Oud, also known as agarwood, oodh, agar, aloeswood or lign-aloes, is a dark resinous heartwood that is formed in Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees, native to southeast Asia. The trees are injected with microbes to induce the wood to produce antibodies, this is known as the inoculation process. Before inoculation, the heartwood is odourless, light and pale in colour. Oud is valued in many cultures for its characteristic fragrance, and is used for incense and perfumes.
Benefits of Oud
The benefits of oud range from spiritual, therapeutic to medicinal.
In different cultures, Oud is used for meditation, as incense, pain-reliever, perfume, and for common upper respiratory tract infection relief.
When used as a massage oil; Oud soothes the body, removes toxic and negative energies, reinforces awareness, reduces fear, brings about a feeling of vigour and harmony, and boosts mental functionality.
As a perfume base, Oud has picked up traction among international brands such as Penhaligon’s, Gucci and Jo Malone to name a few. Its rich, sweet and woody scent lends a sensual quality to the perfume.
History of Oud
Prophet Muhammad, the Holy Prophet, made known that oud is a distinct item of Paradise in his saying, “The first group of people who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like the full moon and those who will follow them, will glitter like the most brilliant star in the sky. They will not urinate, relieve nature, spit, or have any nasal secretions. Their combs will be of gold, and their sweat will smell like musk. The aloes-wood (oud) will be used in their centers..”. To this day, the culture of fumigation with oud continues in the Islamic world.
In the bible, the Song of Songs describes King Solomon as “coming up from the desert like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense” and there are numerous references throughout this book of the Old Testament to “every kind of incense tree” which is believed to be Oud. The bible mentioned several citations of Aloes (Oud), including a text in which Jesus is said to have been perfumed with Oud.
In the history of China, the extremely wealthy Chinese used to make their coffins out of oud wood. While in Buddhism, the most precious Buddhist string of beads numbering to 108 is made of oud. Legend tells of a monk’s sacrificing spirit in which he grinds one of his oud beads into powder whenever he met the sick or wounded in order to cure them with it, which resulted with even the most seriously wounded person getting well.
Record shows us of the extremely luxurious habits of King Louis XIV of France, who had the practice of washing his clothes in rose water in which oud had been previously boiled. Oud also has been associated with the Chinese tradition of Fengshui, a discipline of governing the flow of energy in a particular place, and the Oud wood has been correlated with producing good luck and positive energy wherever it is placed.
In China’s medical book 《本草纲目》: a Chinese materia medica work written by Li Shizhen during the Ming dynasty, also mentioned oud’s benefits in healing internal organ.