Essential Oils

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Ambrette Seed

Abelmoschus Moschastus

Family
Malvaceae

Synonyms
Hibiscus abelmoschus, musk seed, Egyptian alcee, target-leaved hibiscus, muskmallow.

General Description
Indigenous to India; widely cultivated in tropical countries including Indonesia, Africa, Egypt, China, Madagascar, and the West Indies. Distillation of the oil is generally carried out in Europe and America.

Other Species
A variety, H. esculentus, is grown largely in Istanbul as a demulcent. Another variety is also found in Martinique, the seeds of which have a more delicate scent.

Herbal/Folk Tradition
Generally used as a stimulant and to ease digestion, cramp and nervous dyspepsia. In Chinese medicine it is used to treat headache; in Egypt the seeds are used to sweeten the breath and are made into an emulsion with milk to be used for itch. The Arabs use the seeds to mix with coffee. Widely used as a domestic spice in the East.

Actions
Antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, nervine, stimulant, stomachic.

Extraction
Essential oil by steam distillation of the seeds. Liquid ambrette seed oil should be allowed to age for several months before it is used. A concrete and absolute are also produced by solvent extraction.

Characteristics
A pale yellow-red liquid with a rich, sweet floral-musky odour, very tenacious. It blends well with rose, neroli, sandalwood, clary sage, cypress, patchouli, oriental and "sophisticated' bases.

Principal Constituents
Ambrettolide, ambrettolic acid, Palmitic acid and farnesol.

Safety Data
Available information indicates the oil to be non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing.

Aromatherapy/Home Use
Circulation muscles and joints:
Cramp, fatigue, muscular aches and pains, poor circulation.

Nervous system:
Anxiety, depression, nervous tension and stress-related conditions.

Other Uses:
Employed by the cosmetic and perfumery industries in oriental-type scents and for adulteration of musk; also used as a musk substitute. Used for flavouring alcoholic and soft drinks as well as some foodstuffs, especially confectionery.

 

Reference: The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: Julia Lawless

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