Albahaca, Basilic, Basilic Commun, Basilic Grand, Basilic Grand Vert, Basilic Romain, Basilic aux Sauces, Basilici Herba, Basilici Herba, Common Basil, Garden Basil, Munjariki, Ocimum basilicum, St. Josephwort, St. Joseph's Wort, Surasa, Sweet Basil, Vanatulasi, Varvara.


Overview Information

Basil is an herb. The parts of the plant that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

Basil is commonly used for stomach problems such as spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, diarrhea, constipation, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In foods, basil is used for flavor.

How does it work?

Basil contains many chemicals. These chemicals might kill bacteria and fungi. Chemicals in basil might reduce symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Migraine. Early research shows that applying basil essential oil to the forehead and temples every 8 hours can reduce migraine pain by a small amount in some people.
  • Acne.
  • Mental alertness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Common cold.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Gas (flatulence).
  • Insect bites.
  • Kidney disorders.
  • Infection of the intestines by parasites.
  • Warts.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of basil for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Basil is LIKELY SAFE when consumed in food amounts. When taken by mouth as a medicine, basil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Basil herb and basil oil contain estragole. Estragole is a chemical that might increase the risk of getting liver cancer.

When applied to the skin: Basil essential oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin in concentrations of up to 6% for 12 weeks.

When inhaled as aromatherapy: There isn't enough reliable information to know to know if basil is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Basil is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts are POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Basil contains a chemical, estragole, which has caused liver cancer in laboratory mice.

Children: Basil is LIKELY SAFE for children in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts are POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Basil contains a chemical, estragole, which has caused liver cancer in laboratory mice.

Bleeding disorders: Basil oils and extracts might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Low blood pressure: Basil extracts might lower blood pressure. In theory, taking basil extracts might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.

Surgery: Basil oils and extracts might slow blood clotting. In theory, basil oils or extracts might increase the risk of bleeding during surgical procedures. Stop using basil at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



We currently have no information for BASIL Interactions.



The appropriate dose of basil depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for basil. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


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  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at:
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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