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Ambrette (Abelmoschus moschatus)

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Also listed as: Abelmoschus moschatus
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 1-(3-hydroxy-5-methylpyridin-2-yl)ethanone, 1-(3-hydroxy-5,6-dimethylpyridin-2-yl)ethanone, 1-(3-hydroxy-6-methylpyridin-2-yl)ethanone, 1-(6-ethyl-3-hydroxypyridin-2-yl)ethanone, Abelmoschus moschatus, abelmosk, ambretta, ambrette seeds, annual hibiscus, bamia moschata, Egyptian alcee, farnesol, galu gasturi, gukhia korai (Assamese), Hibiscus abelmoschus, kasturi bhenda (Telugu), kasturi bhendi (Hindi), kattukasturi (Malayalam), lalkasturika (Sanskrit), linoleic acid, Malvaceae (family), mushkdana (Hindi), musk ambrette, musk mallow, musk seeds, muskdana, myricetin, myristic acid, ornamental okra, palmitic acid, pyrazine derivatives, pyridines, rose mallow seeds, target-leaved hibiscus, varttilai kasturi (Tamil), yorka okra.
  • Note: Ambrette (Abelmoschus moschatus) or oil from the seeds of the plant is used for medicinal purposes as well as in food and cosmetics. Musk ambrette is a man-made compound commonly used in food and cosmetics. This monograph is limited to information on ambrette (Abelmoschus moschatus).

Background
  • Ambrette (Abelmoschus moschatus) is an aromatic medicinal shrub native to India. It is in the Malvaceae family and is related to A. esculentus, which is common okra.
  • Ambrette seeds have traditionally been used to treat a wide variety of ailments and are also used in cosmetics and food. The roots and leaves are sometimes cultivated for medicinal or industrial purposes. The oil from the seeds is used worldwide in perfumes and to flavor food. The scented oil was often described as woody and floral, similar to musk, an animal product extracted from the sex glands of the musk deer. Reportedly, this musk substitute was often used as an aphrodisiac to release sexual inhibitions.
  • In folk medicine, ambrette has reportedly been used as an insecticide and for wound healing, ingestion, heart disease, intestinal disorders, itching, skin conditions, stomatitis, thirst, urinary discharge, and vomiting. Ambrette seeds, roots, and leaves have reportedly been used to cure gonorrhea.
  • Ambrette seeds are commonly used medicinally in India and throughout the Caribbean as a tea or tincture. Traditional medicine in India has multiple uses for ambrette, while in the Caribbean it is primarily used to treat problems related to the female reproductive system and for childbirth. Early evidence suggests that a substance in ambrette may help regulate sugar levels; however, additional study is needed in this area.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Antiseptic, antispasmodic (suppresses spasms), anxiety, aphrodisiac (increases sexual desire), appetite stimulant, aromatherapy, aromatic, calming, cardiotonic (having a favorable effect on the heart), carminative (prevents intestinal gas), childbirth, circulatory disorders, cramps, deodorant, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, digestive aid, diuretic (increases the production of urine), dyspepsia (indigestion), female sexual function, food flavoring, food uses, gonorrhea, halitosis (bad breath), headaches, heart disease, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels), hysteria, infertility, insect repellent, intestinal disorders/antispasmodic, itch, joint pain, menstrual pain, nerve disorders, ophthalmologic uses, respiratory disorders, skin conditions, snake bite, stimulant, stomach aches, stomach cancer, stomatitis, thirst, tonic (gastrointestinal), urinary disorders, vomiting, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven effective dose for ambrette in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for ambrette in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in patients with known allergy/hypersensitivity to Abelmoschus moschatus, its constituents, or to members of the Malvaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • An allergic skin reaction (called contact dermatitis) and sensitivity to light has been reported after ambrette use.
  • Ambrette may also cause increased skin coloration (called hyperpigmentation) or make individuals more sensitive to laser treatment.
  • Use cautiously in patients with low blood sugar levels.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Ambrette is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Ambrette may reduce blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar levels. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by qualified healthcare professionals, including pharmacists. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Ambrette may cause increased skin coloration (called hyperpigmentation) and increase sensitivity to sun. Using ambrette with photosensitizers may increase this sensitivity.
  • Although not well understood in humans, ambrette may affect the body's opioid system.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Ambrette may reduce blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar levels. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by qualified healthcare professionals, including pharmacists. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Ambrette may cause increased skin coloration (called hyperpigmentation) and increase sensitivity to sun. Using ambrette with photosensitizers may increase this sensitivity.
  • Although not well understood in humans, ambrette may affect the body's opioid system.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Giovinazzo, V. J., Harber, L. C., Armstrong, R. B., et al. Photoallergic contact dermatitis to musk ambrette. Clinical report of two patients with persistent light reactor patterns. J.Am.Acad.Dermatol. 1980;3(4):384-393.
  2. Lans, C. Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for reproductive problems. J.Ethnobiol.Ethnomed. 2007;3:13.
  3. Liu, I. M., Liou, S. S., Lan, T. W., et al. Myricetin as the active principle of Abelmoschus moschatus to lower plasma glucose in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Planta Med. 2005;71(7):617-621.
  4. Liu, I. M., Tzeng, T. F., Liou, S. S., et al. Improvement of insulin sensitivity in obese Zucker rats by myricetin extracted from Abelmoschus moschatus. Planta Med. 2007;73(10):1054-1060.
  5. Wojnarowska, F. and Calnan, C. D. Contact and photocontact allergy to musk ambrette. Br.J.Dermatol. 1986;114(6):667-675.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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