The Relevance of Agarwood Tree
Nature always leaves us transfixed with her mysteriously treasured possessions. Here is one such wonder is hidden in the virtues of aromatic, dark resinous wood. And the world hails them as “The Wood of Gods” – Agarwood tree/Oud tree.
Widely used for a variety of applications, one relatively unheard use of Oud, is tea made from its leaves. Carefully picked, matured oud leaves form the Oud tea blend. Renowned as a delightful drink, it also accounts for a number of health benefits.
History and Tradition
Agarwood is known to the world by different local names. It is an aromatic and highly valued heartwood found in Aquilaria trees. There are over 15 species of Agarwood tree currently known to us. And they are mainly traded as wood chips, wood dust, and oud essential oil.
Oud and its essential oil achieved immense cultural and religious significance since ancient days, evidence of which can be found in one of the oldest written texts – the Vedas. The chronicle, Nan Zhouyiwuzhi (Strange things from the South) written by Wa Zhen in the 3rd century has mentioned Oud produced in Rinan commandery. Now Central Vietnam, explaining the process of people collecting it from the mountains.
By 1580, after Nguyên Hoàng took over the central provinces of modern Vietnam, trade with other countries was encouraged. Agarwood was exported in three varieties: Calambac (kynam in Vietnamese), Tram Huong (slightly harder and slightly more abundant), and authentic Oud. A Royal Monopoly over the sale of Calambac was soon established by the Nguyên Lords and this helped them fund the state finances.
Why Agarwood Tree Consider as “WOOD OF GODS”?
Oud accounts for at least a 3,000-year-old history in the South East, South West, and Central Aisa. Much ancient literature and religious scriptures are found to have made references on agarwood. The great Indian poet Kalidasa has written, “Beautiful ladies, preparing themselves for the feast of pleasures, cleanse themselves with the yellow powder of sandal, freshen their breast with pleasant aromas, and suspended their dark hair in the smoke of burning aloeswood”.
Oud is an integral part of Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Tao, Sufi etc. culture and religious landscape. It is also widely used as a natural remedy for many diseases. Buddhist followers believe that inhaling Agar-wood fumes will help one to attain ultimate meditation level and hence it’s used accordingly.
It’s also mentioned in the 8th-century tomes of Shahin Muslims. Old Testament to mentions the word ‘aloes’ several times. In Japanese, the earliest record of agarwood was in 595 AD.
With these findings and many more scriptures mentioning about Agarwood tree as a sacred element, it is termed as the Wood Of Gods!