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Abelmoschus moschatus (Ambrette seeds, Annual hibiscus, Bamia Moschata, Galu Gasturi, Muskdana, Musk mallow, Musk okra, Musk seeds, Ornamental okra, Rose mallow seeds, Tropical jewel hibiscus, Yorka okra; syn. Hibiscus abelmoschus L.) is an aromatic and medicinal plant in the Malvaceae family, which is native to India. The seeds have a sweet, flowery, heavy fragrance similar to that of musk. Despite its tropical origin the plant is frost hardy.
Uses of the plant
It has many culinary uses. The seeds are added to coffee; unripe pods ("musk okra"), leaves and new shoots are eaten as vegetables.
Different parts of the plant have uses in traditional and complementary medicine, not all of which have been scientifically proven. It is used externally to relieve spasms of the digestive tract, cramp, poor circulation and aching joints. It is also considered an insecticide and an aphrodisiac.
In industry the root mucilage provides sizing for paper; tobacco is sometimes flavoured with the flowers. Among the small farmers the popularity of medicinal crop Kasturi Bhindi (Abelmoschus moschatus) is increasing day by day. Due to susceptibility to insect infestation earlier the herb growers hesitated to try this crop but now they have learnt a lot from the past experiences. Like other medicinal crops its planting material business is over and now serious growers are engaged in quality production with an idea of extracting oil for international market.
Kasturi Bhindi is known for its aromatic seeds having peculiar smell of Musk. In trade it is known as Ambrette. Although its different plant parts are used as traditional medicine and the traditional healers use it in herbal formulations having odd smell but it is having demand at national and international markets. The farmers are not growing it for the traditional healers. The healers are fulfilling their demand from its wild population as well as from very small-scale cultivation.
Deni Bown: The Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Herbs (1995) ISBN