Ambrette Seed Essential Oil
Ambrette seed essential oil is an unmistakable aromatic oil. This comes from the similarly aromatic plant of the same name: ambrette. A medicinal plant in the Malvacae family hailing from India, this is a plant that has a wide range of active ingredients and that has traditionally been used for a great number of medicinal purposes.
If you get a whiff of an ambrette seed, you will instantly notice the sweet, flowery smell and heavy fragrance. This is often described as a ‘musk’ and indeed one of the potential uses for this essential oil is to add it to a perfume or cologne. In that context, it creates an intoxicating and deep, complex scent that many people find very appealing.
The plant is found in tropical regions but is nevertheless very hardy and can be grown even in frosty conditions. Generally it is cultivated in India, the West Indies, China and Indonesia. As well as being a popular musk substitute for perfumery, it is also commonly used as a spice in cooking. In India it is also known as Mushkdana or Kasturi Bhendi. To use the oil, it must first be extracted from the seeds which appear kidney shaped. For the best quality oil, the seeds should be fully ripened and the oil should be left to mature for several months. This gives the oil a lot of its fatty acid notes.
The oil contains a lot of palmitic acid and is popular for treating anxiety, fatigue, stress, cramp, headaches, indigestion and more. Also interestingly, it is often cited as being a powerful aphrodisiac!
Let’s take a look at how these effects might work and how you can get the most from it…
Medicinal Uses and Benefits
Ambrette seed essential oil is not one of the better studied essential oils when it comes to medicinal properties and health benefits. While the oil is sometimes recommended for anxiety, stress and other concerns, it is definitely most commonly used for its scent more than it active ingredients.
Nevertheless, knowing what we know about other essential oils, we can likely hazard some guesses as to what this oil might contain and how it might work.
In terms of the effects, it seems to be perhaps closest to clary sage oil out of the other essential oils. This suggests that it might act similarly on specific hormones – oxytocin and testosterone. It may also perhaps impact serotonin similarly to lemon oil or GABA similarly to valerian root oil.
Serotonin is the feel good hormone produced in the brain. This is released when we eat, when we’re having a good time with friends and when we exercise. This encourages us to engage in that activity more often and it also helps to reduce pain and improve our enjoyment of the situation we’re in. It also happens to be very calming. This is because serotonin converts to melatonin in the brain – our main sleep hormone. This also happens to be why we feel tired after eating a big meal! Serotonin is also good for reducing pain as it is the brain’s natural analgesic.
Oxytocin meanwhile is the ‘love hormone’. This is the hormone that gets produced when we look at our newborn children, or when we’re spending quality time with our partner. It makes us feel warm, relaxed and loved. This would make sense as well when you consider that this scent is sometimes used for cramps – which clary sage oil also is.
However, with none of these uses being proven or guaranteed, it’s of course still highly advisable that you seek professional medical advice should you be suffering from stress, depression or any other complaint. Consider this simply as a potential aid that may improve your mood when burned.
How to Use Ambrette Seed Essential Oil
With all this in mind, the best way to use ambrette seed essential oil is to burn it in the room for aromatherapy. It can also be used as a medium for massage and is safe to apply for all skin types or to add to a bath.
To use ambrette seed essential oil for a calming and relaxing bath, add 10-20 drops to a full tub and soak.
Apply a few drops mixed with a carrier oil and massage deeply into the muscle using circular motions. This should help to remove tension in the muscles while the relaxing and pleasant scent will have the added bonus of helping you to relax and enjoy the experience even further.
To burn ambrette essential oil, just add to an oil burner and leave in the room. This is ideal for a romantic occasion, during a calming massage or before bed and should help to put you in a calm, relaxed and mildly aroused state of mind. It’s also a good idea if you have had a very long or hard day, or if you are struggling with a headache. This can also be effective when used in a oil diffuser.
To make a beautiful perfume that will act as a pleasant aphrodisiac, take your ambrette oil and mix a small amount of ambrette oil CO2 with hibiscus abelmoschus, neroli, rose otto, ginger CO2, jasmine absolute and ylang ylang. This creates a unisex perfume that will smell great on women while also helping to attract partners.
Another formulation is ambrette seed CO2, hibiscus abelmoschus, rose otto, ginger CO2, jasmine absolute, ylang ylang, atlas cedar and patchouli dark. This creates a more unisex scent that can be warn by men or women. The musky smell of ambrette CO2 makes it suitable for male colognes which is actually quite rare for an aphrodisiac oil. In fact, it is sometimes considered the only aphrodisiac essential oil that is suitable for men to wear!
Another great thing about ambrette seed is that it is particularly strong. Only a very little goes a very long way, which is handy as it is actually quite expensive.
Tips and Further Information
Note that you can get essential oils such as ambrette in either CO2 or absolute formats. Absolutes are extracted using a more complex manner that involves the use of chemical solvents which are later on removed. In a carefully extracted absolute, the remaining solvent should be miniscule in quantity. However, it’s important to note that absolutes may still contain some additional solvents which may make them less suitable for consumption or topical application.
For this reason, it is generally preferred to use a steam distilled essential oil which is the CO2 form. These essential oils will be purer and safer for a range of different uses.
However, it’s worth noting that there are some situations where absolutes are desirable and there are some plants where absolutes are more popular. In some cases, steam distillation is not able to extra much natural oil from the plants and this can result in them being more expensive. What’s more is that the solvents used to create absolutes actually provides a more concentrated final product that should be more potent as a result.
What’s interesting though is that technically absolutes are not essential oils. Essential oil refers to oils that have been distilled via steam or water. However, you will often find absolutes and essential oils categorized together. This is because the term ‘essential oil’ is often used simply to describe natural, volatile, aromatic fluids that comes from plants, trees, seeds and herbs.
In the case of ambrette oil, using the CO2 form is preferable for perfumes and for aromatherapy. However, ambrette seed CO2 is quite thick at room temperature which can make it difficult to dispense from the dropper cap. A good idea is to warm up the container slightly before use and this way it should come out as a smooth oil.
So there you go: ambrette oil is not quite the versatile miracle cure that some essential oils seem to be. Rather, this is a very intoxicating scent that has calming and aphrodisiac properties. This makes it an ideal choice for perfumes and aromatherapy and also a good choice for a relaxing bath. Give it a try and see if you enjoy the scent and how you notice it impacting on your mood! Just make sure to look for the pure CO2 version where possible and to keep it a little warm when you use it.