Ambrette which is a native of India is an aromatic and medicinal plant in the Malvaceae family. Ambrette seeds have a sweet, flowery, heavy fragrance quite similar to that of musk. In spite of its tropical origin the plant is frost resilient and this evergreen shrub grows well in India, and is cultivated in the West Indies, Indonesia and China. Ambrette seeds are used as a spice in the East, and as a musk substitute in perfumery all over the world and in India it is popularly known as Mushkdana or Kasturi Bhendi. Oil is extracted from the musky, kidney- shaped, fully mature seeds.
Ambrette oil should be allowed to mature for a few months before use in flavours or fragrances because this allows the fatty acid notes to suppress and a rich, sweet, floral-musky nearly wine-like or brandy like odour to build up. When ambrette seeds uncrushed/whole seeds are distilled liquid oil is produced and the crushed seeds yields a concrete and the latter oil contain slots of palmitic acid. Ambrette seed oil traditionally is used to cure cramps, indigestion, acidity and other stomach problems, headaches and nerves. It is widely used in aromatherapy and is effective for anxiety, fatigue and depression and many other stress related problems. It is also effective for cramps, muscular aches and also helps to enhance blood circulation.
The botanical name of Ambrette seed is Abelmoschus moschatus Medik and it comes from the family of Malvaceae. The other names of Ambrette seed are Abelmoschus moschatus seed oil, Hibiscus abelmoschus l. seed oil, Annual hibiscus, Bamia Moschata, Galu Gasturi, Muskdana, Musk mallow, Musk okra, Musk seeds, Ornamental okra, Rose mallow seeds and Tropical jewel hibiscus. Steam distillation is the extraction method used for extracting oil and the extracted oil has a pale yellow-red liquid. The perfume note the oil is base and consistency is light. It blends well with other essential oil like Amyris, bergamot, carrot seed, cedarwoods, cognac, costus, frankincense, galbanum, guaiacwood, gurgun balsam, juniper berry, lavender, mandarin, mimosa, myrrh, orange, patchouli, peppermint, spruce.
The Chinese use it to treat headaches and in Egypt it is widely used to sweeten the breath and as an emulsion in milk to treat itches. Ambrette seed oil is generally used by perfume manufacturers to give the perfume a musky, woody, floral note. Ambrette seed oil is the ideal plant based substitute to animal musk notes in perfumery and it has a highly importunate aroma. This aroma makes it a perfect fixative or a foundation note in fine fragrances.
Bright Yellow Flowers
Ambrette seed oil is distilled from the dried seeds of Abelmoschus moschatus Medik which is also known as Hibiscus mochatus, musk mallow and musk seed. The flowers of this plant produces bright yellow, hibiscus like flowers with purple centres and it has hairy seed pod which contains many kidney bean shaped seeds. Before distillation the seed pods are dried. This plant is perennial shrub which is a native to tropical Asia and widely cultivated in tropical countries. Ambrette is an aromatic plant known for its medicinal properties and unique aroma. The seeds, leaves, pods and shoots are used in cooking and Ambrette flowers are sometimes used to give scent and flavour to tobacco.
Ambrette has been used as a stimulant and as treatment for a variety of illnesses right stomach cancer to hysteria. Ambrette oil is the only oil of its kind that is neither synthetic nor copied from animal sources. It is widely used in Ayuvedic branch of medicine because of its pure plant power. Ambrette seed CO2 has an initial aroma which is dazzling, powerful, and mad and musky floral rounded off with nuances of cognac, clary sage and tobacco and emphasized by the subtle, sensual character of leather and animalic notes all through the dry down.
Ambrette seed is an exceptional fixative with an exalting effect and it has some unique ways for lifting or boosting the quality of a perfume. Ambrette provides a botanical version of the musk aroma hence it is highly prized in natural and botanical perfumery and it is a much safer choice compared to the synthetic musk. Ambrette plants are erect hispid herbs or under shrubs with long slim tap root. The leaves of the plant are variable and the flowers regular and bisexual.
Ambrette oil extracted from the seed owns an odour like that of musk and its aromatic constituents have been used widely in perfumery industry. Different grades of the oil or aromatic absolute are used in high grade perfumes and the seeds are valued for the volatile oil present in the seed coat. The seed contains 11.1% moisture, 31.5% crude fibre, 14.5% lipids, 13.4% starch, 2.3% protein, volatile oil (0.2-0.6%) and ca/5% resin. The seeds contain myricetin-3-glucoside and a glycoside of cyanidin in flowers, aromatic constituent in seeds, beta-sitosteral and its beta-D-glucoside, myricetin and its glucoside in leaves and petals and beta-sitosterol from dry fruit husk.
The roots, leaves and seeds of ambrette are part of the traditional medicines in India. The bitter, sweet, acrid and aromatic seeds are used as a tonic and have the ability to be a cooling, aphrodisiac, ophthalmic, cardiotonic, digestive, stomachic, constipating, pectoral, carminative, diuretic, stimulant, antispasmodic, deodorant properties. It is effective against intestinal complaints, stomatitis, heart related problems and it alleviates thirst and checks vomiting. Ambrette oil is widely used in Unani branch of medicine where it is used to treat dyspepsia, urinary discharge, gonorrhoea, leucoderma and itching.
Ambrette is cultivated in India as pre-kharif crop or monsoon crop and is sown in March-April. Application of dried neem leaves increases the oil content and quality. The crop sowed in April starts flowering in September in normal course and the fruits ripen from November to January and are harvested when they are fully mature. Usage of fertilizers improves the growth of the plant and seeds but results in negative impact on oil content and quality. The harvested capsules are sun dried and the seeds burst open when the capsules burst. The oil for perfumes is extracted by steam distillation of crushed seeds.