Make an online Consultation »  
latakasturikam - Hibiscus abelmoschus Linn., Abelmoschus moschatus

latakasturikam :

latakasturikam  : Hibiscus abelmoschus Linn., Abelmoschus moschatus  Ambrette, also popularly known as musk or Muskmallow, is an erect annual herb which yields musk-like scented seeds and woos everybody through its sensuous musky fragrance. Every part of this medicinal plant is used in one or the other way . Seeds are effective aphrodisiac and antispasmodic, and used in tonics. They check vomiting and cure diseases due to kapha and vata and are useful in treating intestinal disorders, urinary discharge, nervous disorders, hysteria, skin diseases, snake bites, pruritus, leucoderma and general debility. Flower infusion is contraceptive. The leaves and roots are used for gonorrhoea and to treat boils and swellings.

Ambrette oil of commerce is extracted from the seeds and is used in perfumery, flavouring, cosmetic and agarbathi industries. The essential oil is employed in non-alcoholic beverages, ice-creams, candies and baked foods. The aromatic concrete and absolute, extracted from seeds are used as base material for preparing high grade perfumes, scents and cosmetics. It is also known for exalting, amplifying and diffusing effects it imparts to perfumes. It blends well with rose, neroli, and sandal wood oil and aliphatic aldehydes.

The flowers are in great demand for making zarda a flavoured tobacco in India. The seeds are mixed with tea and coffee for flavour. The seed is rich in essential amino acids and is used as cattle or poultry feed. The stem bark yields a good quality fibre. Seeds are used to protect woollen garments against moth and it imparts a musky odour to sachets, hair powder, panmasala and incense. Its tender shoots are used in soups, green pods as vegetable and seed husk in flower arrangements. From perfumes to panmasalas and tonics, it is the musky musk all the way. In addition to internal consumption, its seeds are exported to Canada, France and UK because of its diversified uses (Srinivasan et al, 1997).

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Family: Malvaceae


English: musk mallow
Hindi: Mushkdana
Telugu: Kasturi benda
Bengali: Mushkdana
Marathi: Kasthuri- bhendi
Gujarathi: Mushkdana
Tamil: Varttilaikasturi
Malayalam: Kasthurivenda
Kannada: Kasturi bende
Assamese: Gorukhiakorai


Synonyms in Ayurveda: gandapura, zatakasturika, Latakasturika


Ambrette is a hardy plant which can be grown in varied climate under tropical and subtropical conditions. It can be grown both as a rainfed crop and as an irrigated crop. It grows on well drained loamy and sandy loam soils. Loamy soils with neutral pH and plenty of organic matter are ideal for its cultivation. Musk of propagated through seeds. The optimum time of sowing is June-July with premonsoon showers. The land is prepared well by ploughing, harrowing and levelling. Well decomposed FYM or compost is incorporated into the soil at 10 - 15 t/ha. Ridges and furrows are formed giving a spacing of 60 - 100 cm. Seed rate is 2-3 kg/ha.

Seeds are soaked in water before sowing for 24 hours. Two to three seeds are sown per hole at 60 cm spacing on one side of the ridge at a depth of 1 cm and covered with a pinch of sand or loose soil. It takes 5-7 days for proper germination. After germination, extra seedlings are thinned out leaving one healthy growing plant per hole within 20 days. Fertilisers are applied at 120:40:40 kg N, P2O5, K2O/ha generally. However, a dose 160:80:80 kg/ha is recommended for best yields of seed and oil. Phosphorus is applied fully as basal. N and K are applied in 3 equal doses at planting, 2 and 4 months after planting. Fertilizers are applied 10 cm away from the plants. For irrigated crop, field is irrigated soon after sowing. Irrigation is given twice a week during the initial period and once a week thereafter. The field is kept weed free by regular weeding during the growing period (Farooqi and Khan, 1991).

Musk plants suffer from pests like spider mites, fruit bores and leaf eating caterpillars. Diseases like powdery mildew and wilt are also observed on the plant. Spider mites and powdery mildew are controlled by spraying 30g wettable sulphur in 10 litres of water. Pod borers can be controlled by spraying 20ml oxydemeton methyl in 10 litres of water. 


The crop starts flowering about 75 days after sowing. The flowers set into fruits in 3- 4 days and the pods take nearly a month to mature. Flowering and fruit setting extends from October to April. Harvesting is arduous. Fruits have to be plucked as soon as they attain black colour; otherwise, they split and seeds scatter. Therefore, weekly collection of pods is necessary and in all 20-25 pluckings may be required as it is a 170-180 days duration crop. The fruits are further dried and threshed to separate seeds. The seed yield is 1-1.5 /ha

Postharvest technology
The oil is extracted from seed by steam distillation followed by solvent extraction. The concrete of solvent extraction is further extracted with alcohol to get the absolute, that is, the alcohol soluble volatile concentrate. 


The fatty oil of seeds contain phospholipids as 2 - cephalin, phosphatidylserine and its plasmalogen and phosphatidyl choline plasmalogen. Absolute contains farnesol and ambrettolic acid lactone. b- sitosterol and its b- d - glucosides are isolated from leaves. Petals contain b-sitosterol, flavonoid myricetin and its glucoside. Anthocyanins like cyanidin - 3 - sambubioside and cyanidin - 3 - glucoside are present in the flowers. (Chopra and Nayar, 1980)


Seeds are aphrodisiac, antispasmodic, diuretic, demulcent, antiseptic, stomachic, tonic, carminative, antihysteric, antidiarrhoeal, ophthalmic, cardiac and antivenum.


Abelmoschus moschatus Medicus syn. Hibiscus abelmoshus Linn. belongs to Family Malvaceae. Muskmallow is an erect annual or biennial hirsute or hispid herb of 60-180 cm height. The leaves are simple polymorphous, usually palmately 3-7 lobed; lobes narrow, acute or oblong-ovate, crenate, serrate or irregularly toothed, hairy on both surfaces. Flowers are large and bright yellow with purple centre. Fruits are fulvous, hairy and capsular. Seeds are many, subreniform, black or greyish - brown and musk scented (Husain et al, 1992).

Geographical distribution:

The musk plant is a native of India and it grows in the tropical subtropical and hilly regions of the country; particularly in the states of Maharashta, Gujarat, Madhyapresh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. More than 50 collections of the plant are maintained by the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), New Delhi and its regional station in Akola, Maharashtra.

Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter  

Kotakkal Ayurveda - Mother land of modern ayurveda