Basil Oil Linalool (or Sweet Basil) 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.
Seeds are planted late March and early April with cutting starting as early as June. Distillation occurs later in summer with oil readily available around September / October.
There are a number of chemotypes available in this family but Sweet Basil has the higher percentage of linalool and is considered the safest to be used in aromatherapy where it has many traditional and therapeutic benefits. The linalool can be extracted for use as a natural isolate in perfumery.
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.
Sweet Basil has a sweet, spicy and green top note with light woody middle notes and is commonly cultivated in Egypt, India and Nepal.
There are two variants available in the basil category; and the quality of material is a key factor that dictates market dynamics. The paucity of true basil grand vert 50% linalool has led to its exorbitant price in the market. There is an abundance of the other mutated variant with 42% linalool. This year, there is a predicted reduction in basil planting due to disappointing prices last year. However, no major upheavals are expected since prices will be buttressed by carryover stock from last year.
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