Musk Deer – Vanishing of the Exquisite Scent!

This paper discusses the threatened condition of musk deer with focus on taxonomy of musk deer, distribution of musk deer, production of musk, uses of musk both as a perfume and medicine, trade of musk, and conservation status of musk deer. The author of this paper aims to emphasize the exquisiteness of the musk secretion both as a perfume and medicine, and hence, the need to save the musk deer from getting extinct.


The musk deer is best acknowledged for its extraordinarily pleasant perfumed secretion known as the musk. This secretion ranks among the most valuable natural products in the world both for its fragrance and medicinal virtues, and has played the most important role in the decline of the population of musk deer on this planet. The rampant hunting of musk deer for international trade of musk products has resulted in the vanishing of the exquisite scent at an accelerated rate.


Taxonomy / Classification of Musk Deer

Musk deer are deer-like animals belonging to the family Moschidae of the order Artiodactyla under the class Mammalia. The following species of musk deer (genus Moschus) have been recognized, viz. –


Moschus moschiferus –
It is also known as Siberian musk deer or Taiga musk deer.

M. berezovskii – It is also known as Forest musk deer, Chinese Forest musk deer, South China Forest musk deer, or Dwarf musk deer.

M. chrysogaster – It is also known as Alpine musk deer.

M. leucogaster – It is also recognized by the name of Himalayan musk deer.

M. cupreus – It is also recognized by the name of Kashmir musk deer.

M. anhuiensis – Moschus anhuiensis is also known as Anhui musk deer.

M. fuscus – Moschus fuscus is also recognized by the name of Black musk deer or Dusky musk deer.


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Seahorses in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Seahorses are magnificent fishes that exhibit the phenomenon of male pregnancy. Pregnancy in males is unique to seahorses in the entire animal kingdom, thus, making them a true biological marvel. This exclusive behavior was discussed in detail in my research article titled “Seahorse – Male Endurance – Roles Swapped!!” Here, in this new research paper / article, I shall explore the use of seahorses in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Seahorses are globally exploited for use as aquarium fishes, curios (articles or objects of curiosity), medicines, and even foods. Use of Seahorses in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was first mentioned in the book named “Bencao Shiyi” (Supplement to Materia Medica), written by Chen Cangqi around 720 A.D.

Seahorses are used in the treatment of a wide range of health problems under the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is a complementary and alternative system of medicine (CAM). You can refer to my article – “The Basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)” to learn the fundamentals of TCM. Seahorses are employed in the treatment of sexual weakness, reduced sexual desire or drive (reduced libido; libido means sexual desire or sex drive), and are considered as broad-spectrum or general tonics. The practitioners of TCM claim that seahorses strengthen “kidneys” and improve “nerves”, which in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine points to general morale, well-being, and vigor. “kidneys” also imply sexual function in the context of TCM. Seahorses are categorized under sweet, salty, and warm medicines. They are usually not prescribed alone but in combo-preparations (formulations containing multiple ingredients) containing matter from other animals and plants.

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