By Dr Renita D’Souza
Basil is widely used as culinary spice and known Ayurvedic herb used to treat cough, poisoning, headache, diarrhoea, intestinal worms etc. It is known as Barbari in Sanskrit.
Sweet Basil essential oil is used to flavor food, relieves indigestion, flatulence, constipation, cough, asthma etc. It is used in aromatherapy and relieves stress. It act as antibacterial, anti-fungal and insect repellent.
It is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves and the flowering tops Ocimum basilicum.
Botanical Name – Ocimum basilicum
Synonyms – Ocimum nigrum, Ocimum thyrsiflorum
Family – Lamiaceae
Read – Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum – Benefits, Research, Side Effects
Home remedies – Barbari
Traditional Remedies of Sweet basil (barbari)
- To relieve cough, juice of vantulsi along with honey or the infusion of seeds is given.
- In diarrhoea, seed infusion is given. It is considered as absorbent (grahi) in nature.
- For scorpion bite, leaf paste is applied externally.
- In snake bite, 50 – 60 ml of juice is given every four hours.
- Juice is made used externally to relieve ear pain and toothache.
- Juice is applied over head to control dandruff. It is also applied in scalp ringworm.
Qualities, uses, types
Medicinal Qualities of Barbari herb (sweet basil)
Taste – katu (pungent),
Virya (potency) – shita (cold)
Qualities of Barbari (vantulsi)
Ruksha – dry
Tikshna – sharp and penetrating in nature
Laghu – light to digest
Vidahi – causes burning sensation
Ruchikarak – improves perception of taste
Hrdya – cardiac tonic
Deepana – carminative
Special qualities of Barbari
Pishachavanti – protect from evil spirits
Bhutagni – relieves psychiatric disorders
Effect on Tridoshas
Pittala – increases pitta dosha
Balances Vata and Kapha dosha
Traditional Uses of Basil:
Kandu – itching
Krmi – intestinal worm infestation
Visha – poisoning, toxic condition
Juice of the barbari is considered sharp, penetrating (tikshna), hot, dry in nature. It balances Vata dosha, induces sweating and relieves worm infestation.
Qualities of barbari seeds
Taste – sweet
Potency (virya) – cold (shitha)
Snigdha – unctous
Sthambhana – styptic
Relieves burning sensation and emaciation (shosha)
Varieties of Barbari (vantulasi)
Reference – Bhavaprakasha Nighantu
1. Kali Van Tulsi (krshna)
Sanskrit Synonyms – Katillaka, Kuteraka
2. Saphed Van Tulsi (shukla)
Sanskrit Name – Arjaka
Shloka, controversy, dose
In Raja Nighantu, Barbari is mentioned as the synonym of Bharangi herb.
Read – Bharangi Clerodendrum serratum Uses, Side Effects, Dose
Whole plant, seeds
Juice – 3 – 5 ml
Seed powder – 3 – 6 grams
Side effects, chemistry, pharmacology
Side Effects of Barbari Herb
There are no recorded side effects.
However, in excess dose can cause stomach irritation, burning sensation or constipation.
Due to the hot and sharp quality, it is better to avoid its usage in high pitta conditions, heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding disorders, pregnancy and lactation.
Chemical constituents of Ocimum basilicum
Terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponin glycosides and ascorbic acid.
Pharmacological Acivities of Ocimum basilicum
Hepato-protective, immunomodulatory, anti-hyperglycemic, hypolipidemic, anti toxic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal.
Pharmacological Activities of Basil essential oil
It possess high antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-hypertensive, anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities.
1. Read review on phytochemical and pharmacological studies of Ocimum basilicum (a)
Morphology of Ocimum basilicum
Ocimum basilicum is an erect herb grows to a height of 30 – 60 cm. Leaves 2-5 cm long, opposite, ovate and aromatic. Flower pale purple or white, arranged in a terminal spike . Nutlets, small, ellipoides and black. Stem glabrous, hairy at the nodes.
Ocimum basilicum is native to tropical Asia, Africa and America and cultivated in Europe, South-west Asia and the USA.
Distribution, different names, medicines
Names in different languages
Hindi Name – Barbari, Bambari, Vantulsi, Baarbara, Ram Tulsi
English Name – Common basil, Sweet basil
Bengali Name – Babui tulsi, Khubkalam
Kannada Name – Kaama gaggare, Kaama kasturi
Malayalam Name – Pach-cha-pushpam, pachcha, ram-tulasi, tirunetru, kattuthrithavu
Marathi Name – Bhu-tulasi, Sabaja
Gujarati Name – Ran tulsi, Damaro
Tamil Name – Tirunittru, Chankanirakkarantai, Chapchavitai, Tirtuthpathachi
Punjabi Name – Baburi, Babari
Telugu Name – Bhu-tulasi
Urdu Name – burg faranjmushk, burg firanjmishk
Ayurvedic Medicines with Ocimum basilicum as Ingredient
Ocem 5 Drops – It is an Ayurvedic medicine mainly used in chronic respiratory conditions and influenza.
Surasadi tailam – Used in the treatment of sinusitis, bronchial diseases, cough, chronic catarrh and chronic wounds.
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Pushpa Varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu — Aushadi Varga
Shodala Nighantu – Shatapushpadi Varga
Barbari, tuvari, tunghi
Kreshnarjaka, kalamalah, Maluka
Kingdom – Plantae
Division – Magnoliophyta
Class – Magnoliopsida
Order – Lamiales
Family – Lamiaceae
Genus – Ocimum
Species – basilicum
Binomial Name – Ocimum basilicum
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