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Basil Oil – Ocimum basilicum

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Description

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Basil : Ocimum basilicum, also called great basil or Saint-Joseph’s-wort, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints).

Basil is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia.[3] It is a tender plant, and is used in cuisines worldwide. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.

There are many varieties of basil, as well as several related species or hybrids also called basil. The type used commonly as a flavor is typically called sweet basil (or Genovese basil), as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. × citriodorum), and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum). While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as “African blue basil”.

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Basil is an annual, or sometimes perennial, herb used for its leaves. Depending on the variety, plants can reach between 30 cm (0.98 ft) and 150 cm (4.9 ft). Its leaves are richly green and ovate, but otherwise come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes depending on cultivar. Leaf sizes range from 3 cm (1.2 in) to 11 cm (4.3 in) long, and between 1 cm (0.39 in) and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide. Basil grows a thick, central taproot. Its flowers are small and white, and grow from a central inflorescence that emerges from the central stem atop the plant.[citation needed]

Phytochemistry
The various basils have such different scents because the herb has a number of different essential oils in different proportions for various cultivars. The essential oil from European basil contains high concentrations of linalool and methyl chavicol (estragole), in a ratio of about 3:1. Other constituents include: 1,8-cineole, eugenol, and myrcene, among others. The clove scent of sweet basil is derived from eugenol. The aroma profile of basil includes 1,8-cineole and methyl eugenol.

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