- Botanical Name: Ocimum santum
- Synonyms: Ocimum tenuiflorum, Ocimum acrocephalum Blume
- Common Name: Holy Basil
- Seed collection period: Jun- Sep
- Ocimum sanctum is an aromatic, perennial herb, 1-3 m tall; stem erect, round-quadrangular, much branched, glabrous or pubescent, woody at the base, often with epidermis peeling in strips. Leaves opposite; petiole 2-4.5 cm long, slender, pubescent; blade elliptical to ovate, 1.5-16 cm x 1-8.5 cm, membranaceous, sometimes glandular punctate, base cuneate, entire, margin elsewhere coarsely crenate-serrate, apex acute, puberulent or pubescent.
- In its native area O. sanctum occurs from sea-level up to 1500 m altitude in coastal scrub, along lake shores, in savanna vegetation, in sub montane forest, and disturbed land. In South-East Asia it is not frequently found in open locations like roadsides and clearings, but more often cultivated as a hedge plant, up to about 300 m altitude.
The whole plant and the essential oil have many applications in traditional medicine, especially in Africa and India. Preparations from the whole plant are used as stomachic and in treating sunstroke, headache and influenza. The seeds have laxative properties and are prescribed against gonorrhoea. The essential oil is applied against fever, inflammations of the throat, ears or eyes, stomach pain, diarrhoea and skin diseases. It is being tested as an antibiotic.