Inhalation of low-dose basil (Ocimum basilicum) essential oil improved cardiovascular health and plasma lipid markers in high fat diet-induced obese rats

J Food Sci. 2022 Jun;87(6):2450-2462. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.16196. Epub 2022 May 19.


This study investigated the antiobesogenic effects of the inhalation of volatile compounds derived from basil essential oil (BEO) in high fat diet-induced obese rats. A total of 47 volatile compounds were identified in BEO using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Major volatile compounds identified by olfactory testing include linalool oxide, linalool, 1-menthene, and carvone. White adipose tissue significantly decreased in the rats that inhaled 0.3% BEO (more than +10%) compared to the control. Plasma marker analysis showed increased high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (ca. double fold) and decreased low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (more than -30%) levels in inhaled 1% BEO group compared to the control. Leptin significantly decreased in the 0.3 and 1% BEO groups (more than -70 and -85%, respectively). Last, systolic blood pressure at week 12 was significantly lower in inhaled 1% BEO group (more than -15%) compared to the control. The results of this study suggest that BEO inhalation may be effective in managing plasma lipid markers (cholesterols and leptin) and possibly metabolic disorders such as obesity. Practical Application: Changes in metabolic health markers, which are effected by inhalation of volatiles in basil (Ocimum basilicum) essential oil, will provide physiological variations in vivo to the public. In this study, the opposite effects were identified between 0.3% and 1% inhalation, respectively. Therefore, our findings will provide optimized and useful guidance for inhalation of basil essential oil.

Keywords: antiobesity; basil (Ocimum basilicum) essential oil; blood pressure; inhalation; leptin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Leptin / pharmacology
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Ocimum basilicum* / chemistry
  • Ocimum*
  • Oils, Volatile* / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile* / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Rats


  • Biomarkers
  • Leptin
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils