Abelmoschus moschatus, or Ambrette, is a perennial plant native to tropical Asia. The plant has hairy, dark green leaves and yellow flowers with a purple center. The flower blooms and lasts only for one day, producing a pod filled with seeds mainly valued for containing essential oil. In today’s article, we will discuss the benefits of precious ambrette seed oil.
The mature seed is one of the critical ingredients for a waxy oil, which is valued for its aromatic and medicinal properties. In Arabic culture, they mix premature pods with coffee and sometimes with tobacco to enhance the flavor. These expensive oils with musky fragrances play a vital role in the perfume and cosmetic industries.
What is Precious Ambrette Seed Oil?
Mature ambrette seeds produce some dense, waxy oil through steam distillation. Further distillation separates essential oils that have extensive use in perfume and other body care products.
After the separation, the oil requires a few months of rest to open up the fragrance and flavor, like the aging of wine. The fatty acid subsided with time, and a rich, sweet, floral, but musky odor developed.
Fully mature oil is a vital base note for perfumery. Its musky smell is a substitute for the animal mask. It is also an excellent aromatherapy oil that can calm your nerves and boost your mood. It is also a mild aphrodisiac.
Origin And Cultivation of Ambrette Seed Oil
Ambrette is one of the oldest plants cultivated in South and Southeast Asia for its valuable seeds and oil. The plant is native to Asia. You can find them in a wide range, particularly in China, the Indian subcontinent, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines, and northern Australia.
You may have heard of the use of ambrette seed oil in ancient civilizations. In Chinese civilization, ambrette seed oil was used for curing headaches. The Pharaoh uses it to sweeten their breath and as an emulsion in milk to treat skin irritation and itching. In the contemporary world, you may find myriad uses of oil, which we will discuss in the later part of the article.
Ambrette is an evergreen plant of tropical origin. This hardy plant can tolerate frost and go dormant to regrow in the warmer weather of the following year. It can grow up to 2 meters, and the flower blooms from June until the winter. It requires moderate rainfall but a lot of sunlight and warmth to grow. It can tolerate various altitudes and soils as long as the sunlight is there. It does not have any significant pest or microbial infection issues.
Most of the cultivation of ambrette happens in the tropical and subtropical parts of Asia and South America. Ambrette seeds’ primary producers are Indonesia, China, Egypt, Madagascar, and the West Indies. The essential oil is extracted from the seeds, but the yield is meager. This makes oil one of the most expensive in the world.
Nutritional Value of Ambrette Seed Oil
Ambrette Seed Oil contains various chemicals, a few of which are vital contributors to the perfume industry. Some of the constraints have particular medicinal uses. Moreover, Ambrette Seed Oil can give you some direct benefits like antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory effects, etc. We will discuss the most prolific few constituents below in detail.
The most crucial compounds in ambrette seed oil are 𝛽-farnesene (9.8%) and α-farnesene (7.3%). They can work as muscle relaxers and have calming and soothing effects. They are also well regarded for their anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties. They can even prevent your tooth from decaying.
Some compounds in ambrette seed oil solely work as fragrance and flavoring agents, like decyl acetate (6%). It has a moderate floral odor and is used as a perfume additive.
Ambrette Seed Oil contains some dodecyl acetate (4.8%). It also has a floral odor and a vital function in the perfume industry. It is also added to various cosmetics for hair and skin as a skin conditioning agent.
The high amount of farnesyl acetate (8.8%) in ambrette seed oil gives it antioxidant properties. It is also used in cosmetics as a fragrance and flavoring agent.
The presence of 5-(Z)-tetradecenolide (1.3%) in ambrette seed oil gives it emollient properties and helps to retain moisture in your skin.
A small amount of 9-(Z)-octadecenolide (1.2%) in ambrette seed oil gives it the ability to induce drowsiness or sleep and reduce anxiety.
Finally, the fragrance and flavoring industries use α-Guaiene in Ambrette Seed Oil to induce earthy and spicy aromas and tastes.
Features of Precious Ambrette Seed Oil
|Common Method of Extraction
|Plant Part Typically Used
|Fully matured seeds
|Pale yellow to pale red
|Strength of Initial Aroma
|Intensely rich or strong
|The essential oil has woody, musky, and slightly floral smells. Due to the musky fragrance, Ambrette Seed Oil is a popular alternative to animal musk in perfumery notes.
|α-farnesene (7.3%), 𝛽-farnesene (9.8%), dodecyl acetate (4.8%), decyl acetate (6%), farnesyl acetate (8.8%), 7-(Z)-hexadecenolide (9.3%)5-(Z)-tetradecenolide (1.3%), 9-(Z)-octadecenolide (1.2%), and α-Guaiene (1.16%)
How to Make Ambrette Seed Oil at home
Steam distillation is the most popular way to extract essential oil from ambrette seed. You can distill essential oils in your home with some knowledge and equipment. Hopefully, the following discussion will ease your effort to extract essential oil from ambrette seed.
1. Collect and Crush the Seeds
Mature and ripened fruit produces the best-quality seed with a high oil level. You must collect and clean the mature seeds before crushing and putting them on the still.
2. Set the Still
The sill is the large container that holds all the plant material and puts in a constant rate of heat. Before filling the still, you must dissolve the crushed seed in a nonpolar solvent like alkanes or aromatics (benzene, toluene, etc.).
3. Heat the Mixture
You must control the temperature carefully. It will require more than 60 °C to produce vapor. Always keep the temperature below 100 °C. After a few minutes, the essential oil vapor will appear.
Connect the condenser to condense the vapor into a liquid. Put the endpoint of the condenser into a collection pot. The pot will collect the oil that is primarily mixed with water. The water and oil will separate into two layers if you give them some rest.
5. Collect and Rest the Oil
After the collection, give the end product some rest. You can separate the oil manually and repeat the process to get a purer product.
Health Benefits of Precious Ambrette Seed Oil
Ambrette Seed Oil is mainly valued for its great smell. Moreover, it has medicinal and countless other benefits that have contributed to our civilization for a long time. You can read the following discussion for more information about this versatile essential oil.
1. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant
Ambrette Seed Oil works excellently against anxiety and depression. One of the main components in the oil, 9-(Z)-octadecenolide, can induce drowsiness or sleep and reduce anxiety. It can also calm your nerves and improve your mood rapidly.
2. Improve the Digestive system
It can help you with your poor appetite by improving your digestion ability. It can balance between good and harmful gut microbes that improve the digestion system. Its anti-inflammatory ability can solve stomach issues and ease suffering.
3. Improve Skin Condition
Ambrette Seed Oil is a common ingredient in high-end skincare products. Its antioxidant properties and ability to retain moisture make it suitable for skin health. It contains 5-(Z)-tetradecenolide, a potent emollient that retains skin moisture and makes it more lively.
4. Improve Blood circulation
A regular massage with oil can widen your blood vessels and improve overall blood circulation. Blood circulation can supply your system with more oxygen and improve your body’s metabolism. Ambrette Seed Oil can increase blood pressure and blood circulation. As a result, someone with hypertension should not use the oil without consulting the doctor.
5. Key to Some Expensive Perfume
Ambrette Seed Oil has a moderate amount of farnesyl acetate and dodecyl acetate, two coveted perfume components. It resembles an animal mast, despite its association with plants. That’s why the oil is used as a substitute for animal musk and is one of the vital base notes for perfumery. However, synthetic but cheap substitutes have replaced most of the use of ambrette seed oil. You can still find the use of oil in high-end perfumes.
6. Prevent Stomach Cancer
Ambrette Seed Oil is high in antioxidants, which can reduce free radicals and minimize cell damage. It can reverse the destruction and mutation of cells and cure the causes of cancer in advance. It cannot cure cancer after the infection, but it can minimize the chances of getting cancer.
You cannot intake essential oils directly, but some components in ambrette seed oil can lower glucose levels. You can take some of the extraction orally to control your insulin sensitivity and diabetes as an herbal alternative to biomedicine. The oil can also lower systolic blood pressure, which is suitable for people with diabetes.
8. Microbial Properties
The presence of 𝛽-farnesene and α-farnesene in the oil gives it anti-fungal, antibacterial, and other antimicrobial properties. You can find the oil in some skin care products due to its antiseptic and cooling properties. The antimicrobial capacity of the oil makes it much more versatile based on its use.
9. Insect Repellant
The smell of the oil can evade insects. It can also leach moisture from insects and leave them dead. As the oil is expensive, you can mix it with carrier oil and disperse it in your room with a humidifier. It can improve your mood and respiratory condition. You can repel the insect as a by-product of the oil. No one uses the oil solely to repel insects.
10. As a Flavoring Agent
The fragrance and flavoring industries use α-Guaiene in Ambrette Seed Oil to enrich and diversify the flavor of different food products. The Arabins have long been using the seed extract to enrich the flavor of their famous Arabian blend of coffee. It is all used in some tobacco products to enhance flavor.
How to Use Ambrette Seed Oil
Ambrette Seed Oil has a pungent smell and intense flavor, making it suitable for tropical uses. You can apply the oil to your skin and outer body parts. You can also inhale a limited quantity. The use of the oil requires basic knowledge and caution. The following discussion will give the idea of using an essential oil like Ambrette.
Inhalation: It is the easiest way to use any oil. You can inhale the raw oil directly or diffuse 3–4 drops in 100 ml of hot water and breathe the mild, warm vapor. It will soothe and calm your nerves.
Massage: Ambrette Seed Oil is an expensive ingredient. So, it is not practical to use raw oil in massage. In general, you can mix the oil with other carrier oils like olive oil, argan oil, coconut oil, rosehip oil, apricot oil, etc., and massage it. 2–4% of ambrette seed oil in a carrier oil after the dilution is enough to have an impact.
Aromatherapy: You can use the oil in aromatherapy. Add 2-3 drops of oil to your humidifier; the room will have the desired smell. It will help to improve your mood and calm your nerves. It is also suitable for your respiratory system.
Mix with other products: You can always mix the Ambrette Seed Oil with other products and benefit from the essential oil. You can mix the oil with your bath water or other spa products. Moreover, you can combine the oil with other hair and skin-related products to enhance the effectiveness of the products on your hair and skin.
Precautions and Side Effects of Ambrette Seed Oil
You can use Ambrette Seed Oil without much thought for side effects. Toxicologically, the FDA considers it safe to use in processed foods. You can also use it tropically without much problem. However, in rare cases, the oil can cause some mild problems you should know about.
- During Pregnancy: Women should avoid using ambrette seed oil during pregnancy to maintain hormonal equilibrium. If someone wants to use the oil, she must consult her doctor.
- During lactation, ambrette seed oil is lipophilic or can dissolve in fat. Human milk contains fat and can be contaminated by Ambrette, which can risk infants’ health.
- Can cause dermatitis: Ambrette Seed Oil is photosensitive and irritates sensitive skin. Someone with sensitive skin must not use the oil to avoid dermatitis.
Where to buy Ambrette Seed Oil
You may consider Ambrette Seed Oil among the very few costly essential oils. As a result, you may need help purchasing pure and high-quality essential oils on the market. There is always a risk of getting a contaminated or low-quality product.
You can find essential oil in your nearest supermarket or depend on online platforms like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc. All you have to do is get help from someone who knows better about essential oils like ambrette seed oil.
With your help and knowledge, you can get the most out of this expensive oil. However, suppose you do not have those privileges. In that case, you can rely solely on some reputed essential oil brands like Plant Therapy, Vitruvi, Pura D’Or, Aura Cacia, doTERRA, Aromatherapy Associates, Edens Garden, Rocky Mountain Oils, etc.
All of them are expensive, but they guarantee original and quality essential oils. Some of these brands may provide you with online and offline services. You may find some stores in your nearest city, or they will ship the product to your address.
- The ambrette seed and seed extract have long been used in Eastern medicine, particularly in China, India, and other Southeast Asian countries.
- It can prevent some types of cancer cells from growing in your body.
- It was used as a substitute for animal musk due to its musky smell, which is unusual for plant-based essential oils.
- It has wide use in the flavoring industry. The delicate seed extract is coveted as a flavor enhancer in coffee and tobacco.
- Its strong antimicrobial properties make it a suitable candidate for some cosmetics.
- The exceedingly low essential oil yields of the seed make it very expensive. On the contrary, the cultivation of the seed is relatively easy.
Ambrette Seed Oil has a long history in Eastern medicine and Ayurveda. After thousands of years, the appeal of oil is still relatively high. It still costs you a fortune to acquire a quality product.
In the past, ambrette seed oil was used as animal musk due to its musky smell. Recently, it has been replaced by synthetic ones due to the enormous cost associated with the meager yield of oil from the seeds. However, the demand for oil in other cosmetic industries is still rising, and producers need help.
Ambrette Seed Oil’s myriad benefits still make it one of the most sought-after and pertinent essential oils. If you can manage some pure oils, you must use them to get the fantastic benefits of ambrette seed oil.