Prized for its aromatic bark, Agaru, commonly termed Agarwood or Oudh, is a precious herb with extensive benefits and is used for therapeutic and commercial purposes. It is widely utilized to produce perfumes, oil, incense sticks, and formulating herbal medications.
Agaru is highly beneficial for the treatment and management of a host of health woes, including asthma, gout, arthritis, inflammation, skin diseases, hair woes, gastrointestinal issues, bad breath, cardiac anomalies, fever, persistent hiccups, liver ails, chyluria and problems related to the male reproductive system. Let this 2minute read entail you in detail about this fragrance wood.
How To Identify Agaru?
Agaru is an evergreen tree that goes by the botanical name Agallochum malaccense. The plant usually grows to 40 m and spreads up to 12 m. It mainly prefers heavy soils developed from gneiss and other metamorphic rocks but can also thrive well on sandy loams formed from sandstone. The plant has a pale, thin, and smooth trunk with smooth, whitish bark. The colour of the heartwood is creamy white to pale yellowish-brown or greyish-brown.
Agaru has a characteristic balsamic and woody odour that classifies it from other plants. Leaves are glabrous, shiny on both surfaces, and lanceolate in shape. The fruits obtained from Agaru are loculicidal, obovoid Capsule with a woody outer pericarp. Agaru is extensively available in Malaysia, Thailand, and other countries in South East Asia. Still, with growing demand, they are now widely cultivated in India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, and China.
Agaru is known by different names in different parts of the world. Some of its common English names include Agarwood Agaru, Aloewood, Agalwood, Agilawood, Agar, Eaglewood, Malayan Eaglewood Tree, Paradise Wood.
The Indian subcontinent is known as Akil Kattai in Tamil, Akilin Malayalam, Krishna Aguru in Kannada, Aguru in Telugu, Agar in Gujarati, and Agar, Aguru, Agarkashtha, Agar Chandan in Bengali.
Generally, the heartwood, resin exuding from the bark, and Oudh oil (essential oil obtained from the bark) are used both economically and for Ayurvedic medicinal purposes.
Agaru Chemical Constituents
The composition of agarwood oil is exceedingly complex, with more than 150 chemical compounds identified, with at least 70 of them being terpenoids which come in the form of sesquiterpenes and chromones. Other compounds include agarofurans, cadinanes, eudesmanes, valencanes and eremophilanes, guaianes, prezizanes, vetispiranes, simple volatile aromatic compounds, as well as a range of miscellaneous compounds. The chemical composition of the Agaru plant chiefly depends on the age and species of the tree as well as the exact way the Oudh oil is extracted.
Agaru Ayurvedic Indications
Time and again, Agaru has been mentioned in several ayurvedic scriptures and journals for various indications which include Jvara (useful in fever), Kasahara (Relieves cough), Amahara (treats indigestion), Kamala (prevents jaundice), Raktadoshahara (blood purifying), Vran Ropana (heals wounds), Shwasha (relieves breathing difficulties), Dahahara (relieves burning sensation), Vayasthapana (prevents ageing), Sonitasthapana (prevents bleeding), Sangrahini (treats diarrhoea), Kustha (treats skin disorders), Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (helps in digestion), Rochana (stimulates appetite), Anulomana (improves breathing), Vamana (prevents nausea and vomiting), Trutahara (relieves excessive thirst), Balya (improves muscle strength), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), and Vamanopaga (treats emesis), Varnya (improves complexion), Krimihara (relieves intestinal worms), Hridaya (treats heart problems), Kanthya (improves voice), Arsha (treats piles), and Krichra (treats painful micturition).
Agaru Health Benefits
Relieves Cough And Cold
Recurrent coughs and congested throat can make anyone uncomfortable and prevent a peaceful good night’s sleep while making you feel tired. Being rich in anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and expectorant properties, Agaru heartwood holds high significance in treating the common cold, cough, and flu symptoms. It also reduces chest and nasal congestion, eliminates excess sputum, and stops nasal discharge.
Prepare a decoction of Agaru wood by boiling it in water. Add a spoon of honey to it and drink this concoction daily to prevent respiratory issues.
Kasa Roga, medically termed Bronchitis, is a condition marked by an inflammation in the windpipe and the bronchi and bronchioles (branches) of the lungs, resulting in sputum accumulation. The main causative factor of bronchitis is vitiated Vata and Kapha doshas. The unsynchronized doshas further result in congestion in the respiratory tract that obstructs the free flow of air. Being a powerful expectorant and bronchodilatory plant, Agaru extensively helps in removing excessive dryness and gradually helps in expelling mucus out of the respiratory tract.
Remedies Pain And Inflammation
Imbued with potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties of the bio-active components, Agaru offers relief from pain and inflammation, thereby reducing the chances of chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases like joint pain gout, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis which occur due to the vitiation of Vata Doshas. Famed as a natural vasodilator, it also treats painful muscle spasms, sore muscles, arthritic conditions, and other inflammatory woes.
Applying a paste of Agaru powder or a massage with Agaru oil by diluting it with coconut oil helps to reduce joint pain.
Augments Skin Health
Blessed with antioxidant properties, Agaru plays a pivotal role in shielding the skin from radical oxidative damage due to the harmful UVA and UVB rays, and hence reduces the risk of the various signs of aging like dark circles, wrinkles, spots, fine lines, blemishes, etc. Its powerful anti-inflammatory properties also reduce allergic conditions like acne, pimples, and zits and offer smooth and radiant skin.
Agaru is extremely crucial for patients suffering from a loss of appetite and eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia, pre-existing chronic debilitating disorders, and during convalescence from an acute or chronic infective disorder. According to Ayurveda, loss of appetite usually occurs due to weak digestion or Agnimandya. Regular intake of this herb acts as a natural appetizer and aids in the digestion of food and improves appetite and helps the person eat better.
Agaru Effect On Doshas
Agaru is sanctified with Katu Rasa (i.e., pungent taste) and Tikta Rasa (i.e., bitter taste). It showcases Laghu (i.e., light), Tikshno (i.e., sharp), and Rukshna Guna (i.e., dry quality). It intrinsically portrays Ushna Virya (i.e., hot potency) and Katu Vipaka (i.e., pungent metabolic taste). Owing to the qualities, it pacifies the Vata (i.e., air) Doshas and Kapha (i.e., water and earth) Dosha, whereas an excess of it can aggravate the Pitta (i.e., fire and water) Doshas. However, it can often lead to an aggravation of the levels. Owing to the intrinsic properties and doshas, the herb has a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e., body tissues), which are Rasa (i.e., Plasma), Rakta (i.e., blood), Mamsa (i.e., Muscles), Asthi (i.e., Bones) and Shukra (i.e., Reproductive Fluids).
The exact therapeutic dosage of the aromatic wood may vary from person to person depending upon the age, body strength, effects on appetite, severity, and condition of the patient. It is strictly advised to consult an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner as they would analyse the patient’s indications and prescribe an effective dose for a specific period.
Agaru Side Effects
Agaru is extremely beneficial and reports no side effects when taken topically or orally in recommended doses. But in case it is taken in excess, it might cause a feeling of excess heat in the body or hyperacidity.
Since there are no scientific studies or evidence of the usage of Agaru in pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, it should not be taken without prior consultation of the treating doctor during pregnancy and lactation period. The same goes for the people suffering from diabetes and heart ailments, to take it orally only after a doctor’s recommendation.
Since time immemorial, Agaru has been used for herbal remedies and for concocting ayurvedic formulations. It is a traditional ayurvedic remedy that holds high significance in treating umpteen health problems, including cough and cold, bronchitis, digestive woes, arthritis, gout, loss of appetite, and skin issues. Imbued with potent therapeutic qualities, seek benefit from this powerful fragrance wood with proper doctor recommendations.