Musk Seed

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Musk Seed

Botanical Name: Hibiscus Abelmoschus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Malvaceae

Synonyms: Abelmoschus Moschatus. Semen Abelmoschi. Grana Moschata. Ambretta. Egyptian Alcée. Bisornkorner. Ambrakorner. Target-leaved Hibiscus. Ab-elmosch. Bamia Moschata. Ketmie odorante. Galu gasturi. Capu kanassa.
Part Used: Seeds.
Habitat: Egypt, East and West Indies.

Description: This evergreen shrub is about 4 feet in height, having alternate, palmate leaves and large, sulphur yellow, solitary flowers with a purple base. The capsules are in the form of a five-cornered pyramid, filled with large seeds with a strong odour of musk. The capsules are used in soup and for pickles, and the greyish-brown, kidney-shaped seeds, the size of a lentil, with a strong aromatic flavour, are used by the Arabians to mix with coffee. They are used in perfumery for fats and oils, and for the adulteration of musk.

Constituents: The seeds contain an abundance of fixed oil, and owe their scent to a coloured resin and a volatile, odorous body. They also contain albuminous matter.

Medicinal Action and Uses: An emulsion made from the seeds is regarded as antispasmodic. In Egypt the seeds are chewed as a stomachic, nervine, and to sweeten the breath, and are also used as an aphrodisiac and insecticide. The seeds made into an emulsion with milk are used for itch.

Other Species:
A variety is found in Martinique, of a lighter grey in colour and a more delicate odour.

Hibiscus esculentus or A. esculentus, okra, bendee, or gombo, is cultivated for its fruit, the abundant mucilage of which, called gombine, is used for thickening soup. The long roots have much odourless mucilage and when powdered are white, and are said to be better than marsh-mallow.

The bark is used for paper and cordage.

It is largely grown in Constantinople as a demulcent.

The leaves furnish an emollient poultice.