Essential Oil Profile: Basil

by Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Basil (ct. linalool)

Latin Binomial: Optimum basilicum L.

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Other Common Names: Sweet basil and common basil

Production Method: steam-distilled

Countries of Origin: tropical Asia and Africa, Egypt

Typical Constituents: Linalool (34.4%), Eugenol (33.7%), Linoleic & linolenic acids (9.7%), 1,8-Cineole (3.1%), T-Cadinol (1.9%), Palmitic acid (1.6%),  [E]- α-Bergamotene (1.4%), Germacrene D (1.2%), Estragole (1.0%)

Description of Oil: clear, sweet, spicy, fresh

Description of Plant: A hardy annual found in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world.  It grows to 1-3 ft., with quadrangular stems, white flowers and light to dark green leaves.

History, Folklore and Myth: Basil takes its name from Latin for a royal ‘basileum’.  Regarded in India as the incarnation of Lakshmi, goddess of fortune and beauty.  Recommended by Pliny against jaundice and epilepsy and as a diuretic.  Prescribed in the Middle Ages for melancholy and depression.

Properties and Uses: Analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, nervine and expectorant are some.

Precautions and Contraindications: none found


Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Shutes, Jade. Advanced Aromatherapy Certification Program. East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. 2014

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