Effect of common horsetail extract on growth characteristics, essential oil yield and chemical compositions of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.)

Sci Rep. 2024 May 15;14(1):11082. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-61830-9.


To investigate the effect of horsetail extract containing high silicon on morphological traits, growth, content, and compositions of essential oil of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) an experiment turned into carried out in the shape of a randomized complete block design with three replications. Foliar treatment of horsetail extract with zero, 0.5, 1, and 2% concentrations was applied on 6-8 leaf plants. The assessed traits include plant height, number of leaves per plant, number of sub-branches, leaf area index, plant fresh weight, plant dry weight, total anthocyanin, the content of total phenol and total flavonoid, antioxidant activity, essential oil content, and compounds were measured. The findings demonstrated that the increase of silicon-containing horsetail extract enhanced the improved increase in growth and phytochemical trait values. The use of horsetail extract in the 2% treatment increased plant height, the number of leaves per plant, the number of sub-branches, leaf area index, fresh weight, and dry weight of the plant by 49.79, 45.61, 91.09, 99.78, 52.78 and 109.25%, respectively, compared to the control. The highest content of total phenol (2.12 mg GAE/g DW), total flavonoid (1.73 mg RE/g DW), total anthocyanin (0.83 mg C3G/g DW), and antioxidant activity (184.3 µg/ml) was observed in the 2% extract treatment. The content of essential oil increased with increasing the concentration of horsetail extract, so the highest amount of essential oil was obtained at the concentration of 2%, which increased by 134.78% compared to the control. By using GC-MS, the essential oil was analyzed. The main components of the essential oil include methyl eugenol (12.93-25.93%), eugenol (17.63-27.51%), 1,8-cineole (15.63-20.84%), linalool (8.31-19.63%) and (Z)-caryophyllene (6.02-14.93%). Increasing the concentration of horsetail extract increased the compounds of eugenol, 1,8-cineole, and linalool in essential oil compared to the control, but decreased the compounds of methyl eugenol and (Z)-caryophyllene. Foliar spraying of horsetail extract, which contains high amounts of silicon, as a stimulant and biological fertilizer, can be a beneficial ingredient in increasing the yield and production of medicinal plants, especially in organic essential oil production.

Keywords: Antioxidant activity; Common horsetail; Essential oil; GC–MS; Silicon.

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / analysis
  • Antioxidants* / analysis
  • Antioxidants* / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Ocimum basilicum* / chemistry
  • Ocimum basilicum* / growth & development
  • Oils, Volatile* / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile* / pharmacology
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Plant Extracts* / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts* / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves* / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves* / growth & development