Red holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum L.) not only is a staple herb in Thai cuisine but also has numerous medicinal properties. It health benefits include alleviating flatulence and bloating, inducing sweating, bolstering antioxidant defenses, and stimulating the immune system.  In an effort to make this medicinal herb readily accessible, NANOTEC-NSTDA has formed a research collaboration with Specialty Natural Products Company Limited to formulate a potent extract of red holy basil tailored for business-to-business (B2B) markets.

According to Dr. Khomson Suttisintong, Senior Researcher of Nanolife and Cosmeceuticals Research Team, red holy basil contains bioactive compounds such as beta-caryophyllene and rosmarinic acid, as well as aromatic compounds such as eugenol and methyl eugenol. While beta-caryophyllene helps reduce symptoms of bloating and gas, rosmarinic acid is known for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Eugenol and methyl eugenol, on the other hand, are used as flavor and fragrance ingredients in both culinary and cosmetic applications.

“To ensure consumer and environmental safety, we have adopted a green extraction approach,” explained Dr. Khomson. The extraction employs ethanol and water as primary solvents. While eugenol, methyl eugenol and beta-caryophyllene are soluble in ethanol, rosmarinic acid dissolves in water phase.

After obtaining the extract, the next step entails encapsulation – a process designed to encase active compounds within a carrier material, facilitating targeted delivery to specific sites while preserving their properties.

Dr. Khomson revealed that his team has developed a nanoencapsulation method to protect bioactive compounds in the red holy basil extract from environmental agents while allowing specific delivery to target sites, resulting in a potent extract. The encapsulated red holy basil extract is available in both liquid and powder forms. The product is currently undergoing quality and safety evaluation, before being ready for technology transfer.

“This innovation demonstrates our expertise in green extraction, nanoencapsulation and product quality and safety assessment. We offers our service, based on this expertise and our Nanoparticles and Cosmetics Production Plant operating in compliance with the ASEAN GMP Cosmetic standards, under FoodSERP, NSTDA’s one-stop-service platform for food & functional ingredients catered to enterprise clients in health food and cosmeceutical industry,” concluded Dr. Khomson.

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