Although substances like castoreum
and cochineal extract may be long on the "yuck factor," (4) research has shown them to be perfectly safe for most people; strident opposition arose not from safety issues but from the ingredients' origins.
From their discussion and the reference in Schafer it appears that the first clear reference to civet in Chinese (as opposed to castoreum
from the beaver) is indeed to be found in the eighth-century text of Ch 'en Ts'ang-ch-i.
But it is true that when beavers are trapped for their pelt two small glands near their anus that produce a territorial marker called castoreum
are removed and their contents extracted with alcohol for commercial use.
The hair trap and visual attractant were baited with a non-commercial scented lure (1:1:8 ratio of propylene glycol, glycerine, and beaver castoreum
, plus several drops of catnip oil and cougar or bobcat urine).