Musk, a drug resembling clotted blood, which is obtained from the musk-bearing animal (Moschus Moschiferus, L.) a native of the South-eastern parts of Asia, Siberia, and China : it is secreted in a small bag found beneath the lower belly of this ruminating quadruped. • Musk has a bitter, somewhat acrid, taste ; and emits a fragrant odour which, at a distance, is very agreeable ;, the best is imported from the East, in round thin bladders, about the size of a pigeon's egg, which are. covered with short brown hairs. The substance itself is dry, and consists of small, round, grains, of a reddish-brown or dark rusty colour, somewhat unctuous, but perfectly free from sand or similar adulterations.—It pays on importation, the sum of 2s. 21/2d; per ounce troy ; and the same duty when it is taken out for home-con-sumiption (if sold by the East India ipany), beside 2l. percent, on -its value.
This strong scented drug is greatly esteemed in the East, on account of its medicinal properties ; though it has not, til lately, . been employed as a perfume in Britain ; and is still more rarely used as a medicine. Musk, however, ap-be possessed of considerable efficacy ; especially in convulsive hiccoughs and fits, if administered in doses consisting of from eight to ten grains.—It is likewise an excellent .anti-spasmodic, and has sometimes been prescribed with advantage, in slow, or nervous fevers, to the quantity of a scruple, taken three or fourtimes in twenty-four hours.—See also Gangrene. With a view to caution the 1 eader against impositions in the sale of musk, we refer him to the article Beaver, or Castor moscatus vol. i. p. 210.
Artificial Musk, is a chemical preparation thus denominated, on account of its possessing all the essential properties of the genuine drug. It was first invented by Maggraf, and has been lately recommended to public notice by Prof. Hufeland : it is prepared in the following manner :-One dram of rectified oil of amber is first poured into a wine glass, on which a dram and a half of the concentrated nitric acid, or smoking aquafortis, should be gradually and cautiously dropped. The mixture, on agitating it, grows hot, and emits offensive vapours, against which the nostrils must be guarded : when it has stood twenty-four hours; hoars, the compound produces a yellow-resinous matter, concreting at the top ; and which resembles musk in its smell, while a strong acid liquor remains at the bottom. The resin is now to be repeatedly washed, both in cold and in hot water, till it be totally divested of its sour taste. Thus a substance is ' obtained, which is not only cheaper -than the common musk, but is at the same time free from those impurities with which the latter is too frequently adulterated.
Artificial musk is, doubtless, a more powerful medicine than the natural, and has been successfully prescribed by Hufeland, in the epidemic chin-cough, as well as other nervous and spasmodic affec-tions. Nor have its effects been less salutary in cases of diabetes (see Urine), and difficulty of breathing ; having effected a cure when other medicines had failed of success.—As this substance is of a resinous consistence, it will be most conveniently given in emulsions : hence ten or twelve grains of it should be triturated in a mor-tar, together with a few blanched' almonds, and diluted with five or six ounces of distilled water. Of this mixture, two tea-spoonfuls may be given every two hours, to a child between one and two years old; and in progressive doses, so that a youth from twelve to fourteen years of age, will require double, and an adult about three times the quantity above stated. Without the aid of any other medicine, it generally produces a sudorific effect ; diminishes and alleviates the fits of coughing; and often produces eruptions resembling the true nettle-rash : thus, a favourable crisis takes place, and the disease speedily disappears.