ABELMOSCHUS MOSCHATUS Medikus, despite being an aromatic and medicinal herb, is hardly known to many. Being an erect, annual herb, the flowers are bright yellow in colour and the herb is found across the foothills of Himalayas and the Deccan.
Also known in names such as Kasturibenda, kasturidana, kadu kasturi, or Kattukasthuri, the plant could be recognized with its musk-scented seeds that are mainly useful in medicine and perfumery. The seeds of the plant, also known as Ambrette seeds, have a volatile oil present in their seed coat.
When subjected to steam distillation, the crushed seeds yield an oil, which has a peculiar odour, suggestive of musk. The crude oil appears semi-solid at room temperature, mainly due to the presence of fatty acids, mainly palmitic acid.
The seeds of this medicinal herb are valued for their demulcent, diuretic and stomachic properties. They also serve well as an antiseptic, a stimulant, a tonic, an aphrodisiac, and are cooling and carminative agents too.
The infusion, decoction or the tincture of the seeds are used in cases of hysteria, nervous debility and nervous disorders. The leaves and roots are used as medication for venereal diseases. The stem bark has high fibre content, and could be substituted for jute. The yellow portion of the petals is used in myricetin, flavonoids and cannabiscitrin. The seeds are used as insect-repellant in sachet powders.
In Ayurvedic treatments, the plant is considered to pacify aggravated pitta, kapha, bronchitis, asthma, nausea, dyspepsia, colic, calculi, diarrhea, flatulence, burning sensation, vomiting, and nervous system disorders.