Ambergris in its natural form is from the sperm whale and banned for obvious reasons but the synthetic form is widely used in perfumery. It is a beautiful sweet musky marine fragrance, very unique and exotic. Ancient Egyptians burned ambergris as incense, and in modern Egypt ambergris is used for scenting cigarettes. The ancient Chinese called the substance 'dragon's spittle fragrance'. During the plague years, people believed that carrying a ball of highly scented ambergris could help protect them from the plague. Ambergris in its natural form (collected from seabeds) has also been used historically as a flavouring for food, and as an aphrodisiac. During the Middle Ages, it was used as medicine for headaches, colds, epilepsy, and an assortment of other ailments.