A Journey into The World of Oud

Part Eleven

The Medicinal Properties of Agarwood oil

While the Internet abounds with websites that claim that Oud is a panacea that can cure a huge number of medical conditions, there are trustworthy sources of the medicinal properties of Agarwood oil that I much prefer to focus upon.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Materia Medica

by Bensky and Gamble

This tome is a trusted reference in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). It's 700+ pages cover a large number of Chinese herbs, and include references to research studies confirming their bioactivity.

In TCM, Agarwood is called Chen Xiang. Agarwood "moves the Qi" and is therefore valuable for certain Stagnant Qi conditions. It provides relief from pain, pressure, and distension of the epigastric or abdominal regions.

It also aids the Kidneys in "grasping the Qi" (to help with asthma and wheezing); and for other treatments it "reverses rebellious Qi", directing the Qi downward (and is therefore good for hiccups, vomiting, etc.).

Research cited in the book shows that Agarwood has very potent antimicrobial effects, and has been proven to inhibit the growth of both Shigella and Tuberculosis.

A Story of Agarwood's Phenomenal Antibiotic Properties

A couple I know love to travel.

The wife, every few years, gets eye infections that often require a protracted regimen of antibiotics.

The husband has poor circulation in his legs due to a medical condition.

They were travelling in a remote area when he got a serious infection in his leg, and she started getting one of her eye infections, and there were no medical facilities anywhere nearby.

The wife had happened to place in her pack some low-grade Oud, and intuited that she should use it for both conditions. Much to her (and his) surprise, the Oud wiped out both infections quickly and easily.


(Note: Don't try this yourself without the guidance of a medical professional.)

In Chinese medicine, the Oud-containing Aquilaria bark is ground up and added to preparations, not the distilled oil.

Agarwood is present in many traditional Chinese formulas, and has been used medicinally in China for over a thousand years.


Ayurveda & Aromatherapy

by Drs. L and B Miller

This is one of my favorite aromatherapy books, in part because it explores a huge number of essential oils, and also because it shows the effects each oil has on different body types.

(Unlike Western aromatherapy, which ignores differences in physiological makeup, both the Chinese and Indian schools of medicine recognize the vital importance of the dictum "One man's meat is another man's poison." In other words, treatments have to be tailored to the specific person and their temperament.)

In Ayurveda, there are three constitutional types, called Doshas. Their names are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata is "Wind", Pitta is "Fire" and Kapha is "Water/Earth".

Agarwood oil is one of the few oils that is good for all three Doshas. It is warming, balancing, relaxing, rejuvenating, and purifying; and its spiritual effects include fostering transformation and transcendence, and augmenting psychic gifts such as clairvoyance.


Note: As I am neither an Ayurvedic nor TCM practitioner, if you want to use Oud as a medicine, please work with a doctor trained in one of these two approaches.


Postscript: Modern Research on the health benefits of Agarwood

After writing this page, I ran across this article on the anticancer activity of agarwood oil.

With the growth of plantation-grown agarwood, a truly sustainable resource, there will be an increased opportunity to use agarwood for health purposes throughout the World.

Already several purveyors of agarwood leaf tea have cropped up, touting many health benefits just from drinking the tea.

Perhaps Oud will become the next big "health thing".


Second Postscript:
More new articles on the medicinal aspects of Agarwood:

I decided to pursue this topic further online and found these articles to be noteworthy:

1. Are the Medicinal Benefits of Agarwood About to go Mainstream?

This article is promoted by Asia Plantation Capital, championing the recognition of agarwood as medicinal.

2. An insight of pharmacognostic study and phytopharmacology of Aquilaria agallocha

This is a very detailed and rigorous scientific article about the traditional uses of agarwood, the chemical constituents of Oud, and an excellent exploration of all of the major scientific research studies on agarwood's pharmacological properties.

3. Pharmacological properties of agarwood tea derived from Aquilaria (Thymelaeaceae) leaves: An emerging contemporary herbal drink

This is another excellent science paper, again very rigorous, with a very detailed listing of the substances in Oud, and a summary of research studies.


End of Part Eleven


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