Agarwood is known by various names in different cultures. In addition to agarwood, agar Aloeswood, aloes, aloewood and aloe in English, it is known as agaru in Sanskrit, Åoud in Arabic. As an extremely rare and precious aromatic natural resource, agarwood has own the epithet of the King of Incenses. The fragrance of agarwood mainly comes from aloewood oil ( or agarwood resins). The scent of most agarwood is hidden under normal circumstances, only emitting a rich aroma that lingers over a period of time when burned.
Agarwood is rich in medicinal values. It has a long medicinal history and belongs to the precious Chinese
Herbal medicines. According to the Compendium of Materia Medica, agarwood is mild and non-poisonous; it has the effects of regulating the five major organs, strengthening the essential ( the essential part constituting the body and maintaining the activities of life, visceral function and metabolism), warming the waists and knees, refreshing the spirit, stopping diarrhea, curing paralysis, reducing swelling and clearing poisons. In modern applications of Chinese medicines, agarwood remains as an important ingredient of various compound formulae of internal medicine and surgery with notable effects. For example, for curing heart diseases, cerebrovascular disease, respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, digestive disorders such as chronic gastritis and gastric ulcer, neurotic disorders such as epilepsy, as well as diseases in a variety of fields including oncology, dermatology, gynaecology , paediatrics and andrology. According to modern medical findings, the content of flavonoids including flavone aids in activating enzymes, preventing oxygenation, reducing the generation of free radicals, improving the immune system, awaking therapeutic and regenerative powers in the body as well as delaying symptoms of ageing.
The sense of smell is among the most primitive sense organs. Smells are identified and retained by the brain, and fragrance brings physical delight and mental calmness. There is in human nature an instinctive propencity towards fragrant aroma. The scent of agarwood is transcendently unique: it is as sweet as honey, pervasive and deep. In spite of its plain appearance, it exudes a noble aura that belongs to the spiritual realm; though having mysterious and unfathomable implications, it is amiable to human beings. Whether for practical purposes, appreciation or artistic collection, agarwood gives off a reverberating fragrance that spices up lonely lives, wipes off disturbances and illuminates the mind. Traversing the past and present, the scented wood is like a hermit who leaves behind a purifying aroma in the immortal world wherever he travels. Given its wide applications and high economic value, it is well-justified to be given the highest status and popularity in the world of fragrant woods- and certainly deserves the reputation of the King of Incenses.
Agarwood has a long history in India, accompanied by a legend about its origin: Adam and Eve had made God angry by sidobeying his command, having eaten the forbidden fruit and were therefore expelled from the garden of Eden ( meaning heaven or paradise ). Realizing that they were naked and feeling ashamed, Adam and Eve used the leaves of an agarwood tree to cover their bodies. When they were exiled from the Garden of Eden to the mortal world, the leaves drifted to different lands including India where agarwood trees started to grow.
The civilization in ancient India was closely related to agarwood. Wise Indians used agarwood as incense in the form of stick called Agarbatti, bearing a unique aroma and special medicinal effects, for religious, medical, cosmetic, commercial and other purposes. Ancient Assamese used barks of agarwood to create
Xasipat, a traditional writing material. According to world's oldest medication, Ayurveda, the fragrance of agarwood is the king of aromas and ideal for curing. Its essential oils were thus used in aromatherapy, a branch of herbal healing: The scent of agarwood could be absorbed through breathing, message or bathing for the purification of the body and the mind. Agarwood is also an important incense offering in Budhism. Agarwood pieces and malas are used during meditation and saying sutra prayers.
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