15 gm of dried herb) or tops as tea.
– Leaf juice helpful for expectoration of mucus.
– Decoction of leaves also used for hiccups, vomiting and nausea.
– Gas pains: Decoction of herb as tea helps to expel wind from bowels.
– Ear afflictions: Juice of leaves dropped in ears for earache and dullness of hearing.
– Snake bites: Crush fresh plant and poultice the bitten wound.
– Gonorrhea, using a decoction of the roots and leaves of plants.
– Decoction of leaves used as a wash for ulcers.
– Used for external contusions.
– Used in baths for rheumatic pains.
– For ringworm and insect bites, apply juice of crushed leaves.
– Decoction of herb as wash for skin ulcers.
– For delayed menstruation: take the juice of the leaves with water.
– Seeds are used in treatment of several eye diseases; to soothe pain and inflammation.
– Toothache: Wet small piece of cotton with juice of crushed leaves and insert into tooth cavity.
– Decoction of seeds used to decrease postpartum pains; the seeds are mucilaginous.
– Poultice of seeds used for buccal sores.
– Decoction of seeds also used for constipation.
– Acne: Infusion of 3 tsp of dried leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 20-30 minutes.
– Apply externally or drink decoction of tea or infusion 3 times daily.
– Malays used the leaves as remedy for coughs.
– Decoction of leaves used after childbirth; juice taken for delayed menses.
– Seeds given as infusion for gonorrhea, diarrhea and chronic dysentery.
– Seeds used as aphrodisiac.
– Seeds, washed and pounded, used in poultices for sores and sinuses; also used internally for habitual constipation and internal hemorrhoids.

• Oils repel insects (limonene, myrcene, camphor, thymol) and have larvicidal (eugenol and methylclaviol) activity against houseflies and mosquitoes.
• Malays use it as a scent for clothes.
• In Africa, they are compounded into cosmetics.
Recent uses
Dizziness: crush enough fresh leaves with your fingers and sniff them.
Cough: As decoction boil eight tablespoons of fresh leaves in two glasses of water for 15 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to half. Divide the decoction into eight parts and take one part, three times a day.

Study Findings
• Platelet Aggregation Inhibition: Results showed Ocimum basilicum to possess an inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation induced by ADP and thrombin resulting in an anti-thrombotic effect in vivo.
• Vasorelaxant / Anti-Thrombin / Anti-Platelet Aggregation: OB extract showed a significant vasorelaxant effect. It also suppressed elevated contractions induced by a hypercholesterolemic diet and inhibited platelet aggregation and reduced thrombin-induced platelet activation.
• Cardiac stimulant: The study evaluated the cardiac effects of extracts derived from the aerial parts of Ocimum basilicum. Results showed the alcoholic extracts exhibited a cardiotonic effect and the aqueous extract produced a B-adrenergic effect.
• Antimicrobial Effects: Results suggest that O. basilicum leaf extracts possess compounds with antimicrobial properties against C. albicans and some bacterial pathogens.
• Anti-dyspepsia: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled study showed Ocimum basilicum seems to relieve functional dyspepsia in female and young patients with dysmotility.
• Anthocyanins in Basil : Purple basils are an abundant source of acylated and glycosylated anthocyanins, a potential source of stable red pigments to the food industry.
• Antioxidant: In a study of plants in the Lamiaceae family, the leaves and stems of Ocimum basilicum displayed the highest antioxidant activity.
• Antioxidant: In a study evaluating the antioxidant activities of O basilicum and O sanctum using various in vitro antioxidant assays, results showed O basilicum with more antioxidant activity than O sanctum.
• Antiulcer: Study showed the seed extracts of OB to possess significant anti-ulcer activity against ethanol-induced ulceration in animal models.
• Wound-Healing Activity: Wounds treated with honey in combination with OB alcoholic leaf extract and solcoseryl-jelly showed accelerated wound healing compared to honey alone.
• Antiproliferative / Anticancer: A study on the antiproliferative activity of essential oil from 17 Thai medicinal plants on human mouth epidermal carcinoma (KB) and murine leukemia (P388) cell lines. In the KB cell line, Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) oil showed the highest anti-proliferative activity in the P388 cell line. The results suggested the potential of Thai medicinal plants for cancer treatment.
• Central Properties / Chemical Composition: Study of essential oil in higher doses showed motor impairment. It also exhibited increase in pentobarbitone sleeping time, increase latency in convulsion and incidence of clonic seizures. Phytochemicals yielded the presence of linalool, 1,8-cineol, eugenol, methyl cinnamate, iso-caryophyllene, and a-cubebene as the main components.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study of Ocimum basilicum crude methanolic extracts exhibited antiinflammatory activity as evidenced by the inhibition of the key proinflammatory cytokines and mediators.
• Anti-Viral: Study of crude aqueous and ethanolic extracts yielded apigenin, linalool and ursolic acid, exhibiting a broad spectrum of antiviral activities, especially against coxsackie virus B1 and enterovirus 71.
• Antibacterial / Antioxidant: Study of ethanol, methanol, and hexane extracts for antimicrobial properties showed both hexane and ethanol extracts inhibited the isolates, the hexane extract showing stronger and broader spectrum of antibacterial activity. The ethanol extract showed more antioxidant activity than standard antioxidant.
• Protective Role in Benzene Induced Hematotoxicity: Study evaluated the protective role of a methanolic leaf extract against benzene-induced hematotoxicity in Swiss albino mice. Results indicated the secondary metabolites of the leaf extract–essential oil monoterpene geraniol and oxidized citral form–showed modulatory effect in cell cycle deregulation and hematological abnormalities.
• Seasonal Variation of Essential Oil: Study evaluated the influence of season on essential oil yield, chemical composition, antioxidant and antifungal activities of O. basilicum oil. Seasonal yield was idiosyncratic. Essential oil extracted in spring showed the highest antioxidant activity. High antifungal activity was found highlighting its potential as a preservative for use in the food and medical industries.
• Optimization of Seed Gum Extraction: Study evaluated the effects of processing factors on water-extracted Basil seed gum. Basil seed is cultivated in large quantities in Iran. The seed shows good amounts of gum with functional properties comparable to commercial food hydrocolloids.
• Memory Retention and Retrieval: Study evaluated a hydroalcoholic extract of green O. basilicum on memory retention and retrieval in mice. Results showed increased memory retention and significantly increased memory retrieval. The memory enhancing effect was attributed to the antioxidant activity of flavonoids, tannins, and terpenoids.
• Hypoglycemic / α-glucosidase and α-amylase Inhibition: Study investigated the in vitro hypoglycemic activity of Ocimum basilicum aqueous extract. Phytochemical screening yielded reducing sugars, cardiac glycosides, tannins, saponins, glycosides, flavonoids, and steroids. Results showed antidiabetic effect through antioxidant and possibly α-glucosidase and α-amylase inhibiting activities.

Although known for its medicinal benefits, it contains some potentially dangerous compounds: safrole, rutin, caffeic acid, tryptophan and quercetin.(See: Medicinal Plants for Livestock / Cornell University)

Cultivated for condiment and culinary use.