Civet Oil

“Civet oil strengthens the Head, Brain, Heart and Spirits wonderfully,” quotes the Pharmacopoeia Londinensis (the New London Dispensatory) by William Salmon in the year 1678. Besides the mesmerizing fragrance, Civet oil has been used throughout the history in the treatment of colic, hysteria, hearing difficulties, loss of libido, stress and in stimulating the power of creative thinking.

The oil of Civet is extracted from the musk or glandular secretion by the castoreum sacs (perineal glands near the testicles of the Civet cats) that enclose the awe-inspiring fragrance in them. From Chanel No. 5 to Amouage Gold Pour till Calvin Klein Obsession, you’ll certainly be amazed with the extensive range of perfumes and scents that Civet enchants with its magical aroma.

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Civet Yarn – The Tall Story of a Small Animal:

Civet cats are an endangered species (there are about 35species of Civets in 20 genera and 19 species of True Civets among which African Civet is the most popular one) and absolute Civet oil is hard to extract these days. There are many species of Civet cats and the most popular among them are the African Civets and the Indian Civets.

Generally, Civets are medium built-up carnivorous animals and are members of the Viverridae family along with mongooses, genets and linsangs. The oil of Civet is secreted by the African Civet, scientifically called as Civettictis civetta and by the Civets that are of Indian, Indonesian, Chinese and Malaysian origin, known as Viverricula indica and Viverra zibetha.

African Civets are held high mainly because of the fact that they secrete about 4 grams of Civet every week.

Ringed tail and dotted body is the trademark of this nocturnal creature that owns a rat-like face and a cat-like physique. It has partially or fully retractile claws with five webbed toes on each foot.

Just like cats, their ear flaps are found with bursae or pockets on the surface. Civets have about 38 to 40 teeth that are ready for an omnivorous meal. These striking animals have a normal life span of about 15 to 20 years.

The glandular secretion by the Civet cats is stored in a pouch near the testicles. It has a buttery consistency and is whitish yellow in color with a strong and unpleasant odor that turns sweet and exquisite on dilution by solvent extraction method.

The name ‘Civet’ has an Arabian origin and is obtained from the term ‘zabad or sinnawr al-zabad’.

Al-Masudi, the Arabian philosopher has pointed out Zabada (Civet) as a spice in his book Meadows of Gold (Murūdj al-dhahab). Wondering how Civet could be used as a spice? Here’s the scientific evidence for its health benefits for mankind.

A 1998 study on “Comparative study in chemical character and fatty acid compositions of masked civet’s fat and nutria’s oil” by Hong Meiling, Yang Chunhua, Wang Lijun and Zou Xinghuai, published in the Journal of Forestry Research concludes that Civet’s oil contains Eicosatetraenoic acid, which is extremely helpful in supporting nutrition and metabolism of human system.

Historical references denote that King Solomon imported Civet oil from Africa during 10th Century B.C, where the Queen of Sheba gifted Civet musk to Solomon. Civet cat farming is a primeval custom in Ethiopia and is found wild naturally.

Being one among the four vertebrate mammals that generate medicinal produce with rich aroma, Civet is grown and fed with a blend of vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs and maize in Civet rearing farms.

Rearing Civet cats is a lucrative business and is an important source of livelihood for the farmers in Ethiopia and is considered as an economically significant work. Civets also bank upon naturally on insects, small birds, invertebrates and rodents for their food in their habitats.

Male Civet cats produce more Civet musk than the female cats and the traditional method of extracting Civet musk is through a spoon-like object made from cow’s horn. During dry season, musk is collected on every 10 days once and once in every 12 days during rainy season. On an average, one Civet cat can produce about 400gms of musk annually.

Civet was quoted as a “concreted Juice or Humor in a bladder between the Cods [testicles],” by William in the Pharmacopoeia Londinensis. It is said that John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law used Civet in a Caranna plaster for treating hysteria.

Nicolas Lemery, a French Doctor of the 17th Century trusted that Civet was effective in treating disorders of the womb, brain, head and ears and was also prescribed in treating colic in children and hearing disorders.

Chemical constituents of Civet oil:

The exceptional fragrance of Civet oil is attributed to the presence of ketones known as civetone, (also called as zibethone) which is present in the concentration range of 2.5 to 3.4 percent. Cyclohexadecanone, 6-cis-cycloheptadecenone, cyclopentadecanone and cycloheptadecanone are certain other ketones in Civet oil.

Uses of Civet oil:

The primary use of Civet oil that strikes everyone’s mind is its attention-grabbing fragrance that can uplift the moods and elevate the energy levels of the one who is wearing it and of those who are around.

Can Civet oil and its paranormal fragrance boast itself for real health benefits for human beings? If that’s your real doubt, then you’ve come to the right place to resolve it.

The oil of Civet and its synthesized aroma in the recent times indeed have a remarkable impact on the emotions and behavior of mankind. This is not an irony and here are the substantiating factors for your contentment:

1. Civet and its positive effect on the Limbic system:

Civet is known for its remarkable fragrance that is said to instill potential differences in the behavioral and psychological patterns of humans. And the ‘Superhero’ cascading these benefits is the ‘Limbic system’ or the vital control center of the human brain and is the primary part to grow in a fetus.

“The limbic system is a complex set of brain structures located on both sides of the thalamus, right under the cerebrum. It includes the olfactory bulbs, hippocampus, hypothalamus, amygdala, anterior thalamic nuclei, fornix, columns of fornix, mammillary body, septum pellucidum, habenular commissure, cingulate gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, limbic cortex, and limbic midbrain areas”, quotes Wiki.

Limbic system is the residence for all the emotions and has a greater role to play with the creation and development of memories. It influences the process of learning, sleep patterns, dreams, memory, appetite, eating habits, motivation, sexual behavior, social cognition and the corresponding emotions.

Various parts of the Limbic system perform different functions each and the most predominant functionalities are emotional activities (amygdala), automatic actions and reactions (hypothalamus), fresh memories combination (hippocampus), happiness, compensation and obsession (nucleus accumbens), enjoyment region (septal nuclei) and decision making (orbitofrontal cortex).

Limbic system works by persuading the functions of the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system.

Ayurveda states that brain is the quintessential part of the system that is responsible for the entire health in terms of physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.

The treatment using aroma is a branch of Ayurveda that heals hormonal imbalances and psychological health through the sense of smell, which was later called as Aromatherapy.

The fragrance-containing molecules in the aromatic oils pass through the nasal receptors while breathing and are converted to nerve impulses before reaching the olfactory bulb and other vital parts of the limbic system.

Civet oil contains aphrodisiac, sedative, rejuvenating, stimulating, calmative and tonic properties that pass on through the nasal passages in the form of aromatic molecules, reach the limbic system through the olfactory epithelium.

The hypothalamus along with other vital parts of the limbic system obtains the corresponding therapeutic properties as information in the form of nerve impulses. This info is then passed on to the body as instructions to tranquilize, enhance sexual interest, relax the stress hormones, treat hormonal imbalances and calm down the tensed muscles.

This way, the invigorating, encouraging and rich fragrance of Civet oil passes on its remedial benefits to the body through the limbic system.

Add 2 drops of Civet oil with 1 drop of Rosemary oil and 1 drop of Patchouli oil for enhancing your cognitive abilities while instilling positive energy and enjoying the feel of breathing new life into.

2. Civet’s relationship with rest and stress:

“Worrying is the greatest waste of imagination,” says Daniel Ally, the most influential business speaker of the recent times. Rest is the most powerful weapon to recharge the stressed-out mind and spirit.

Successful people absolutely know the secret of fueling their fire of passion.  Stress is obviously the worst killer of all your strengths in a physical as well as an emotional background.

The hippocampus (part of the limbic system) of the human brain plays the key role in implementing the power of buoyancy and fighting spirit in times of impediments and failures.

This is also the vital zone that gets affected or blocked during times of stress, anxiety and depression. Kick starting the functions of hippocampus is the need of the hour in this competitive world.

The nurturing fragrance of Civet oil has the power to stimulate, refurbish and renovate the working of hippocampus that can help in passing appropriate commands to the system to relax, rest, revamp, recuperate and rejoice in your verves.

Blend 2 drops of Civet fragrance oil with 1 drop of Ylang Ylang oil and 1 drop of Lavender oil in your diffuser or air freshener, especially before going to bed. This can help one tremendously in tranquilizing the body, mind and the spirit.

You can also add 1 drop of this blend to a ball of cotton and keep aside your pillows for peaceful sleep and a fresh morning like never before.

Thus, Civet oil can assist in complete rest sans stress.

3. Civet – The prized gift for an enchanting relationship:

Ayurveda, more than just a traditional healing methodology, it is a divine science that insists on leading a disciplined life with responsibility and moral values.

Sex, according to Ayurveda never stops with physical pleasure or attraction. It is regarded as a basis for a deeper understanding and mutual love between the partners, defining the intimacy of their love life.

Ayurveda strictly condemns sex with many partners or sex without any bonding between the two. On a farther outlook, this is the reason behind burning social problems like sadism, rapes, lack of peace in the society, masochism, prostitution, pedophilia, necrophilia, AIDS, Syphilis and other STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases).

The noble Ayurvedic philosophy states that genuine sex is a symbol of eternal joy and ultimate sharing between the couples or lawful partners and is mentioned in detail in the art of Kama.

With these ideologies, Ayurveda quotes Sex as “sex should only be shared by a loving couple as true satiation only arises from the union of emotions, body and soul.”

According to Ayurveda, every physical disorder has a deeper connection with an emotional instability behind.

On this basis, sexual mayhems like loss of sexual interest, lack of libido, premature ejaculation and relationship struggles are closely knitted with the emotional problems like stress, fatigue, work pressure, misled by the exaggerated depiction of sex by external forces like internet and media, lack of love leading to monotonous feeling of staying with the same partner and more.

Motivational Gurus simply quote, “Successful people have learned to organize the right relationships in their lives. This means that their closest people are nurturing them mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.”

The mesmerizing aroma of Civet oil has aphrodisiac, stimulating and tonic properties that inculcate the feeling of love and increased receptivity of being loved.

According to Ayurveda, this attention-grabbing aroma of Civet oil has a positive impact on the sacral chakra, which is associated with the endocrine glands including testicles and ovaries. It is physically connected to the genitals, womb, bladder and kidneys. It is responsible for sensuality, pleasure, intimacy, connection and feelings.

Adding 3 to 4 drops of Civet fragrance oil along with 1 drop of Frankincense oil and 1 drop of Cinnamon oil to bathing water before going to bed especially with your partner can help in portraying a new love life.

Other health benefits:

Besides these benefits, Civet oil has been used in controlling sweat and the bad odor associated with it, hearing disabilities, colic in children and certain skin disorders.


This article is meant only for the purpose of information and is not intended to diagnose, treat any medical condition or act as a substitute for the advice of a medical expert or prescription drugs. None of us at Essential Depot are healthcare professionals and this information is shared based on published articles and research studies through reliable sources on the web.

Essential oils are recommended only for external use and should not be taken internally, as 100 per cent pure essential oils are extremely concentrated substances. Talk with your Ayurvedic professional or Doctor before selecting the suitable essential oils for your health condition and Prakriti (unique individual constitution).

Thought for the day:

It’s not the number of hours you put in, but what you put in the hours.

-Abraham Lincoln

Suggested Reading:

  1. Civet farming and the use of technology (Chinese Edition) by BIN DONG MEI ZHONG FU SHENG TANG CHENG HUA DENG XUE JIAN
  2. Civet cat with nine lives by PENG YI
  3. Civet cat domestication and utilization (Chinese Edition) by QU XIAO CHU
  4. A handbook to the carnivora : part 1 : cats, civets, and mongooses by Richard Lydekker
  5. The Natural History of South Africa; Including Civets, Genets, Mungooses, Meerkats Earth Wolves, Hyaenas, Jackals, Foxes Wild Dogs, Otters, Honey … Sea Lions. Mammals. In Four Volumes. Vol. II by F. W. Fitzsimons

Reference Links:

  1. Civet (Perfumery) by Wikipedia
  2. The African civet cat (Viverra civetta) and Its Life Supporting Role in the Livelihood of Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia, Takele Taye, Hawassa University, Department of Animal and Range Sciences, Ethiopia, presented in the Conference on International Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development.
  3. The Story of Civet by William Jackson, pharmacist and the president of the British Society of History of Pharmacy, published in the Pharmaceutical Journal
  4. The Scent of Love: Ancient Perfumes published in the online magazine Getty Iris
  5. The limbic system by V. Rajmohan and E. Mohandas, Elite Mission Hospital published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry