This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Musk. - The dried secretion from the preputial follicles of Moschus moschiferus Linne (class Mammalia; order Ruminantia).
In irregular, crumbly somewhat unctuous grains, dark reddish-brown, having a peculiar, penetrating and persistent odor, and a bitterish taste. It is contained in oval or roundish sacs about 4 to 5 cm. in diameter, on one side invested with a smoothish membrane, on the other side covered with stiff, appressed, grayish hairs, concentrically arranged around two orifices near the centre.
About 10 per cent. of Musk is soluble in Alcohol, the tincture being light brownish-yellow, and on the addition of water becoming slightly turbid. About 50 per cent. of Musk is soluble in water, the solution being deep brown, faintly acid, and strongly odorous.
1) Ammonia. (2) An acid. (3) Cholesterin. (4) Fats and Oils. (5) Wax. (6) Gelatinous and albuminous principles. The odoriferous principle has not been isolated, but it is probably a product of decomposition, being constantly formed; complete drying destroys the odor, but it returns after water is added.
Dried blood, resin, lead and other substances.
Dose, 2 to 10 gr.; .12 to .60 gm.
Musk, 50; Alcohol, 450; Water, 450; by maceration and filtration with Diluted Alcohol, to 1000.
Dose, 1/4 to 1 fl. dr.; 1. to 4. c.c.
Musk is a very powerful diffusible stimulant, especially to the heart and nervous system. It also stimulates the respiratory centre. How it acts is not known. Occasionally it produces headache and nausea.
It has been used, and apparently with great success, in the collapse and prostration of long continued severe diseases, such as typhoid fever and pneumonia. Various functional nervous diseases, as hysteria, are occasionally treated with it. Its high price limits its use. It is usually given as a pill.