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Health Benefits of


Basil is a herb that originated from the regions of Central Africa and Southeast Asia and is commonly cultivated in warm and temperate regions around the globe. Basil or Ocimum basilicum belongs to the mint family of plants. Basil seeds, flowers, and leaves have both commercial and therapeutic uses and may or may not be consumed as food. Basil seeds are rich in carbohydrates, essential and non-essential amino acids, and fatty acids as well as minerals that are beneficial for regulating body functions. Subsequent sections provide knowledge regarding the topical benefits of basil. [1]


Basil Improves Transdermal Permeability

Basil oil is an important source of terpenes that enhance skin permeability and allow therapeutic formulations to effectively penetrate the skin. The improves the efficacy and outcomes of topical drug formulations. [2]

Basil for Migraine Headaches

The topical application of basil essential oil alleviates migraine headaches and improves the quality of life of individuals suffering from migraine headaches. Ahmadifard et al. conducted a randomized control study to assess the effects of basil essential oil on the pain intensity and frequency of migraine headaches in migraine patients. Basil oil contains anti-inflammatory chemicals including cineole, geraniol, flavonoids, and estragole that improve the symptoms of migraine. Menthol has spasmolytic properties that enable it to reduce the sensitivity of involved muscles to pain. [3]


Figure 2 this graph demonstrates the effects of different concentrations of basil oil on the frequency of migraine headaches


Figure 3 this graph demonstrates the effects of different concentrations of basil oil on the pain intensity of migraine headaches

Antimicrobial Activity of Basil

Basil oil suppresses microbial growth and is used in the treatment of Athlete's Foot, a ringworm infection. Basil oil along with other aromatic oils modulates excessive growth of aerobic bacteria and fungal organisms on the skin. [4] Basil oil also demonstrates antimicrobial activity against Propionibacterium acnes, bacteria responsible for causing acne. Methyl chavicol is the primary compound in sweet basil oil responsible for treating acne. [5]

Anticancer Activity of Basil

Phytochemicals present in the holy basil are known for their therapeutic properties against skin cancer as these chemicals inhibit metastasis, angiogenesis, alter the gene expression, and promote apoptosis of cancerous cells. These phytochemicals also protect the skin from oxidate damage caused by free radicals and reactive oxygen species, that otherwise predispose the skin to cancerous changes. [6]

Antiaging Properties of Basil

Basil extract increases the moisture content of the skin by reducing transdermal water loss. This also reduces the appearance and depth of wrinkles by promoting the production of collagen. The use of skincare formulations containing basil extract also demonstrates higher levels of energy of skin cells that indicate higher hydration and elasticity values of the skin. [7]

Antibacterial Activity of Basil

Basil oil has a relatively higher antimicrobial activity attributed to its constituent chemicals including estragole, cineole, and bergamotene. Basil oil is effective against extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing bacteria, that are otherwise hard to treat by antibiotic drugs. [8]

Basil Inhibits Tyrosinase and Collagenase

Tyrosinase and collagenase are the key culprit enzymes known for causing premature aging and hyperpigmentation of the skin. Basil inhibits the activity of these enzymes as well as contains polyphenols that possess antioxidant properties to protect the skin from oxidative damage. [9]

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