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Natural Sources of Musk:
– Musk deer are found in regions like Tibet, India, Nepal, and China.
– Musk pod, obtained from male musk deer, is used in perfumery as a fixative.
– Musk grain is derived from dried musk pod and tinctured with alcohol.
– Musk trade quantity is regulated by CITES due to illegal poaching.
– Other animals like muskrats, musk ducks, and musk beetles also produce glandular substances with musky odors.

Plant Sources of Musk:
– Plants such as Angelica archangelica and Abelmoschus moschatus produce musky-smelling compounds.
– Musk flower, muskwood, and musk seeds are plant sources of musky scents.
– These compounds are used in perfumery either as substitutes for animal musk or to modify other musks.
– Different plant sources provide a variety of musky fragrances for perfumes.

Synthetic Musk Compounds:
– Synthetic musk, also known as white musk, is widely used in perfumery.
– Three major classes of synthetic musk compounds include aromatic nitro musks and polycyclic musk compounds.
– Macrocyclic musk compounds are considered safer alternatives to the first two classes.
– Public debate on the carcinogenic properties of synthetic musk has led to bans in some regions.
– Galaxolide is a polycyclic musk compound commonly used in laundry detergents.

Other Uses and Cultural Significance of Musk:
– Musk holds religious significance in Islam and was used by Prophet Muhammad.
– Musk has been historically used to attract wild animals and trap a wild tiger in India in 2018.
– Musk sticks, flavored like musk perfume, are popular confections in Australia.
– In Arab Muslim tradition, musk is a popular scent along with jasmine, amber, and oud.

References and Further Reading:
– Musk is considered the most fragrant scent in Islam.
– Alexander the Great was said to exude the odor of musk.
– Synthetic musk fragrances are used in various industries.
– Additional resources include books by Nigel Groom, D.C. Wareham, Celia Lyttelton, articles by Peter Borschberg, and Wikipedia pages on Musk with specific categories and references.

Musk (Wikipedia)

Musk is a class of aromatic substances commonly used as base notes in perfumery. They include glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer, numerous plants emitting similar fragrances, and artificial substances with similar odors. Musk was a name originally given to a substance with a strong odor obtained from a gland of the musk deer. The substance has been used as a popular perfume fixative since ancient times and is one of the most expensive animal products in the world. The name originates from the Late Greek μόσχος 'moskhos', from Persian mushk and Sanskrit मुष्क muṣka (lit.'testicle') derived from Proto-Indo-European noun múh₂s meaning "mouse". The deer gland was thought to resemble a scrotum. It is applied to various plants and animals of similar smell (e.g. muskox) and has come to encompass a wide variety of aromatic substances with similar odors, despite their often differing chemical structures and molecular shapes.

Musk deer of Tibet in old illustration

Natural musk was used extensively in perfumery until the late 19th century when economic and ethical motives led to the adoption of synthetic musk, which is now used almost exclusively. The organic compound primarily responsible for the characteristic odor of musk is muscone. There are several ways of preparing the commercial musk, and the best method is to dry the pod by sunning and airing immediately after it is taken from the animal. Natural musk because of its powerful diffusion of odour, is usually packed in hermetically-sealed vessels and wooden boxes lined with tin foil.

Modern use of natural musk pods occurs in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCMs in China, save for specially exempt drugs, use a synthetic version of undisclosed composition created in 1994. The process was given State Science and Technology Progress Award First Class in 2015.

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