Thuốc Sweet Basil


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Scientific Name(s): Ocimum basilicum L.
Common Name(s): Basil, Common basil, Genovese basil, Great basil, Saint-Joseph’s-wort, Sweet basil

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 21, 2019.

Clinical Overview


Animal studies of sweet basil suggest use as an antimicrobial agent, insect repellant, and anti-inflammatory agent, as well as in cardiovascular and CNS diseases and diabetes; however, clinical studies are lacking to support use in any condition.


Clinical studies are lacking to provide dosing recommendations for sweet basil. Traditionally, doses of 5 to 10 mL of the herb per cup of water or 2.5 to 5 mL of a tincture, taken up to 3 times daily, have been used.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Avoid use. Avoid amounts larger than are usually found in cooking. Emmenagogue and abortifacient effects have been reported for O. basilicum.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Basil as an herb and sweet basil essential oil have Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the United States.


Information is limited; the chemical constituents estragole and linalool have been associated with toxicity.

Scientific Family

  • Lamiaceae (mint)


The sweet basil plant is cultivated worldwide; many varieties exist, differing in chemical composition and affected by multiple geographic factors. Basil is an annual herb that grows up to 1 m in height, depending on the climate, with characteristic opposite, light-green, smooth leaves that grow up to 6 cm in width and 11 cm in length. The plant bears small, white flowers arranged in a terminal spike.1, 2 Related plants include Ocimum sanctum (holy basil), Ocimum gratissimum (African basil), Ocimum campechianum (Amazonian basil), and Ocimum canum (hoary basil). A synonym of O. basilicum is Ocimum americanum L.


Traditionally, O. basilicum has been used as an appetite stimulant, carminative, diuretic, and anxiolytic, as well as in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Medicinal use of basil among ancient Greek and Chinese healers for promoting circulation and treating snake and insect bites has been documented. Sweet basil also has widespread culinary applications.2, 3, 4


The major components of the volatile oil of sweet basil are linalool, cineole, and estragole (methyl chavicol), depending on the source.5, 6, 7, 8

Studies have elucidated the chemical composition of the essential oil and describe terpenic hydrocarbons (eg, cymene, limonene, myrecene, pinene, terpinene, phellandrene), aromatic phenols (carvacrol, eugenol, thymol, and safrol), ketones (menthone, pulegone, carvone and thujone, verbenone, and fenchone), alcohols (eg, borneol, carveol, geraniol, linalool, menthol, terpineol), aliphatic aldehydes (citral, citronellal, and perillaldehyde), acids (citronellic acid and cinnamic acid) and esters (linalyl acetate). However, concentrations of these components vary, depending on the source of the plant.6, 9, 10, 11

The seeds of the plant contain ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, caffiec acid, vallinin, stigmasterol, apgenin, and luteolin, among other components.5, 10

Uses and Pharmacology

Anti-inflammatory activity

In vitro and animal data

Limited animal studies report anti-inflammatory activity of O. basilicum essential oil, including reductions in leukocytes in rats and mice with experimentally induced colitis and arthritis, respectively.12, 13 Both the essential oil and the single component estragole showed efficacy in reducing histamine- and arachidonic acid–induced paw edema in mouse models.14 Additionally, in vitro experimental studies suggest that extracts of O. basilicum or its fractions may exert an influence on COX enzyme activity and on prostaglandin and thromboxane production.15, 16

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of sweet basil as an antithrombotic or anti-inflammatory agent.

Antimicrobial activity

In vitro and animal data

In vitro studies report activity of the essential oil against human and plant pathogens.7, 8, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

Sweet basil essential oil was not active against fluconazole-resistant Candida spp.24

Laboratory experiments suggest that the oil may be an alternative to common synthetic repellents and/or acaricides, likely due to constituents such as alpha-pinene, limonene, citronellol, citronellal, camphor, and thymol.25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Antiprotozoal activity has also been demonstrated in vitro against Trichomonas vaginalis and Leishmania spp.2, 31

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of sweet basil as an antimicrobial agent or as a repellant or acaricide.

Antioxidant activity

Animal data

Antioxidant activity has been documented.7, 32, 33, 34, 35 A study in rodents reported improvements in cerebral infarct size, memory impairment, and motor coordination with pre-treatment with O. basilicum extract. Antioxidant activity may contribute to these observed effects.3

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of sweet basil as an antioxidant agent.

Cardiovascular disease

Animal data

In a study in hypercholesterolemic rodents, O. basilicum extract exerted a vasorelaxant effect.16 In another study in rats, O. basilicum leaf extract demonstrated protection against adverse outcomes of induced myocardial infarction (eg, ST-segment elevation, fibrosis of myocardial tissue), possibly due to its antioxidant effects.36 Additionally, experimental studies in rodents suggest that sweet basil extracts may influence thromboxane production.15, 16

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of sweet basil in cardiovascular disease.


Animal data

In limited experiments in mice, extracts of O. basilicum demonstrated antianxiety and sedative effects,37 memory enhancement effects,38 and improvement in neuromuscular coordination.39

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of sweet basil in diseases of the CNS.


In vitro and animal data

Limited in vitro and animal experiments suggest that the observed antidiabetic effects of O. basilicum may be due to alpha-glucosidase and alpha-amylase inhibitory activity.40, 41, 42

In a study evaluating the toxicity of linalool in poultry, increased serum glucose was observed; however, the researchers considered this effect to have no biological importance.43

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of sweet basil in the management of diabetes.

Other uses

In vitro studies report activity of the essential oil against cancer cell lines, including breast and cervical cancer; however, clinical studies are lacking.7, 44, 45, 46, 47 Based on molecular docking studies performed with proteins from the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, 12 compounds in O. basilicum and other Ocimum spp. potentially have significant mosquito repellent activity.48


Clinical studies are lacking to provide dosing recommendations for sweet basil.

Traditionally, doses of 5 to 10 mL of the herb per cup of water or 2.5 to 5 mL of a tincture, taken up to 3 times daily, have been used.4

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Emmenagogue and abortifacient effects have been reported. Avoid amounts larger than are usually found in cooking.49

Excretion of cineole in breast milk has been documented, but no adverse effects were reported.50


Case reports are lacking, and the relevance of findings from in vitro and animal studies is unclear. An aqueous extract of dried aerial plant parts inhibited platelet aggregation and reduced thrombin-induced platelet activation.16 An in vitro study reported cytochrome P450 inhibitory activity with sweet basil; however, the clinical relevance has not been established.51 Eugenol was observed to be hepatotoxic in glutathione-depleted mice; caution should be used with concomitant use of acetaminophen.52

Adverse Reactions

Basil as an herb and sweet basil essential oil both have GRAS status in the United States.53 Clinical studies are lacking regarding associated adverse effects.


Information is limited; basil herb and sweet basil essential oil have GRAS status in the United States.2, 53 Estragole, the major chemical component of sweet basil essential oil, has been associated with hepatocellular tumors in mice and with genotoxicity.2 In poultry administered linalool, serum AST increased, but serum gamma-glutamyl transferase did not.43 Hematological effects (reduced hematocrit, platelets, and red blood cells) have been observed in rats.54

Index Terms

  • Ocimum americanum L.
  • Ocimum campechianum
  • Ocimum canum
  • Ocimum gratissimum
  • Ocimum sanctum
  • African basil
  • Amazonian basil
  • Hoary basil
  • Holy basil


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Vasorelaxant and anti-platelet aggregation effects of aqueous Ocimum basilicum extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;125(1):157-162.1950555317. Sienkiewicz M, Łysakowska M, Pastuszka M, Bienias W, Kowalczyk E. The potential of use basil and rosemary essential oils as effective antibacterial agents. Molecules. 2013;18(8):9334-9351.2392179518. Snoussi M, Dehmani A, Noumi E, Flamini G, Papetti A. Chemical composition and antibiofilm activity of Petroselinum crispum and Ocimum basilicum essential oils against Vibrio spp. strains. Microb Pathog. 2016;90:13-21.2659670719. Srivastava U, Ojha S, Tripathi NN, Singh P. In vitro antibacterial, antioxidant activity and total phenolic content of some essential oils. J Environ Biol. 2015;36(6):1329-1336.2668896920. Siddiqui BS, Bhatti HA, Begum S, Perwaiz S. Evaluation of the antimycobacterium activity of the constituents from Ocimum basilicum against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;144(1):220-222.2298201121. 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This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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