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.
Basil linalool is also among the key products that have put Egypt on the world map of aromatic essential oils. Last year saw a huge spurt in demand and a consequent boom in the quantities of oil produced. However, it is the quality of the oil that plays a vital role in influencing the dynamics of the basil linalool market. The main area of production is Beni Suef. This season has opened well, albeit with a lower demand than last year. There were some issues with the quality last year. Though challenges persist, the quality has improved remarkably. Oil production has touched 25 MT this year. The true basil grand vert 50% linalool is scarce and remains rather expensive. However, large volumes of the mutated type with 42% to 45% linalool are easily available. Last year, the prices fetched by basil were not up to expectations. This is the nudging factor for the reduced basil plantings this year. The market is hopeful about the carryover, which is expected to prevent prices from soaring.
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