Archive for category Basil'

Bioactivity of Basil

Traditional Medicine Basil has traditionally been used for head colds and as a cure for warts and worms, as an appetite stimulant, carminative, and diuretic. In addition, it has been used as a mouth wash and adstringent to cure inflammations in the mouth and throat. Alcoholic extracts of basil have been used in creams to treat slowly healing wounds. Basil is more widely used as a medicinal herb in the Far East, especially in China and India. It was first described in a major Chinese herbal around A.D. 1060 and has since been used in China for spasms of the stomach and kidney ailments, among others. It is especially recommended for use before and after parturition to promote blood circulation. The whole herb is also used to treat snakebite and insect bites. In Nigeria, a decoction of the leaves of Ocimum gratissimum is used in the treatment of fever, as a diaphoretic and also as a stomachic and laxative. In Franchophone West Africa, the plant is used in treating coughs and fevers and as an anthelmintic. In areas around Ibadan (Western State of Nigeria), Ocimum gratissimum is most often taken as a decoction of the whole herb (Agbo) and is particularly used in treating diarrhoea. It is known to the Yorubas as “Efirin-nla” Read more […]

Bioactivity of Basil: Antifungal Activity

The antifungal activity of Ocimum leaves, extracts, essential oils and their components is frequently studied, mostly in warm countries where the need for protection of plants and stored crops against fungi is of great importance. Also the effect of Ocimum oils against a number of dermatophytes has been studied. Protection of plants and stored crops An ethanolic extract of Ocimum sanctum was used to treat healthy ripe tomato fruits prior to and after inoculation with Aspergillus niger in the presence of Drosophila busckii. The treatment kept the fruits free from rotting for 5 to 7 days. The essential oil of Ocimum canum was effective against damping-off disease causing fungi, Pythium aphanidermatum, P.debaryanum and Rhizoctonia solani. Ocimum canum could control damping-off disease of tomato up to 50% in soil infected with P.aphanidermatum and up to 43% in soil infected with P.debaryanum. The essential oil was not phytotoxic and showed superiority over commonly used synthetic fungicides such as Agrosan G.N. and Captan. Pandey and Dubey determined the fungitoxic spectrum of Ocimum canum oil (500 μl/1) and found 100% inhibition of the growth of the following fungi: Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceri, F.sesami, F.semitectum, Read more […]

Bioactivity of Basil: Antibacterial Activity

Aqueous extracts or infusions of Ocimum gratissimum showed no activity against the test organisms (Salmonella spp., Shigella sonnei, Shigella schmitzi, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli). This indicates that the antibacterial principles are not watersoluble. A high phenol content, in this case thymol, of the oil gives a higher antibacterial activity. Saturated aqueous solutions of Ocimum gratissimum oil and of thymol, respectively , showed inhibitory effects on the growth of Salmonella spp., E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella sonnei and S.schmitzi. The minimum inhibitory concentration for the oil was 20.0– 27.5% and for thymol 11.0–20.0% depending on the bacteria in question. Thymol was more active than the oil of Ocimum gratissimum, but neither had any appreciable activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa (MIC > 75%) The aqueous solutions of thymol and Ocimum gratissimum oil were most effective against S.schmitzi (). The antibacterial effect of Ocimum gratissimum oil is frequently reported. El-Said et al. () found that Ocimum gratissimum oil was active against Escherichia coli, Klebsiella aerogenes, Proteus spp., Salmonella spp., Shigella sonnei, Shigella sonnei, Bacillus subtilis, Sarcina lutea Read more […]

Bioactivity of Basil: Other Activities

Plants belonging to the genus Ocimum exhibit a great deal of different pharmacological activities of which the most important, as concluded by the number of research reports, will be discussed below. The activities to be discussed in more detail are anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating and adaptogenic, anticarcinogenic, hypoglycemic and blood lipid lowering, radioprotective, effect on the CNS, antiulcerogenic, hepatoprotective and the effect on smooth muscle. In addition to these activities a number of other activities are also reported in the literature, such as antioxidant, angioprotective effect, effect on the reproductive behaviour and antiwormal activity. Anti-inflammatory Activity Ocimum sanctum L., popularly known as “Tulsi” in Hindi and “Holy Basil” in English, is a widely known sacred plant of Hindus. Different parts of the plant have been claimed to be valuable in a wide spectrum of diseases. For instance, it is used for the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, pain and fever in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Ocimum sanctum is now intensively studied in order to prove these activities by pharmacological evidence. A methanol extract and an aqueous suspension of Ocimum sanctum leaves inhibited Read more […]

Ocimum basilicum

Basil – Ocimum basilicum Family: Lamiaceae Part used: aerial parts Ocimum basilicum L. is a half-hardy annual or short-lived perennial, which is native to India and Asia and cultivated worldwide. It is very variable in morphology. Erect, branching, green stems (to 60 cm) support opposite, soft, bright-green oval leaves, which are slightly crumpled-looking. Whorls (usually six flowers) of small, white, lipped, tubular flowers are borne in terminal racemes. The fruit contains four small smooth black seeds. It is propagated from seed. Quality Many cultivars and varieties are used and some are cultivated, especially for the manufacture of pesto. Simon et al (1999) compare the growth habit and constituents of 42 forms cultivated in the USA, and note that the cultivars of var. purpurescens contain a substantial concentration of anthocyanins. Crosses can occur between any Ocimum basilicum varieties, cultivars and related species such as Ocimum minimum L. There is substantial variation in composition of the volatile oil and little correlation has been found between phenotype and chemotype or genotype and chemotype. Schnaubelt (1999) uses basil as an example of the broad range of healing qualities in aromatic oils, Read more […]

Basil: Contrary Opinions In The Tradition

What actually is the opinion of Dioscorides? His recommendations of the commonly known plant are mainly external: the juice for dimness of sight and rheums of the eyes; the plant or its seed as an agent to provoke sneezing (the eyes must be kept shut! Dalechamps thinks they have to be pressed); as an oil, warming and sharp, applied to the vulva as an emmenogogue and abortifacient and to treat constriction; finally for bites of the sea dragon and for scorpion stings. He relates how Africans, presumably living or travelling in areas populated by many scorpions, eat the herb to remain without pain if they get stung. The indication that, applied with barley, oil of roses and vinegar, it helps inflammations may seemingly be taken to refer to conditions of the lungs – Bock, for instance, recommends it for breathing difficulties and old coughs, by clearing thick and viscid humours. There are, however, internal uses recorded too in Dioscorides’ work: the seed taken in drink corrects an excess of black bile, difficulty in urination through a diuretic action and flatulence. Basil will encourage the production of breast milk and helps to soften the stools for easier passing, an effect perhaps linked with the idea that it Read more […]

Basil: Current Views

Looking for references to basil in more current texts, the herbals which do not mention it are far greater in number than those which do. Bairacli Levy (1966) is fascinated by the herb and recommends it for culinary use, as an insecticide and as a powerful tonic stimulant and nerve remedy. It is advised for nausea, severe vomiting and indigestion, as well as topically for snake and spider bites and scorpion stings. Schauenberg & Paris (1977) list the infusion of the entire dried plant as a gastric antispasmodic, carminative and galactogogue. Ody (1993) has a more extensive monograph, listing the actions of basil as antidepressant, antiseptic and tonic, stimulating the adrenal cortex and preventing vomiting, while acting as a carminative, febrifuge and expectorant. She proposes several combinations: as a tincture with wood betony and skullcap for nervous conditions, or with elecampane Inula helenium and hyssop Hyssopus officinalis for coughs and bronchitis; as a juice mixed with honey in a syrup for coughs, or the juice in a decoction of cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum and cloves Syzygium aromaticum for chills. Topically, it can be mixed with honey for ringworm and itching skin or the fresh herb can be rubbed on Read more […]