What is Agarwood? 4 popular types of Agarwood

Because of its scarcity and high worth, Agarwood (trầm hương) has always been regarded as a national treasure. However, Agarwood tree kinds are classified according to many factors like origin, rarity, and sediment age… Apart from Agarwood, which is commonly used in bracelets, the Aquilaria family includes numerous different types of wood with differing degrees of scarcity and utility. What is Agarwood?

I. What is Agarwood?

This is a product obtained from the aquilaria tree’s wounds. Under the influence of physics and biology, aquilaria trees appear to have wounds on their trunks. The tree continually secretes fragrant resins. It significant amounts of essential oils from such wounds. Agarwood grew from the wound over time. They contain large quantities of essential oils, have a mild aroma, and a spicy, warm flavor.

The agarwood tree can only be found in tropical locations
The agarwood tree can only be found in tropical locations

Agarwood tree is actually a type of aromatic wood found on the trunks of Agarwood trees. The majority of Agarwood-producing trees are members of the genus Aquilaria, which can be found in South China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, India, and Indonesia.

The lesions on the trunk of the tree form lesions that are stored with oil and become fragrant wood as a result of the influences of weather, insects, and bacteria during the growth phase.

Agarwood can be found in the evergreen tropical damp primeval woods of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Tay Nguyen, Kien Giang,… in Vietnam.

II. What does Agarwood smell like?

You’re surely aware that Agarwood has been a very popular perfume component in recent years. Agarwood tree is a prominent ingredient in both old and current Arabic perfumes, as well as a component of high-quality incense in Arabic, Japanese, and Indian cultures. Its scent has now made its way to the west. It’s rare, expensive, and even endangered: high-quality Agarwood is growing harder to come by as it becomes more popular.

Khanh Hoa is a famous place for agarwood in Vietnam
Khanh Hoa is a famous place for agarwood in Vietnam

That’s because Agarwood tree, which is actually the resinous heart-wood of fast-growing evergreen trees like the Aquilaria, takes an eternity to create. The Agarwood is the consequence of a fungal invasion that transforms this normally pale and light wood into a black, resinous wood with a distinct scent over hundreds of years. An oil is created from the ‘rotten’ wood, which is then combined into scent. The scent of ‘natural’ oud is unique and appealing, with bittersweet and woody nuances: seriously earthy (and in small quantities, seriously sexy).

Agarwood smell is a sweet, vanilla, sour, and bitter mix. The aroma of this woody tree with a hint of spice (depending on the demography where it grows) ranges from flowery to warm spice. Tobacco leaves, leathery and medicinal herbs, honey, and botanicals were all detectable. To sum up, Agarwood smell is a pleasant fragrance.

III. Different kinds of Agarwood

How many kinds of agarwood are there, and how are they categorized?

1. Ky Nam

Ky Nam considered a commodity that is even more precious than gold. It is the rotten part of the aquilaria tree which is somewhat soft. This agarwood contains a high amount of essential oil. Like agarwood, Ky Nam is salty, bitter, and spicy in flavor and offers a sweet aftertaste. Due to its rareness, it is significantly expensive given that its price can occasionally amount to over millions of dollars.

Ky Nam agarwood is divided into four types whose value differs in the following color order:

  • White Ky Nam: As the most valuable of all, White Ky Nam is either ivory white or grayish.
  • Green Ky Nam: Light, shiny green in color is what makes Green Ky Nam look stunning.
  • Yellow Ky Nam: The color of this Ky Nam is either yellowish or brownish-yellow depending on the oil accumulation years.
  • Black Ky Nam: As the name infers, Black Ky Nam is indigo, tar black.

2. Root Agarwood

As a type of agarwood originating from the sunken root of the aquilaria tree. Root Agarwood is relatively similar to Ky Nam. But it still considered lower in value than Ky Nam. That being said, root agarwood is quite expensive since it is difficult to find. This is why it is rarely found being put on sale in the general market. But rather being exchanged hand to hand between agarwood experts.

Root Agarwood is relatively similar to Ky Nam
Root Agarwood is relatively similar to Ky Nam

3. Ant Agarwood

What is Ant Agarwood? As odd as the name may sound, ant agarwood is one of the natural types of agarwood. Created from the wounds caused by numerous ants drilling in the aquilaria tree. Ant agarwood is more accessible to harness than the ones mentioned above. Still, its amount of essential oil is not as much as that of the others. This explains the more affordable price of Ant Agarwood on the general market.

Ant agarwood is created by numerous ants drilling in the aquilaria tree
Ant agarwood is created by numerous ants drilling in the aquilaria tree

Some particular types of Ant agarwood are Green Ant, Needle Ant, Wall Ant, Spikey Ant, Hole Ant,…

4. Toc Agarwood

As the more common type of agarwood on the general market. Toc agarwood is frequently used to make agarwood bracelets. This agarwood costs from hundreds to thousands of dollars. It depend on the amount of essential oil it has accumulated.

Toc agarwood is frequently used to make agarwood bracelets
Toc agarwood is frequently used to make agarwood bracelets

Toc agarwood is divided into four main types: Toc Dia, Toc Day, Toc Huong, and Toc Pi. Arranged according to their price in decreasing order. Each type has its own unique features and colors:

  • Toc Dia (Leech Toc): The Toc agarwood with the highest amount of essential oil. The amount of oil runs along the wood grain, looking like a leech. Hence the people gave it the appropriate name.
  • Toc Day (String Toc): The amount of oil intertwined makes up many rings along the wood grain. The essential oil rings are round in shape. That is long like a string wrapped around the agarwood.
  • Toc Huong: Despite having less essential oil than the Toc types mentioned above. Besides, Toc Huong offers a much more unique and significant fragrance.
  • Toc Pi: Toc Pi has thin essential oil surrounding the wood grain. Especially, the oil is a pyramid or large cylinder in shape.

IV. Global Trade in Agarwood

Agarwood is also classified into numerous categories based on its origin. Agarwood can be found in countries including Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Vietnam’s normal agarwood is the most valuable, expensive, and advanced of these countries, and it can be used as medicine.

Non-timber forest products have a long history, with India being one of the first exporters of these woods to international markets, where they are now traded in bigger numbers. In 2018, global sales of these trees surpassed US$ 30 billion. It’s worth noting, however, that approximately 75% of these sales were concentrated in the Middle East and Africa, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. This is one of the longest ongoing rituals between these regions, and Agarwood hashave a significant cultural value in Arabic countries.

As the wealth of consumer countries has continually expanded in recent years, the demand for this has substantially outstripped the supply. Currently, overall supply of these woods meets barely 20% of demand, producing a massive market upheaval.

The exponential increase in demand for Agarwood has resulted in the rapid depletion of Aquilaria trees in natural forests, and these trees have been designated as endangered on CITES Appendix II.

As these factors, combined with trade restrictions in key agarwood producing countries, continue to affect the cost of these woods, mass planting of Agarwood tree has become a sustainable option to obtain it while also protecting these endangered species.

V. Application of Agarwood

There are several uses for agarwood. It is mild, spicy, and warm, and it can help with aches and pains, shortness of breath, and vomiting. Agarwood is therefore commonly utilized in Oriental medicine. Agarwood is also thought to have spiritual properties, to fight off evil, and to bring good fortune.

Medicinal Uses:

Because of its mild aroma, agarwood powder is turned into scented bags or used as a pillow gut. It is beneficial in alleviating headaches, depression, and aiding the sense of ease and relaxation. Agarwood is also used to cure illnesses in little children.

Agarwood tree has been used in Oriental medicine to support the heart, particularly in those suffering from dyspnea or heart failure. Agarwood is also used to cure kidneys, as a tonic, and to keep the body warm. Drinking Agarwood tea helps to detoxify the body; do not be concerned about getting heated.

Frankincense essential oil

A “golden formula” for treating sore throat, cough, hoarseness, runny nose, and other symptoms is to dissolve a few drops of essential oil in a cup of warm water and stir. Furthermore, the use of essential oils promotes a better digestive tract, reducing intestinal “enemies” such as stomach ache, diarrhea, and so on.

the price of essential oil is usually in the range of 30,000 USD/liter
the price of essential oil is usually in the range of 30,000 USD/liter

Furthermore, the usage of essential oils in the home is good for theto the respiratory system. Agarwood essential oil has the potential to fight viruses in the air, clean the airway, create fresh air, and eliminate the need to worry about the flu.

Soaked wine:

Soaking alcohol is one of Agarwood‘s most unusual applications. Frankincense alcohol has a tonic effect on the kidneys, creates a good atmosphere, calms the mind, and warms the body. Furthermore, Tram Huong alcohol can help with chest pain, vomiting, and asthma. Use no more than one tiny glass of alcohol every day for optimal results.

Artistic Uses:

Agarwood jewelry products become fashionable, causing many ladies to go insane. The most unique product is the Agarwood Bracelet, which comes in a variety of styles and charms to accommodate a wide range of tastes. Agarwood bracelets exude elegance and status, but not solely because of their expensive price. Those who wear the bracelet will encounter fortuitous events and gain financial and health blessings.

Feng shui:

Agarwood tree is a guardian in feng shui, assisting its owner in warding off evil spirits and omens. Feng shui products that provide luck, fortune, and good fortune should be used. Agarwood ornamental objects are placed in the house, on the desk, with the meaning of “curing the evil” for its owners.

Religious meditation:

According to Oriental Medicine, frankincense is moderate, aromatic, and spicy; it has a warming effect on the meridians, spleen, and taste; it is analgesic and sedative. Agarwood is particularly useful in the treatment of chest pain, shortness of breath, asthma, abdominal pain, vomiting, hiccups, renal damage, and urine retention. Agarwood is widely used in the treatment of headaches and nervous stress.

Because the uses of agarwood are concentrated in essential oils, it is frequently employed in powder form, not in sharp, but in many other herbs. Agarwood tree is used in a variety of traditional medicines. Some instances are as follows:

Treatment for constipation, vomiting, and stomach pain: 5g finely chopped frankincense and cardamom, fine flour sieve, divided into 10 sachets Every day, adults consume 3-4 packages; older children consume 2 packs; and youngsters consume 1 pack. Pour the medicine into a cup of hot water, swirl well, and consume.

Asthma treatment: 2g frankincense, 3g rosemary leaf powdered, fine sieve, drink before bed.

To treat intense emotions that produce shortness of breath, take agarwood powder and ginseng (every 2 minutes), break with a cup of hot water for 10 minutes, and drink water. In the case of intense emotions, air rising producing breathing difficulties, this remedy is highly useful.

We hope you understand what Agarwood is and why it is so interesting with all of the information provided. At Thien Moc Huong, you can get yourself the most premium. Especially,  high-quality agarwood at a super affordable price with the best service you can ask for.

Read more: Agarwood Rosary beads – 108 beads and the meaning of the amount of beads in Buddhism

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