Egyptian musk oil is a special variety of musk oil, or just musk that comes from Egypt. Its original recipe and formulations are mentioned in ancient Egyptian books, although they are not easy to completely comprehend. Egyptian musk oil today is just an approximation of the original perfume product that used to be made in ancient Egypt. It is believed to be made with a number of ingredients. Presently, there are many brands making the so called Egyptian musk oil, although they have striking differences in aroma, properties and chemical constituents.
( Photo credit : Maksim )
Musk is the common ingredient in almost all kinds of musk oil. Musk was originally the perfumed compound derived from the musk pods found in the Musk deer. Musk deer were hunted on a large scale for this prized aromatic natural product, which has led to a significant dwindling of their population. Now, animal musk is replaced with synthetic musk. These are the classes of compounds generated in the laboratory that mimic the original musk aroma to a great extent, though not fully. The ancient Egyptian may quite possibly have used the natural musk derived from the musk deer. Its aroma is a complex mix of aromas that can be described as woody, earthy, pleasant, sharp and fragrant.
The ancient Egyptian musk oil probably contained the following ingredients.
- Natural musk
It probably contained a base oil, like rapeseed oil to keep all the ingredients well mixed. Besides, there might have been other ingredients too for their therapeutic properties. At present, the Egyptian musk oil is made using the original ingredients except for the Natural Musk. This is replaced either by plant sources which resemble musk, or by synthetic musk ( which is also called white musk ).
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Plant sources of musk
There are few plants which are commercially used to extract an oily substance which resembles musk in fragrance.
- Abelmoscus moschatus – Also known as musk mallow or Ambrette seed , it is native to India. Musk mallow seed oil is used as a substitute for musk.
- Olearia argophylla – Also known as musktree and more commonly by the name muskwood. It is native to Australia.
- Mimulus moschatus – It is commonly known as muskflower. It is found in the Rocky mountains.
- Angelica Archangelica – It is commonly known as Garden Angelica. It grows in wild numbers in Scandinavia.
How to make Egyptian Musk Oil At Home ?
This seemingly complex blend of perfume ingredients can be made at home, if you have the right essential oils. The procedure to make it is really quite simple. The essential oils that are chosen for this brilliant perfume are selected based on their individual strong fragrance. These are the essential oils needed.
- Frankincense essential oil
- Myrrh essential oil
- Patchouli essential oil
- Rose petal essential oil
- Cedarwood essential oil
- Ambrette seed oil ( Musk seed oil )
- Amber oil
- Perfume base ( This can be Jojoba oil or Sweet Almond Oil )
This perfume is definitely costly as it contains so many essential oils. However, if one makes it at home, the cost is significantly reduced. We do not need the white musk, as Ambrette oil is being used. There is no exact fomulation for making Egyptian musk oil. This is a simple recipe.
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First of all, one needs a bottle apt for a perfume. Take a large perfume bottle, about 8 oz in volume.
- Add 4 oz jojoba oil and then add 1 oz ambrette seed oil. This serves as a base for the perfume. Ambrette seed oil renders the musk fragrance.
- Add 5 drops each of patchouli, rose, cedarwood and amber essential oil.
- Add 10 drops each of myrrh and frankincense essential oil.
This make the Egyptian musk oil smell like musk with overtones of frankincense. Patchouli and rose add flowery aroma. Cedarwood essential oil adds a woody aroma.
This unique combination of essential oils provides many aromatherapy worthy health benefits. When applied to the skin, it exerts many properties.
- Emollient – The original Egyptian musk oil was rubbed all over the body. It may have been used to keep the skin healthy and moisturized.
- Insect repellent – It keeps most kinds of insects, pests and flies.
- Anointing oil – Egyptian musk oil may have been used for anointing purposes.
There are some special properties which make Egyptian musk oil different from other musk oils, or for that matter from any other perfume.
- It is not a strong smelling perfume. Therefore, it can be applied liberally. This is what it was meant for, to apply it all over the body.
- It is a powerful deodorant. It masks the smell of sweat and other bodily odors and overpowers them all.
- It is a slow release perfume, making it long lasting. The original perfume is made to release its smell as it receives more body heat. So, this oil vaporizes slowly and thus provides long lasting fragrance for many hours.
( Photo credit : marcdroberts )
Egyptian musk oil can be used for a lot more purposes than just a perfume. One can add a small amount of this perfume oil to add fragrance to many household products, like soaps, shampoo, hand sanitizers, body cream, night creams, lotions and in aromatherapy. Its aroma can be diffused in the air using a vaporizer.
Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues
Egyptian musk oil is considered a safe perfume for adults. However, there is one thing to note about commercial Egyptian musk oil products which are made of synthetic musk or white musk. There are three kinds of white musk.
- Aromatic nitro musk compounds
- Polycyclic musk compounds
- Macrocyclic musk compounds
The above two classes of compounds are potential carcinogens. Therefore, one should go for musk oil products that are made from Macrocyclic musk compounds.
Nutritional and Medicinal Information
Traditionally, musk has been used for many medicinal formulations in ancient Indian medicinal system called Ayurveda. It is mentioned in the medicines like Kasturi Bhairav Ras ( for alleviating fevers ) and many others. In Ayurveda, it is used in medicines to treat cough, mental problems, nervous disorders and specially the diseases of cardiovascular system. In other medicinal systems, like Unani medicine, it is used for many more purposes like treating cough and palpitation. This shows that musk may have many more therapeutic properties than we already know, like cardiotonic, neuroprotective, antitussive and anti-inflammatory.
Nutrition Facts about Musk Oil
Musk contains a large amount of aromatic compounds. This is what makes natural musk from musk deer so unique, which is not easy to recreate completely. It contains phenols, acids, aliphatic alcohols and waxes, However, the most important chemical compound in musk is Muscone. This is the major compound that lends Musk its “musky” aroma. Natural musk contains about 20 % muscone . Synthetic musk oil is engineered to have similar concentration of muscone. It also has many health benefits.
- Muscone has a strong effect on the psychological state of a person. It has the ability to alter a person’s mood and calm down anxiety, stress or irritated behavior. 
- It is a neuroprotective and reduces damage due to toxins to the nervous system.
- It reduces cell apoptosis ( programmed death ) due to oxidative stress on endothelial cells. 
Buying and Storage
It is not easy to buy Egyptian musk oil, given the fact that there are various kinds of musk oil. It is expensive and that makes the decision even harder. One should go with a product that is made with synthetic musk and organic ingredients.
1. Musk deer (Moschus moschiferus): Reinvestigation of main lipid components from preputial gland secretion. V. E. Sokolov, M. Z. Kagan, V. S. Vasilieva, V. I. Prihodko, E. P. Zinkevich
2. Psychological Effects of Musky Compounds: Comparison of Androstadienone with Androstenol and Muscone. Suma Jacob, Sheila Garcia, Davinder Hayreh, Martha K. McClintock. Hormones and Behavior
3. Protective Effects of Muskone on Rats with Complete Cerebral Ischemia. SUN Rong et. al.
4. Effects of Muscone on human vascular endothelial cells apoptosis induced by oxidative stress. HONG Yan-li et. al.