Ocimum basilicum, “Basil” in English and “Basilic” in French, belongs to the Lamiaceae botanical family. Probably native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia, it is a herb growing to 0.5 m, thriving in sunny, Mediterranean and tropical areas.
Ocimum basilicum is mostly cultivated for its leaves and flowers, used as a culinary aromatic in many countries.
As a traditional drug, leaves act principally on the digestive and nervous systems, easing flatulence, stomach cramps, gastro-enteritis etc; in the treatment of feverish illnesses (especially colds and influenza), migraine, insomnia, depression and exhaustion. Externally, they are used to treat acne, loss of smell, insect stings, snake bites and skin infections.
Among the main constituents of its essential oil are linalool, 1,8-cineol, eugenol, methyl cinnamate, iso-caryophyllene and a-cubebene.