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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #322346

Title: Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) oils

item LI, QING - University Of Hawaii
item Chang, Chiou

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2015
Publication Date: 10/8/2015
Citation: Li, Q.X., Chang, C.L. 2015. Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) oils. In: Victor R. Preedy., editor, Essential Oils in Food Preservation, Flavor and Safety, Salt Lake City, Utah, Academic Press, p. 231-238.

Interpretive Summary: Basil belongs to the genus Ocimum. Basil is also a common name for several plants in the fenera Acinos (e.g., Acinos arvensis, basil thyme) and Clinopodium (e.g., Clinopodium vulgare, wild basil). In addition to cultural and traditional rituals, basil is one of the most popular herbs in cooking and food network with its wide range of applications, especially in food flavoring and preservation. Sweet basil is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum of the family Lamiaceae or Laviatae (the mint family) and is most economically important among all Ocimum spp. (Figure 1). This chapter fouced on Ocimum basilicum, while other Ocimum baisls were briefly covered. An essential oil is a plant oil containing volatile aromatic chemicals. Basil is an essential oil obtained from vasil plants. Basil oil (also sweet basil oil) described in this chapter is referred to as Ocimum basilicum oil. There are different chemotypes of basil oil on the market. Each possesses more or less differnt aroma and personality for verying applications because they were derived from different cultivars of basil. There are many excellent reviews, books and websites of basil and basil oil. This chapter primarily focused on basil oil with regards to its botanical aspects and its applications in food science, expecially food production, food preservation and culinary flavoring. Literature search with "basil oil" as a keyword gave more than 3000 publications in Google Scholar database and 168 by keyword of Ocimum oil (accessed on March 18, 2014). References cited were mainly those in Google Scholar between 2010 and March 2014, while early references were cited to provide the continuity and coverage of the information on the subject. Little information was available about any potential toxicity of basil oil and its components to humans. Medicinal application, aromatherapy and toxicology of basil oil are out of the scope of this chapter.

Technical Abstract: Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is one of the most popular and healthy culinary herbs in the world. Essential oil derived from basil (basil oil) through steam distillation has traditionally been used for a wide range of applications such as cooking spices, aromatherapy, perfumery, medicinal treatments, pesticides and food preservatives. This chapter was focused on applications of basil oil on food science, especially in food flavoring, preservation and production.