Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a plant that much research has been done on recently. Currently there is research that supports its use for chronic diabetes, as an antioxidant and also as an anti-inflammatory. Research shows that it scavenges free radicals and inhibits inflammatory cytokines.
Essential oils are not generally for internal use, unless advised by a specialized health care practitioner. When extracted, essential oils are many times more concentrated than the amount of oil you find in the whole plant. Because of this, if used directly on the skin they may cause irritation. If ingested in large amounts, they can cause toxicity and health issues. Please use common sense and caution when using essential oils. Generally the ideal method is to mix a small amount of essential oil with a food grade carrier oil and apply the mixture to the skin as directed.
Additionally, many commonly known brands of essential oils, marketed as pure and organic, have been found to contain petroleum and petroleum product residues that are toxic and dangerous to ingest. Please verify the sources and purity of your essential oils.
Recent efforts to develop cure for chronic diabetic complications have led to the discovery of potent inhibitors against aldose reductase (AKR1B1, EC 220.127.116.11) whose role in diabetes is well-evident. In the present work, two new natural products were isolated from the ariel part of Ocimum basilicum; 7-(3-hydroxypropyl)-3-methyl-8-β-O-d-glucoside-2H-chromen-2-one (1) and E-4-(6′-hydroxyhex-3′-en-1-yl)phenyl propionate (2) and confirmed their structures with different spectroscopic techniques including NMR spectroscopy etc. The isolated compounds (1, 2) were evaluated for in vitro inhibitory activity against aldose reductase (AKR1B1) and aldehyde reductase (AKR1A1). The natural product (1) showed better inhibitory activity for AKR1B1 with IC50 value of 2.095±0.77µM compare to standard sorbinil (IC50=3.14±0.02µM). Moreover, the compound (1) also showed multifolds higher activity (IC50=0.783±0.07µM) against AKR1A1 as compared to standard valproic acid (IC50=57.4±0.89µM). However, the natural product (2) showed slightly lower activity for AKR1B1 (IC50=4.324±1.25µM). Moreover, the molecular docking studies of the potent inhibitors were also performed to identify the putative binding modes within the active site of aldose/aldehyde reductases.
In this study, the chemical composition and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L. Lamiaceae family) were evaluated. Sweet basil is a food-related plant that is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. Sweet basil crude oil was processed via molecular distillation and further characterized using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to screen for new compounds. The GC-MS analysis identified thirty-eight compounds. The major constituents of the residue fraction were estragole (17.06%), methyl eugenol (11.35%) and linoleic acid (11.40%), while the distillate fraction primarily contained methyl eugenol (16.96%), α-cadinol (16.24%) and α-bergamotene (11.92%). The antioxidant (DPPH and ABTS assays) and anti-inflammatory (in Raw264.7 cells) activities were evaluated. The residue fraction markedly scavenged the DPPH (IC50 = 1.092 ± 0.066 mg/mL) and ABTS (IC50 = 0.707 ± 0.042 mg/mL) radicals. Meanwhile, the distillate fraction distinctly suppressed the production of cytokines (TNF-α, IL-β, IL-6) and their gene expression in LPS-induced Raw264.7 cells and suppressed NO and iNOS in an in vitro model when compared with the crude oil. In conclusion, the fractions obtained from sweet basil crude oil showed different antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they could be used as an effective source of natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents after molecular distillation. Thus, the properties of essential oils in natural herbal medicines may be maximized to provide a valuable therapeutic strategy for treating various disorders caused by extreme oxidative stress. (2)
(1) Bhatti HA, Tehseen Y, Maryam K, Uroos M, Siddiqui BS, Hameed A, Iqbal J. (2017). Identification of new potent inhibitor of aldose reductase from Ocimum basilicum. Bioorg Chem. Sep 5;75:62-70.
(2) Zhang X, Zhang J, Fu Q. (2017). Evaluation of the chemical composition, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of distillate and residue fractions of sweet basil essential oil. Li H, Ge Y, Luo Z, Zhou Y. (2017). J Food Sci Technol. Jun;54(7):1882-1890.