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Comparative Study of Volatile Compounds from Genus Ocimum

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Author(s): S. Raseetha Vani | S.F. Cheng | C.H. Chuah

Journal: American Journal of Applied Sciences
ISSN 1546-9239

Volume: 6;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 523;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Holy basil | sweet basil | essential oils | methyl eugenol | methyl chavicol | Ocimum sanctum | Ocimum basilicum

ABSTRACT
There are distinct varieties of basil types in the genus Ocimum which makes them very special. Genus Ocimum is widespread over Asia, Africa and Central & Southern America. All basils are member of the Lamiaceae family. The colors of the leaves vary from bright green to purple-green and sometimes almost black. Fresh basil leaves have a strong and characteristic aroma, not comparable to any other spice, although there is a hint of clove traceable. Ocimum Sanctum, also addressed as Ocimum Tenuiflorum is a sacred plant in the Hindu culture and known as Tulasi in Tamil or Holy Basil in English. Meanwhile Ocimum Basilicum, known as Common or Sweet Basil has very dark green leaves. The genus Ocimum is cultivated for its remarkable essential oil which exhibits many usages such as in medicinal application, herbs, culinary, perfume for herbal toiletries, aromatherapy treatment and as flavoring agent. Due to varying essential oil profiles even within the same species, plants may often be classified as a different species as a result of different scents. In the present study, volatile constituents of Ocimum Sanctum and Ocimum Basilicum were extracted using various solvents and their chemical constituents were identified and quantified by using GC-MS in optimized conditions. The profiles of extract from both species were compared in an effort to investigate effects of seasonal variation on their chemical compositions. The predominant species in Ocimum Sanctum and Ocimum Basilicum was found to be methyl eugenol and methyl chavicol, respectively, during different months of analysis.

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