The scent that moves god’s
Agarwood is the most precious essential oil. In India it was known since time immemorial as Agaru and as Oud in the Arad, Persian and Turkish regions. This resin is formed as a defense mechanism by the tree to control the infection in the trees of the Aquilaria families, which is a native of far east Indian region and south east Asia. Agarwood is synonym with good luck and hope in every household in the East.
The name is derived from Agaru or Agar. The name Agarbatti; Agar means Agaru and Batti meaning flaming stick is the Indian name for incense sticks, which has a deep spiritual significance since ancient India is highly revered in the seminal texts of Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. The incense sticks are not only used in the Hindu culture but they are an imperative part of many other cultures such as Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese, etc. The scent is a combination of oriental-woody, fruity and floral. India being one of the earliest sources of Agarwood for foreign markets its currently traded in large quantities throughout Asia and to rest of the world. Both agarwood oil and incense are used for their fragrant properties, notably in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the demand for agarwood currently far exceeds the available supply, which is naturally restricted owing to the nature of its formation - agarwood is only found in a small percentage of Aquilaria trees of those species known to produce it. Agarwood and other essential oils are still weighed in Tola, which is an ancient Indian weighing system. Agarwood products are thus of exceptional importance.
The various names the herb beholds: Agarwood known as Aguru in Sanskrit, Tibetian, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu and Kannada, Sashi in Assamese, Akil in Tamil, Jinko in Japanese, Chenxiang in China, Oud in Arabic, Gaharu in Indonesia and Malaysia.
As its history goes, this precious wood and its oil have a deep spiritual significance, and they are mentioned in the oldest spiritual texts – the Sahih Muslim, the Charaka Samhita, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, the Sushruta Samhita, Islamic scriptures and the Gospel. The formation of agar wood occurs in the trunk and roots of trees that have been penetrated by an insect feeding on wood and oily resin.
Agarwood is identified with the ‘Scent of Nirvana’. Sounds familiar?? Yes, the Buddha’s teaching signifies the burning of the Agarwood as the ‘Scent of Nirvana’ which also means attaining divinity. Agarwood Oil has been used as an incense and perfume since ages. Agar Oil distilled from resinous wood is highly coveted as essential oil and perfumes. Aged resins are used in incense sticks or directly burned on low flaming charcoals for fuming homes and religious places to keep it sacred and to keep away from evil eye. Many connoisseurs wear these fumes on their body and clothes.
At least 27 species of Agarwood found around the world, which belongs to several genus and family. Only a fungal infection on the heartwood in the tree transforms the nonfunctioning part of heartwood to yield medicinal properties;
- The fungal infection (phialohora parasitica) takes hold of the tree, tree responds by producing a protective resin which saturates the heartwood and the roots
- The resin is informally known as liquid gold
- After many years the amount of resin that the tree has produced increases the density of the wood so much that when it is floated on water it sinks. The Japanese call Agarwood, jinkoh, ‘the wood that sinks’
- Agarwood is said to be the favorite fragrance of Lord Krishna, God of Protection
- The Samurai warriors perfumed their armor with Agarwood smoke for good luck before going into battle
- In China the wood is known as Ch’en hsiang, which means the ‘sinking incense wood.’ it’s also known there as ‘Wood Of The Gods.
- Agarwood, is mentioned as early as the third century AD in ancient China (The International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences reports)
- Agarwood/Gaharu Tea Industry is hugely popular in Malaysia
Do you know? The extravagant King Louis XIV of France had his clothes and linens washed in a blend of water boiled with Agarwood and rose to give him energy, and for its pleasing fragrance…
- Agarwood is precious in many ways. The tea though, is made from Agarwood leaves. It is probably the second most lucrative use of Agarwood for nutraceutical, medicinal, and pharmaceutical applications.
- Flowers, roots and seeds are used in a similar way to that of Agarwood leaves where other applications include using them as ingredient for cosmetics, personal care such as soap, or household care like detergent.
Therapeutic Uses of Agarwood:
- A fusion of high-quality Agarwood leaves and other herbs like misai kucing and pecah beling are claimed to be effective in treating various diseases such as gout, hypertension, diabetes and many others. Believed to improve blood circulation, a mix of Agarwood and apricot is worked in combination to do wonders in stabilizing blood pressure and reducing risk of stroke and associated diseases like Parkinson’s.
- Agarwood leaves are used to prepare beverages as we know. The leaves are also processed as dietary supplements that act as anti-cancer and anti-diabetic agents.
- Research reports indicate that the Agarwood leaves are composed of complex chemical compounds that exhibit biological properties like anti-arthritic, -diabetic, -oxidant, and -stress when tested at laboratory levels.
- garwood Tea boosts the vitality of a human body. It packs a punch! A daily cup of Agarwood tea can de stress, reduce Uric Acid, relieves thirst, reduces body fat and reduces insomnia.
The landscape of the Agarwood market has changed over the years. In the recent years, Agarwood-based food and beverages started to hit the market in its various forms and in an intensive way.