Medicinal plants

Bisamibian (Abel musk) - effects and uses

Bisamibian (Abel musk) - effects and uses

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Bisamibian, the Ambramalve, is a tropical mallow from the southeast of Asia. The essential oil of the seeds is sought after for perfumes, the entire plant contains bioactive substances. The Ambramalve is rich in active ingredients that even act against poisons from cobras.

Profile of the muskrat

  • Scientific name: Abelmoschus moschatus
  • Common names: Muskrat (seeds), Ambramalve, Ambrette, Gombo
  • family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)
  • Parts of plants used: Seeds (muskrat, musk), flowers, leaves, sprouts and pods
  • distribution: Tropical Asia, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia
  • application areas:
    • Traditionally against snake bites and as a mucus and cough remover
    • In folk medicine as an antispasmodic for complaints in the gastrointestinal tract, against loss of appetite and headache

Muskran - An overview

  • The Ambramalve and its relatives are tropical plants and need permanently warm, humid air to thrive.
  • Abelmoschus is a traditional medicinal plant in its countries of origin, serves as a mucus and cough remover to stimulate appetite and as a remedy for gastrointestinal cramps.
  • In India and America it is considered an antidote to snake bites.
  • The musk seed oil is said to relax, relieve nervous tension and lighten the mood in depressive states.
  • The seeds and incense are a traditional aphrodisiac. The aroma and fragrance are musky-sweet and are considered "animal", "warm" and erotic.


All parts of the Bisameibisch are usable and contain bioactive substances. The whole plant offers ambrettol and pineol. The seeds, also known as ambrette, musk or muskrat, are scientifically called Semen Abelmoschi and contain essential oil, the musk seed oil or Abelmoschi seminis. They also have mucilages, resins and fatty oils.

The essential oil contains ambrettolide, farnesol and fatty acids, whereby the ambrettolide evaporates the musk odor, which makes muskrat interesting for the cosmetics industry. The oil also consists of myricetin-3-glucoside, cyanidin-3-glucoside, ß-sitosterol, farnesyl acetate, hexadecane and octadecane compounds, dodecyl acetate and decyl acetate.

Musk seeds

The seeds contain four forms of ethanone, alpha-cephalin, farnesol, lactone, furfural, oxacyclonnonadec-10-en-2-one, 5-tetradecenyl acetate, 5-tetradecen-14-olide, (Z) -5-tetradecen 14-olide and malvalic acid.

In addition, there are (Z) -5-tetradecenyl acetate, ergosterol, 2-trans-6-trans-farnesol, decyl alcohol and decyl acetate. The seeds also contain trans-trans-farnesyl acetate, campesterol, 12,13-epoxy acid, (Z) -5-dodecenyl acetate, stigmasterol, sterculic acid and myristic acid.

Leaves, flowers and petals

The leaves, flowers and petals offer ß-sitosterol, myricetin, myricetin-3'-glucoside, quercetin-3-glucoside, quercetin, kaempferol-3-O-glucoside, kaempferol, cyanidin-3-sambubioside and cyanidin-3-glucoside.

Smell of musk

The oily-yellow musk seed extract smells sweet and spicy of musk and dissolves well in vegetable oils, essential oils and alcohol, but not in water. It consists of 73 to 77 percent fatty oil, which mainly contains palmitic, linoleic, oleic and stearic acid, the rest is the essential musk seed oil (also called musk oil or musk oil).

Musk seed oil - medicinal effects

The following properties are attributed to musk seed oil:

  • aphrodisiac,
  • soothing,
  • relaxing,
  • cheering up,
  • sensual
  • and warming.

Essential musk seed oil also has a strengthening effect on physical exhaustion, it has a spasmolytic effect and against general digestive disorders such as excessive accumulation of gases. It relieves pain from muscle cramps.

Oil bath and massage oil

Essential muskrat oil is used as an oil bath, in fragrance lamps and as a massage oil. It helps against muscle cramps, tension and sore muscles to rub the affected areas with the oil. Massages and oil baths are said to lighten the mood in depressive conditions. The oil is also used to keep insects away when rubbed against the skin or vaporized in fragrance oil lamps.

Pure essential musk seed oil is very expensive and harmonizes with the scents of

  • Jasmine,
  • Clary sage,
  • Patchouli,
  • Rose,
  • Sandalwood,
  • cypress
  • and ylang-ylang.

Muskran in folk medicine

In folk medicine in the countries of origin, patients chew the seeds,

  • to strengthen yourself
  • to stimulate the appetite
  • to promote digestion
  • Alleviate gastrointestinal diseases
  • and alleviate headaches.

Musk grains

The dried seeds of Abelmoschus moschatus Medik are cultivated in all tropics and come on the market as musk grains, in the form of grain or powder.

Pregnant women and infants

Pregnant women, young children and infants should not use musk seed oil or musk seed extract internally. External uses of the oil and extract in infants should be limited to low concentrations (0.5 percent for the extract).

Muskran against snake bites

In South America and India, Bisameibisch is common as an antidote to snake bites. In fact, studies have shown that the ingredients stigmasterol and ß-sitosterol reduce the effects of the myotoxins of the rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus terrificus) as well as the defibrase or reptilase triggered by viper venom and the PLA2 activity triggered by cobra venom.

Snake venoms are very complex and extremely diverse, and Bismai Marsh has been shown to work against at least three different toxic effects, according to recent studies.


Rattlesnakes have myotoxin, a poison that paralyzes and destroys muscles. They are homologous peptides with this function. In the 1950s, Brazilian José Moura Goncales identified the first myotoxin - crotamine - from the venom of the shower rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus). In prey animals, the myotoxin paralyzes the muscles and prevents flight. Death occurs due to paralysis of the abdominal breathing and local death of the muscle tissue.

Lance otters

The substances myricetin and quercetin contained in the Ambramalve showed antihemorrhagic potential against the poison of the lance viper (Bothrops jararaca), a type of pit viper from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.


The seeds and leaves are used in India and Bangladesh as a remedy for various snake bites, especially those of the monocle cobra (Well kaouthia) and the snake (Well well). The indigenous tribes Bhil, Meena and Sahariya in Rajasthan use a paste from the musk grains with milk as a serum against cobra. Abelmoschus is also used in Sri Lanka against snake bites.

The leaves are crushed, taken orally and also pressed onto the body region around the bite. Then a deep cut is made at the site so that the poisoned blood flows out.

The monocle cobra is widespread from northern India, Bangladesh and southwestern China to northern Malaysia. Originally an inhabitant of the tropical forest, as a cultural follower she can often be found in human houses. The snake queue is now endangered in the Washington Convention on Wildlife Conservation - but this "classic" cobra also seeks to be close to humans and hunt rats and other small mammals in rice fields and in buildings.

Cobra poison is a nerve poison. The polypeptide paralyzes the nerves of the muscles because it blocks the transmission of stimuli by the transmitter substance acetylcholine. The cause of death is often paralysis of the respiratory center, and cobra poison also destroys red blood cells and restricts blood clotting.

The monocle cobra poison contains seven types of cytotoxins, seven phospholipases and eleven types of neurotoxins. Together, these poisons cause a whole spectrum of pathological symptoms from nerve poisoning to heart and kidney poisoning to bleeding (associated with the elimination of blood clotting) and the destruction of cell tissue (cytotoxicity).

In traditional medicine in India and Bangladesh, especially in indigenous cultures, Abelmoschus moschatus is a medicinal plant among others that the locals use to combat poisoning by cobras.

Antitoxic or pain reliever?

There is no evidence that muskrat can prevent the lethal effects of the poison itself, but research is still pending. β-sitosterol and quercetin are considered substances that could have antitoxic effects. At least ß-sitosterol relieves pain and has an anti-inflammatory effect, and that alone speaks for the use of ambramalve against cobra poison, since immense pain and wound infections are part of the effects of such a snake bite.

An opportunity for thousands?

The main problem with snake bites is the lack of easily available antidote on site. Thousands of people die from snake bites in South Asia and South America each year, and villagers such as rice farmers or timber collectors or timber collectors, where doctors with available serum are too far away to die, are most affected prevent.

Abelmoschus is used independently by different cultures as an antidote for snake bites, which indicates that active substances in the Ambramalve can limit certain effects of the toxic cocktail of venomous snakes in an as yet unexplored way. Further research for potential antidotes based on Abelmusk is very important, as such drugs could save many lives.

Musk aroma in the kitchen

In the Arabian kitchen, the seeds of the musk mallow are used to flavor coffee. Otherwise they serve as flavorings for bitter bitters. The extract and the oil smell and taste too intensely and are also too expensive to use directly in dishes. To do this, they flavor alcoholic beverages such as liqueurs and snuff and chewing tobacco. The seeds of the musk mallow are generally a flavor enhancer in the kitchen. In the countries of origin, the leaves, sprouts and pods are a popular vegetable.

Musk fragrance in cosmetics

In the perfume industry, the Bisameibisch is used as "false musk". The fatty seeds are the basis for creams and bath oils, the smell is considered musky and as light as it is sweet, plus "oriental".

Aphrodisiac for bad breath

Ambramalve is considered an aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant in many countries. Egyptians chew the seeds to calm the stomach and ensure good breath at the same time. Aphrodisiac effects have not been medically proven.

Grow Abel musk

The Bisameibisch needs a warm, humid climate and is not suitable for outdoor cultivation in Germany. At room temperatures, however, it is easy to grow as an annual plant. Abelmoschus likes a nutrient-rich soil with lots of sun exposure. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Blaschek, W. (ed.) Et al .: HagerROM 2004. Hagers Handbook of Drugs and Drugs: Single User Version / Windows / Up-Date (German) CD-ROM, December 2004
  • Jahan, Rovnak; Jannat, Khoshnur et al .: A Review of Two Plants Used Traditionally in Bangladesh for Treatment of Snake Bites, in: Journal of Pharmacology & Clinical Toxicology, 6 (3): 1113, 2018, JSciMed Central
  • Pawar, Anil T., Vyawahare, Neeraj S .: Phytopharmacology of Abelmoschus moschatus Medik .: A review, in: International Journal of Green Pharmacy, 11/04, 2017, IJGP
  • Lans, Cheryl: Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for reproductive problems, in: Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 3:13, 2007, PubMed
  • Ushakumari, J., Ramana, V.V., Reddy, K.J .: Ethnomedicinal plants used for wounds and snake-bites by tribals of Kinnerasani Region, AP. India, in: Journal of Pharmacognosy, 3/2: 79-81, 2012, Bioinfo Publications

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