Chemical composition of the essential oil from basil (Ocimum basilicum Linn.) and its in vitro cytotoxicity against HeLa and HEp-2 human cancer cell lines and NIH 3T3 mouse embryonic fibroblasts

Nat Prod Res. 2012;26(12):1112-8. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2010.545357. Epub 2011 Sep 22.


This study examines the chemical composition and in vitro anticancer activity of the essential oil from Ocimum basilicum Linn. (Lamiaceae), cultivated in the Western Ghats of South India. The chemical compositions of basil fresh leaves were identified by GC-MS: 11 components were identified. The major constituents were found to be methyl cinnamate (70.1%), linalool (17.5%), β-elemene (2.6%) and camphor (1.52%). The results revealed that this plant may belong to the methyl cinnamate and linalool chemotype. A methyl thiazol tetrazolium assay was used for in vitro cytotoxicity screening against the human cervical cancer cell line (HeLa), human laryngeal epithelial carcinoma cell line (HEp-2) and NIH 3T3 mouse embryonic fibroblasts. The IC(50) values obtained were 90.5 and 96.3 µg mL(-1), respectively, and the results revealed that basil oil has potent cytotoxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / drug effects*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Ocimum basilicum / chemistry*
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*


  • Oils, Volatile