Promoting spiritual, mental, and physical benefits to the mankind; the “Wood of the Gods”, is the most rare and precious wood on the planet, prized for its rich, wonderful and healing fragrance. With a familiar aroma across the world, it is also known as Oud, Aloes, Aloeswood, Eagle Wood, Lignum Aloes, Jinko, and Gaharu. The value of this wood and also the oil extracted from it – Agarwood Oil, is worth 1.5 times that of gold.
The aromatic mystery and spiritual elevation of Agarwood Oil, make it one of the most valuable natural incense available on the earth. With a balsamic and sweet woody association, somewhat similar to that of sandalwood oil, this essential oil has long been associated with various religions and cultures. This viscous liquid is pale yellow to brownish yellow or dark amber in color.. Capturing the hearts of the pious devotees and royal elites, the earthy aspect of agarwood oil has a quality that grounds our inner being and inspires our souls to the Divine realms.
Agarwood Oil Extracting
The most important aspect to extract the essential oil of agarwood (with a reminiscent and long lasting scent of vetiver and sandalwood) is to note that the fungus infected tree must be at least 100 years old to produce the oil. The agarwood tree is a large evergreen tree found in various South East Asian forests, Bangladesh, Bengal, Bhutan, Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and the foothills of the Himalayas. The oil extraction process from the agarwood is undertaken through water or steam distillation. In case of water extraction, the agarwood is immersed in water for three months. After that, the soaked wood is placed into huge burners where the water evaporates, resin dissolves, and oil floats to the top. The steam extraction method is more popular in the East Asian countries.
History of Agarwood
The essential oil of agarwood has been prized for centuries by sultans, sheikhs, and explorers in the Far East, due to its rich and exquisite aromatic burst. Even today, Oud is cherished and traded as a treasure more precious than red rubies and green emeralds. In the past, old growth Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees were indiscriminately cut to find the resin though it was found only in few trees which were infected by fungus. Due to this, Southeast Asia, which once was predominantly native region for these trees, is on way of loosing that title since the trees are being cut with no or little control.
The oil extracted from resinous wood of these trees has remained an inseparable part of Buddhist and Islamic cultures. It is also an important ingredient in many traditional medicines. It is prerequisite ingredient for incenses used in traditional Japanese ceremonies. Although, Agarwood is not a popular name in America and Europe, its use as incense (called aloeswood) finds mention several times in the Holy Bible.
The essential oil of agarwood is rich of warming, balancing, purifying, and transcendent qualities. Having heavy base notes, it particularly blends well with other essential oils such as Rose, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Carnation, Geranium, and Sandalwood. The numerous benefits exuding out of this magical oil include the following:
It is an effective tonic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, relieves epilepsy, antimicrobial, carminative, ad anti-asthmatic. In fact, agarwood oil is the most potent aphrodisiac of all the essential oils.
Useful in nervous disorders, digestive, bronchial complaints, smallpox, rheumatism, illness during and after childbirth, spasms in the digestive and respiratory systems, fevers, abdominal pain, asthma, cancer, colic, diarrhoea, nausea, regurgitation, weakness in the elderly, shortness of breath, chills, general pains and cirrhosis of the liver. It also acts as a director or focuser for other medicines. Agarwood oil has been used as a treatment for lung and stomach tumours.
The oil is used in Malaysia to flavour curries and Taiwan uses Agarwood as an aromatic ingredient in their local wines.
Valerian is a natural component of agarwood resin and functions to relieve insomnia and calm the nervous system before sleep, allowing one to have a deeper, longer sleep.
Aromatherapy: Agarwoods ability to invoke a deep sense of relaxation makes it extremely useful in any aromatherapy session, but is especially effective where anxiety and depression are present.
It is non-sticky and can be applied directly to the skin or can be thinned in jojoba oil. This is one of the most precious and expensive of essential oils and is truly amazing. Connoisseurs of essential oils should experience it. You only need to use a tiny amount of this oil at a time; be prepared for the slow release of its aroma over the next 12 hours.
There is no other known oil that is this tenacious.
It has long been an olfactory prize for discerning noses. Agar oil, is highly valued and universally prized as ‘Otto of Roses”.
Some European perfume houses especially seek out Agar oil to create heavier muskier perfume that have enhanced Agars demand, and thereby carved a special niche market for these agar dependant perfumes.
Agar Oil also has therapeutic uses as it is used in a large number of Ayurvedic medicines. Interestingly agar is also used to flavour common and widely used betel nut.
Agarwood is highly psychoactive. It is used for a spiritual journey, enlightenment, clarity and to bring the deep peace necessary for meditation. It brings communication with the transcendent, refreshing the mind, body and spirit. It is said that prayers arise with the fragrant smoke of agarwood incense carry the prayer to the Creator. Buddhists use agarwood for transmutation of ignorance. Tibetan monks use it to bring energy to calm the mind and spirit. The Sufis and Japanese Shaman use agarwood oil in their esoteric ceremonies. It enhances mental clarity, opens the third eye and all of the upper chakras while calming the entire system.
Interesting Oud Facts
Sri Sankardeva is also believed to have said that agar and sandalwood are the two divine trees capable of fulfilling human desires. Religious texts and history were also written and copied on specially treated bark of agar trees.
Lord Buddha was to have said that the smell of agarwood burning “is the scent of Nirvana”.
It is also a favourite of Lord Krishna, being mentioned throughout the oldest written texts – the Sanskrit Vedas.
Although the southern Arabian Peninsula has been long identified with aromatics, few Westerners are familiar with agarwood. This obscurity is partly due to agarwood rarity and cost.
Agarwood has also been used in nearly every religious tradition around the world and revered for thousands of years by many cultures as the most treasured incense ingredient. It was agarwood and Myrrh that was burned at Jesus’ burial ceremony.
Ayurvedic, Arabic, Sufi, Unanai, Tibetan and Chinese physicians have all used agarwood in their practice to treat various diseases including mental illness.
King Louis XIV of France had his shirts washed in rose water in which agarwood had been previously boiled.
Samurai warriors scented their armour with agarwood smoke for luck before going to battle.
This is the legendary “tree from the garden of Eden” where Adam and Eve were only allowed to take cuttings from the agarwood tree.