Basil Oil is distilled from the botanical Ocimum basilicum L. The plant is typically grown and harvested for its leaves, which are popular around the world in many food dishes.
There are a number of chemotypes available in this family and this variety is high in Methyl Chavicol (also known as Estragole), which can typically be around 85% of the component mixture. Estragole is used in perfumes and as a food additive for flavour.
Estragole is often isolated and converted to anethole using potassium hydroxide.
Traditionally it has been used to treat a variety of ailments such as anxiety, nausea, muscle aches, insect bites and flu symptoms. Powdered basil leaves were also inhaled to combat chest infections. Today it is considered good to as an antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive and expectorant.
Basil has a sweet, spicy and green top note with light woody middle notes.
The 2017 crop was down significantly as a large proportion of crops were destroyed during ‘Severe Tropical Storm Talas’ which hit the region mid-July. Harvesting usually takes place between September and December and had ended at the time of writing.
In a usual year, Vietnam produces 25-30 MT. It is feared that figure could 50% less once final numbers are calculated. With low stocks in the market, prices have already firmed 30-40% in recent months with further increases likely as we go into 2018.
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