Agarwood has a long history among various cultures in Asia and Europe. Its healing properties were well known for centuries. Continue reading to find out how Oud has impacted cultures across history.
One of the earliest mentions of Agarwood in History is in the Susruta Samhita, an ayurvedic text that was written somewhere between the 1st Millenium BCE to the 6th Century CE. Though the time it was written may be contested by historians, it is still one of the oldest instances of Agarwood being mentioned in history. Ayurvedic medicine still uses Agarwood till this day with it being used in managing ear, nose, throat and respiratory conditions in Ayurvedic practices.
Pedanius Dioscerides wrote about Agarwood in 65CE in his book called “Materia Medica”. This book is a five-volume book written in native Greek, Περὶ ὕλης ἰατρικῆς. It was widely used for more than 1,500 years and served as the foundation for many herbological and pharmacological beliefs. In this book, Dioscerides described several medicinal qualities of Agarwood (Known as Áγαλλοχου). It was described for its use as incense and to cleanse the mouth. Agarwood root extract is also described treat stomach complaints and dysentery as well as pains of the lungs and liver.
Soon, Oud found its way into China with one of the earliest mentions of Agarwood being in “Nan zhou yi wu zhi” (Strange things from the South) that was written by Wa Zhen of the Eastern Wu Dynasty in the 3rd Century CE. This book wrote about Agarwood found in the Rinan commandery which is now known as Central Vietnam.
During the sixth century CE in Japan, Agarwood was mentioned in the recordings of the Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan) the second oldest book of classical Japanese history. The source for this piece of wood is claimed to be from Pursat, Cambodia. The last time it was publicly shown was in 2019, within a special exhibition celebrating the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, eight years after it’s previous display at the Nara National Museum.
Beyond the historical context, Agarwood is present in many religous texts such as the Christian Bible, the Quran and various Hindu texts. Given the historical and cultural significance of Agarwood, it can clearly be seen that Agarwood has significant historical value that justifies its valuation of up to USD 35,000 per Kilogram!
Wellwoud continues the tradition of studying the medicinal benefits of Agarwood and formulates blends based on this storied history of the fragrant wood. We believe that there is some truth in ancient mysticism and cultural beliefs that can brought forward to the future through the study of science. Agarwood is a healing gift from the past that will be used to heal the future!