Basil herb (Basilici herba)

Published March 18, 1992.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Basilici herba, basil herb.

Composition of Drug

Basil herb consists of the dried, above-ground parts of Ocimum basilicum L. [Fam. Lamiaceae], as well as preparations thereof.

Pharmacological Properties, Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology

In vitro antimicrobial.


Preparations of basil are used for supportive therapy for feelings of fullness and flatulence, for the stimulation of appetite and digestion, and as a diuretic.

The effectiveness for the claimed applications is not documented.


The herb contains about 0.5 percent essential oil with up to 85 percent estragole. Estragole, after metabolic activation, has a mutagenic effect. Animal experiments indicated a carcinogenic effect, which demands further investigation. Because of the high estragole content in the essential oil, the herb should not be taken during pregnancy, nursing, by infants or toddlers, or over extended periods of time.


Since the effectiveness for the claimed use is not documented, and because of the risks involved, a therapeutic application cannot be justified.

There is no objection to its use as an aroma or flavor corrigent in preparations containing up to 5 percent.