Amazonian Basil

Scientific Name(s): Ocimum campechianum P. Mill. Also known as Ocimum micranthum Willd. Family: Lamiaceae 1 , 2 , 3

Common Name(s): Amazonian basil , wild sweet basil , wild mosquito plant , ocimum , least basil , Peruvian basil , spice basil , alfavaca-do-campo , manjericao , alfavaca , and estoraque 1 , 2 , 3

Uses

The plant species has had numerous ethnomedicinal uses. Most ethnopharmacologic and in vitro study analyses examine the antimicrobial, cardiovascular, and antioxidant activity of the essential oils. No clinical trials are available.

Slideshow: Breaking Down Bipolar Disorder - 12 Things You Need To Know

Dosing

None validated by clinical data. Other plant species within the genus are commercially available in capsule and tablet forms.

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to any of the components in the plant species.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use because of lack of clinical data. Ethnopharmacologic data document the plant's use as an emmenagogue in Brazil, Piaui, and Maranhao. In Puerto Rico, the plant has been used to increase lactation.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Avoid use in patients who are hypersensitive to any of the components in the plant.

Toxicology

None well documented.

Botany

The family Lamiaceae has nearly 4,000 species worldwide, and the genus Ocimum contains about 160 species. O. campechianum is native to the lowlands of Central and South America and the West Indies. The plant is a strongly aromatic annual herb, varying in height from 40 to 58 cm. The wide leaf is light green, serrated, and ovate to ovate-lanceolate in shape. Its stamens are whitish pink, and its nutlets are ellipsoid in shape and purplish to dark brown. 1 , 2 , 3

History

Ocimum species were introduced into Brazil through Portuguese colonizers and by other European immigrants (Italian, German, Polish). In Europe, the plant species was used for therapeutic and culinary purposes. Among the various species of Lamiaceae, Ocimum adapted well and propagated at roadsides and in home gardens. The species was deeply linked to African traditional medicine. 4

The plant has been used as an emmenagogue, a febrifuge, a diuretic, and a treatment for intestinal disturbances in Brazil. In Puerto Rico, the plant has been used as a carminative to treat GI disorders and to increase lactation in women. In Central and South America as well as the West Indies, the plant has been used to treat colds, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, fever, GI disorders, dysentery, and for screw-worm parasites in nasal passages; a remedy is also used to kill the larvae. Other indications include treatment of epilepsy, nervous symptoms, earaches, influenza, colic, convulsions in children, and painful menstruation. The plant also has been used to flavor beverages and soups. The essential oils are of economic and pharmaceutical interest and have been used in the preparation of perfumes and cosmetics. 4 , 5 , 6

Chemistry

Several studies describe the chemistry of the species, primarily the composition and functional properties of the essential oil.

Three major compound types are present in Ocimum species: phenylpropanoids, monoterpenes, and sesquiterpenes. In particular, the hydrocarbon terpenes vary widely among Ocimum species. More than 50% of the whole terpenes in the leaves of plants from Brazilian soil are monoterpenes. These relative percentages are inverse for plants from Peruvian soil. More than 31 compounds have been identified in the essential oil of O. campechianum . The plant produces a light yellow viscous oil with a spicy odor upon hydrodistillation. The main components in the essential oil are eugenol, β-caryophyllene, and β-elemene. However, the essential oils vary with climate region. The oil of plants from India contains eugenol, 1,8-cineole, β-caryophyllene, and γ-elemene. The oil from Brazilian plants contains eugenol, β-caryophyllene, and elemicin as main components. Also, using hydrodistillation, the essential oil of Ocimum micranthum was highest in the leaves and flowers, which is opposite for other species in the genus; some studies document the species as having the highest total oil content. 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14

Uses and Pharmacology

Ethnopharmacologic and in vitro studies on the plant's pharmacology have been conducted. Most analyses examine the pharmacologic activity of the essential oils. For example, a review documents analgesic activity with O. micranthum oil and anticonvulsant, antispasmodic, and antifungal activity associated with dichlormethane and methanol extracts of the plant. 15

Chemotherapeutic activity

The aromatic alcohols are primarily responsible for the antimicrobial activity of the essential oils. 6

In vitro data

According to results using the disk-diffusion method, O. micranthum essential oil has antimicrobial activity against gram-positive ( Enterococcus foecalis ) and gram-negative bacteria ( Escherichia coli , Pseudomonas aeruginosa ). The essential oil also has dose-dependent activity against food-related yeasts and contaminating bacteria. Extracts have antiprotozoal activity against Trypanosoma cruzi , possibly because of the plant's polyphenolic compounds, flavonoids, and lignans. The essential oil has insecticidal activity. 6 , 16 , 17 , 18

Cardiovascular activity
In vitro and animal data

O. campechianum was not vasoactive on rat aortic smooth muscle. However, the species may have antihemorrhagic properties. According to the results of an animal and in vitro study, the species moderately neutralizes hemorrhagic activity of pit viper venom within the genus Bothrops from Antioquia and Choco, northwestern Colombia. 19 , 20

Other pharmacologic activity

In vitro analyses document antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. 6 , 16 , 21

Dosage

None validated by clinical data. Other plant species within the genus are commercially available in capsule and tablet forms.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use because of the lack of clinical data. Ethnopharmacologic data document the plant's use as an emmenagogue in Brazil. 6 In Puerto Rico, the plant has been used to increase lactation. 4

Interactions

Although no clinical evidence could be found, ethnopharmacologic data document the plant's use as a diuretic in Brazil. 6 Warn patients who have been prescribed diuretic medications such as hydrochlorthiazide or furosemide of potential additive effects when self-medicating with this herb.

Adverse Reactions

Avoid use in patients hypersensitive to any of the components in the plant species. 4

Toxicology

None well documented.

Bibliography

1. Castrillo M , Vizcaino D , Moreno E , Latorraca Z . Chlorophyll content in some cultivated and wild species of the family Lamiaceae . Biol Plant . 2001;44:423-425.
2. Rosas JF , das Graças B. Zoghbi M , Andrade EH , van den Berg ME . Chemical composition of a methyl-(E)-cinnamate Ocimum micranthum Willd from the Amazon . Flavour Fragrance J . 2005;20:161-163.
3. Khosla MK , Pushpangadan P , Thappa RK , Sobti SN . Search for new aroma chemicals from Ocimum species, III. Studies on genetic variability for essential oil and other allied characters of South American species O. micranthum Willd . Indian Perfumer . 1980;3:148-152.
4. Vieira RF , Simon JE . Chemical characterization of basil ( Ocimum spp.) found in the markets and used in traditional medicine in Brazil . Econ Bot . 2000;54:207-216.
5. Charles DJ , Simon JE , Wood KV . Essential oil constituents of Ocimum micranthum Willd . J Agric Food Chem . 1990;38:120-122.
6. Sacchetti G , Medici A , Maietti S , et al. Composition and functional properties of the essential oil of amazonian basil, Ocimum micranthum Willd., Labiatae in comparison with commercial essential oils . J Agric Food Chem . 2004;52:3486-3491.
7. Viña A , Murillo E . Essential oil composition from twelve varieties of Basil ( Ocimum spp.) grown in Columbia . J Braz Chem Soc . 2003;14:744-749.
8. Maia JG , Ramos LS , Luz AI , et al . Uncommon Brazilian essential oils of the Labiatae and Compositae . Lawrence BM, Mookherjee BD, Willis BJ, eds. Flavors and Fragrances: A World Perspective . Proceedings of the 10th International Congress of Essential Oils, Fragrances and Flavors, Washington, DC, 16-20 November 1986. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers; 1998.
9. Jorge LI , Roque NF , Ferro VO . Ocimum micranthum Willd-Manjericao of Brazil. Histological and chemical characterizations . Rev Inst Adolfo Lutz . 1992;52:47-50.
10. Khosla MK , Pushpangadan P , Thappa RK , Sobti SN . Search for new aroma chemicals from Ocimum species. III. Studies on genetic variability for essential oil and other allied characters of South American species O. micranthum Willd . Indian Perfumer . 1980;24:148-152.
11. Rosas JF , da Silva AC , Zoghbi MG , Andrade EH . The comparison of the volatiles of the Ocimum micranthum Willd. leaves obtained by hydrodistillation and simultaneous distillation and extraction . Revista Brasileira Plant Med . 2004;7:26-29.
12. Vasconcelos Silva MG , Craveiro AA , Machado MI , Alencar JW , de Abreu Matos FJ , Aurelio FK . Essential oils from leaves and inflorescences of Ocimum micranthum Willd. from Northeastern Brazil . J Essent Oil Res . 1998;10:77-78.
13. Vasconcelos Silva MG , de Abreu Matos FJ , Machado MI , de Oliveira Silva F . Essential oil composition of the leaves of Ocimum micranthum Willd . J Essent Oil Res . 2004;16:189-190.
14. Charles DJ , Simon JE . Comparison of extraction methods for the rapid determination of essential oil content and composition of Basil . J Amer Soc Hortic Sci . 1990;115:458-462.
15. Vasconcelos Silva MG , de Abreu Matos FJ , Lopes PR , de Oliveira Silva F , Holanda MT . Composition of essential oils from three Ocimum species obtained by steam and microwave distillation and supercritical CO2 extraction . ARKIVOC . 2004;4:66-71.
16. Navarro MC , Montilla MP , Cabo MM , et al. Antibacterial, antiprotozoal and antioxidant activity of five plants used in Izabal for infectious diseases . Phytother Res . 2003;17:325-329.
17. Murillo E , Vina A , Linares M . Chemical composition, insecticidal and antifungal activity of Ocimum micranthum Willd . Rev Colomb Entomol . 2002;28:109-113.
18. Borges-Argaez R , Escalante-Erosa F , May-Pat F , et al. Bioactive metabolites from Yucatecan medicinal plants . Phytochem Phytopharm . 2000:332-341.
19. Slish DF , Ueda H , Arvigo R , Balick MJ . Ethnobotany in the search for vasoactive herbal medicines . J Ethnopharmacol. 1999;66:159-165.
20. Otero R , Nunez V , Barona J , et al. Snakebites and ethnobotany in the northwest region of Colombia. Part III: neutralization of the haemorrhagic effect of Bothrops atrox venom . J Ethnopharmacol . 2000;73:233-241.
21. Lino CS, Gomes PB, Lucetti DL, et al. Evaluation of antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activities of the essential oil (EO) of Ocimum micranthum Willd. from Northeastern Brazil . Phytother Res . 2005;19:708-712.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health

More about amazonian basil

Hide
(web3)