Herb: Musk Mallow


Latin name: Abelmoschus moschatus


Synonyms: Hibiscus abelmoschus


Family: Malvaceae (Mallow Family)



Medicinal use of Musk Mallow:

An emulsion made from the seed is antispasmodic and is especially effective in the digestive system. The seeds are also chewed as a nervine, stomachic and to sweeten the breath. They are also said to be aphrodisiac. The seeds are valued medicinally for their diuretic, demulcent and stomachic properties. They are also said to be stimulant, antiseptic, cooling, tonic, carminative and aphrodisiac. A paste of the bark is applied to cuts, wounds and sprains. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for the treatment of depression and anxiety. It is also applied externally to treat cramp, poor circulation and aching joints.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

Flovering:
July to
September


Scent:
Scented
Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

Open places in Nepal at elevations of 600 - 1100 metres. Flat areas, valleys, stream sides and scrub slopes in western and southern China.

Edible parts of Musk Mallow:

Young leaves and shoots - cooked in soups. Used as a vegetable. The leaves are also used to clarify sugar. Unripe seedpods - cooked as a vegetable in much the same way as okra (A. esculentus). Seed - cooked. It is fried or roasted and has a flavour similar to sesame seeds. The seed is also used as a flavouring for liqueurs or to scent coffee. An essential oil is obtained from the plant and is used to flavour baked goods, ice cream, sweets and soft drinks. Root. No more details are given, though the root is likely to have a bland flavour and a fibrous texture.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil is obtained from the plant. It is used as a food flavouring and in perfumery as a musk substitute. However, it has been known to cause photosensitivity so this use has been largely discontinued. An oil obtained from the seed contains 18.9% linoleic acid. The oil is f high econmic value. Total yields of oil are not given. The seeds are used as an insecticide. Another report says that extracts of the fruits and upper parts of the plant show insecticidal activity. A fibre is obtained from the stem bark. It is used to make ropes. A mucilage obtained from the roots is used as a size for paper.

Propagation of Musk Mallow:

Seed - sow April in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best at a temperature around 24 - 24C. When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots of rich soil and plant them out after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in situ in late April in areas with warm summers. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Open places in Nepal at elevations of 600 - 1100 metres. Flat areas, valleys, stream sides and scrub slopes in western and southern China.

Known hazards of Abelmoschus moschatus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.