Family • Malvaceae - Abelmoschus moschatus Medic. - MUSK MALLOW - Huang kui

Scientific names

Abelmoschus moschatus Medic.
Hibiscus abelmoschus Linn.
Bamia abelmoschus R. Br.

Other vernacular names

ARABIC: Anbar bûl, Hhabb el misk.
CHINESE: Shan you ma, Ye you ma.
FRENCH: Ambrette, Gombo musqué, Ketmie musquée, Graine de musc.
GERMAN: Bisamstrauch, Bisam-Eibisch.
ITALIAN: Ambretta, Abelmosco, Fior muschiato, Ibisco muschiato.
JAPANESE: Ryûkyû tororo aoi.
MALAY: Kapas hantu, Kapas hutan, Kasturi (Indonesia), Gandapura.
SANSKRIT: Latakasturika.
SUNDANESE: Kakapasan.
THAI: Som chaba, Chamot ton, Mahakadaeng
TURKISH: Anber çiç.
VIETNAMESE: Cây bông vàng, Búp vàng.

Common names

Agukai (Sul.)
Dalak (Buk.)
Dalupang (Tag.)
Daopang (C. Bis.)
Dukum (Bis .)
Kalupi (Tag.)
Kastuli (Tag.)
Kastio (Tag.)
Kastiokastiogan (Tag.)
Kastukastulian (Pamp.)
Marapoto (Bis.)
Marikum (Bis.)
Marukum (Bis.)
Annural hibiscus (Engl.)
Musk mallow (Engl.)
Musk okra (Engl.)
Musk seed plant (Engl.)
Ornamental okra (Engl.)
Rose mallow (Engl.)
Huang kui (Chin.)

Kastuli is an annual, erect and branched herb, about a meter high or less, covered with very long hairs. Leaves are orbicular-ovate to ovate, 6 to 15 centimeters long, variously angled and 3- to 5-lobed or more, pointed at the tip, broad or heart-shaped at the base, toothed at the margins. Flowers are about 10 centimeters in diameter, with yellow petals, purple at the base inside. Capsules are oblong-ovoid, 5 to 7 centimeters long, covered with long hairs and containing many musky seeds.


– Throughout the Philippines, in open places, grasslands and open clearings, etc., at low and medium altitudes.
– Pantropic.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Abelmoschus moschatus (Malvaceae), an aromatic plant, suitable for medical or food uses to improve insulin sensitivity / Liu I M, Tzeng T F and Liou S S / Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):233-9.

(2) Volatile Organic Nitrogen-Containing Constituents in Ambrette Seed Abelmoschus moschatus Medik (Malvaceae) / Zhizhi Du et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2008, 56 (16), pp 7388–7392 /
DOI: 10.1021/jf800958d

(3) Sorting Abelmoschus Names / Maintained by Michel H. Porcher et al / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE

(4) Evaluation of Abelmoschus moschatus extracts for antioxidant, free radical scavenging, antimicrobial and antiproliferative activities using in vitro assays / Gul MZ, Bhakshu LM, Ahmad F, Kondapi AK, Qureshi IA, Ghazi IA. / BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Aug 17;11:64.

(5) Evaluation of Abelmoschus starch as tablet disintegrant / G Ramu, G Krishna Mohan, N Suresh et al / Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources, Vol 1, No 3, Sept 2010, Pp 342-347.

(6) ABELMOSCHUS MOSCHATUS Medikus – an effective medicinal herb / Ayurvedic Talk

(7) Safety evaluation of ambrette (Abelmoschus moschatus linn) seed oil / Y. R. Rao, K. S. Jena, D. Sahoo, P. K. Rout, Shakir Ali / Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 2005, Volume 82, Issue 10, pp 749-752

(8) Evaluation of hepatoprotective activity of abelmoschus moschatus seed in paracetamol induced hepatotoxicity on rat / Abhishek Kumar singh, sanjiv singh, h.s. Chandel / IOSR Journal of Pharmacy, Volume 2 Issue 5, Sep-Oct. 2012, pp 43-50.


– Seeds yield a volatile oil in the seed coat.
– Seeds yield an essential oil, 0.2 to 0.6 %, containing farnesol, palmitic acid, furfurol, acetic acid and ambrettol acid.

– Musk recognized by the musk-scented seeds.
– Seeds considered demulcent, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic, antispasmodic.
– Hindus regard the seeds as cooling, tonic and carminative.
– The Arabic and Persian consider them stomachic and tonic.

Parts utilized
Seeds, roots and leaves.


• Decoction of pounded seed used as a diuretic, tonic and carminative.
• Mucilaginous decoction of root and leaves used for gonorrhea.
• Seeds used as antihysteric.
• In Malaya, leaves and roots used as poultice.
• Used for headaches, rheumatism, varicose veins, cyctitis and fever.
• In Java, powder or infusion of roots used to stimulate the kidneys and intestines.
• In Bombay, paste of seeds applied for itches.
• In the West Indies, seeds are used as antispasmodic.
• In the Antilles, seeds are used for snake bites, internally and externally.
• Infusion, decoction or tincture of seeds used for nervous debility, hysteria and other nervous disorders.
• Seed are used for fevers and gonorrhea; as inhalant to relieve dryness of the throat and hoarseness.
• Powdered seeds steeped in alcohol applied to snake bites.
• In the Carribean, used for female reproductive problems and for childbirth.
• In Egypt, seeds are chewed to relieve stomach problems, to soothe nerves and “sweeten” the breath; alsoconsidered as an aphrodisiac. Seeds made intoan emulsion with milk, for skin itches.
• In Ayurveda, plant considered to pacify aggravated pitta, kapha, bonchitis, asthma, dyspepsia, coli, calculi, diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting, nervous system disorders.
• Oil used for relieviing stress, fatigue, anxiety. Also, used for cramps, muscle aching, depression and nervous complaints.


• In Arabia, use seeds to their coffee and to flavor soups; used for cordial properties.
• Oil from seeds used worldwide in perfumes and food flavoring. Also, used for flavoring coffee.

Study Findings 
• Myricetin / Anti-Diabetic: Myricetin, purified from the aerial part of Abelmoschus moschatus was studied in stretozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Results showed that myricetin has an ability to enhance glucose utilization to lower plasma glucose in diabeticf rats lacking insulin.
• Antimicrobial: Study on antimicrobial activity showed clear zones of inhibition against S aureus, B megaterium, S flexneri, P mirabilis, P vulgaris and Corynebacterium diphtheriae. The fradtion with major antibacterial activity against C diphtheria contained terpenoid oil.
• Anti-Diabetes: The study showed a high level of polyphenolic flavonoids. It also exhibited characteristics of rosiglitazone. Study concludes A moschatus is a potential useful adjuvant therapy for patients with insulin resistanced and/or subjects wishing to increase insulin sensitivity.
• Volatile Organic Nitrogen-Containing Constituents / Perfumery Quality : Study yielded 58 nitrogen-containing compounds – 27 pyrazine derivatives and 12 pyridines. The odor of the basic fraction was attributed to the pyrazines, pyridines and seven thiazoles.
• Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Antiproliferative: The study of seeds and leaf extracts showed AM possesses significant antioxidant activity and antibacterial activity against study strains. Hydoalcoholic extracts exhibited antiproliferative activity against two human cancer lines.
• Tablet Disintegrant: Seed starch from AM was employed as a disintegrant to paracetamol tablet at various concentrations. Results showed AM seed starch can complete favourably with corn starch as disintegrant in tablet formulations.
• Seed Oil / Saftey Study / Edibility: After extraction of fragrance from the seed coat, seeds are flaked and extracted with hexane to yield a fatty oil. The FA composition possesses saturated, monosaturated, and polysaturated FA in ratios close to UN WHO recommendations. Acute oral toxicity study and safety evaluation tested on albino rats show it to be comparable to groundnut oil and suitable for edible use.
• Hepatoprotective / Paracetamol-Induced Toxicity: Study evaluated seed extracts for hepatoprotective activity against paracetamol and ethanol induced hepatotoxicity. Results showed hepatoprotective activity of all studied extracts against paracetamol induced toxicity, with the ethanol extract showing more significant effects than the aqueous extract.
• Anti-Lithiatic: Study investigated the protective effect of a hydroalcoholic extract of A. moschatus against ethylene glycol induced urolithiasis in male Wistar albino rats. Results showed reduction and prevention of growth of urinary stones. The mechanism was unknonwn, but may be related to increased diuresis and lowering of urinary stone forming constituents.

Oils and seeds in the cybermarket.