Characterization of allegedly musk-containing medicinal products in Taiwan

J Forensic Sci. 2004 Nov;49(6):1187-93.


As a highly valued ingredient of Chinese medicinal remedies, musk is used as a detoxification agent and for treating fever, inflammation and swelling, and pain. Muscone (3-methylcyclopentadecanone-1), an odoriferous secretion from the ventral glands of male musk deer, is believed to be the active ingredient. A small amount of muscopyridine is also found in the secretion from the ventral glands of male musk deer. Common counterfeit ingredients are musk xylene, musk ambrette, musk ketone, and diphenhydramine. An extraction/GC-MS protocol/data evaluation scheme was developed and applied to study allegedly musk-containing Musk-Tiger Bone Plaster preparations and musk pods (or grains) from Chinese medicine stores and an airport customs. The content of muscone in a specific sample was estimated based on the percentage of the amount recovered from the first extraction. No muscone or counterfeit ingredients were found in all musk pod (or grain) samples from the customs and in the majority of Musk-Tiger Bone Plaster preparations, while muscone (alone or with counterfeit ingredients) was found in most of the musk pod (or grain) collected from Chinese medicine stores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cycloparaffins / analysis*
  • Cycloparaffins / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / analysis*
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / chemistry
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Materia Medica / chemistry*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Odorants


  • Cycloparaffins
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Materia Medica
  • musk
  • muscone