Holy Basil Essential Oil (Ociumum tenuiflorum)


Holy Basil may also be referred to as Tulsi , Ocimum sanctum, Ocimum Sanctum Ct Eugenol. It is typically processed using steam or hydro distillation as a method for extracting oil from the leaves and flowers/buds.


Holy Basil Essential Oil is sometimes known as Tulsi Essential Oil. Used extensively in India and within Ayurvedic practices, Holy Basil is grown and distilled for aromatic, medicinal and spiritual purposes.

Aromatically, Holy Basil Essential Oil resembles a cross between traditional Basil Oil and Clove Oil. Holy Basil contains a large percentage (up to 85%) of Eugenol, a chemical constituent that gives Clove Oil its characteristic aroma.

Essential Facts

  • Aroma Description:

    Herbaceous Spicy Strong Warm

  • Common Name(s): Tulsi , Ocimum sanctum, Ocimum Sanctum Ct Eugenol
  • Botanical Family: Lamiaceae
  • Chemical Family: Phenols, Esters, Monoterpenes
  • Major Compounds: Eugenol, 1,8-Cineole, Estragole, B-Bisabolene, (Z)-a-Bisabolene
  • Perfumery Note: Top
  • Consistency: Thin
  • Strength of Initial Aroma: Strong
  • Color: Pale Yellow
  • Indigenous Country: United States, India
  • Cultivation: Unsprayed / Wild Harvested
  • Processing Methods: Steam or Hydro Distillation
  • Part Typically Used: Leaves and Flowers/Buds
  • Shelf Life: 4 - 5 years
  • Vegan Vegan
  • Not Pregnancy Safe Not recommended or safe if pregnant or nursing
  • Not Child Safe Not recommend or safe for children

Essential Details

Cautions & Safety

Cautions when using Holy Basil:

Tisserand and Young suggest a dermal maximum of 1% based on Holy Basil Oil with up to 50.4% Eugenol content. They indicate that Holy Basil Oil may inhibit blood clotting. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 204.]

Safety Precautions for Holy Basil:

Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

According to Tisserand & Young, Holy Basil Essential Oil may (oral usage) inhibit blood clotting, cause drug interactions, cause skin & mucous membrane sensitization. Contraindications: May interact with pethidine, MAOIs or SSRIs, anticoagulant medication, major surgery, peptic ulcer, hemophilia & other bleeding disorders. Eugenol belongs to the Phenol chemical family. Phenols are potentially irritating components to the skin and mucous membranes, and they can cause dermatitis and sensitization. If phenols are present in high concentrations in the essential oil, the essential oil should be used in very low dilutions on the skin, diluted well in carrier oil, and only used for short periods of time. Phenol-high oils are skin irritating if used in a bath. Use in small amounts when blending phenol-rich oils for diffusing (no more than 10% of the pure essential oil blend). Phenol-rich oils should not be used on people with skin issues such as dermatitis, or on babies or children. Oils high in eugenol, thymol or carvacrol inhibits platelet aggregation, and are not to be used by people with blood clotting disorders, by people taking anticoagulant drugs such as aspirin or Warfarin, or before surgery. According to Tisserand, Holy basil may inhibit blood clotting, have skin sensitization effects & possible mucous membrane irritation. Suggested maximum topical use of eugenol is 0.5%. In small doses, eugenol can be liver-protective, however, in high concentrations, it is hepatotoxic and can cause tissue damage.

Energetic, Spiritual, and Emotional Qualities


Holy Basil Articles or Publications: