What's Agarwood and its other names?

Basically, agarwood, sometimes also known as aloeswood, eaglewood, is a fragrant dark resinous wood formed in the heartwood of Aquilaria trees. When the Aquilaria trees become infected with a type of mold through the damages from storm or other forces, the infection will progress and the tree produces dark aromatic resins, that is Agar. It is like a scar on human skin but on Aquilaria trees

Different formation of agarwood will produce different aroma. There are two common ways: Red soil, where Aquilaria trees damaged, infected and aging under the red soil; Wild insect, where the damaged Aquilaria trees' wooden parts eaten by wild insect and leave the agar continue to age.

Agarwood has very high value on medication, but it's often used in incense, perfume, and small carvings. First-grade agarwood is one of the most expensive natural raw materials in the world due to its rarity and long aging progress. However, due to its high popularity, lots of Asian countries had started human plantations recent years to avoid further damages to wild resource in Asian tropical zones.

Agarwood is known under many names in different cultures:

  • Another name is Lignum aloes or Aloeswood, unrelated to the familiar genus, Aloe. Also from aghil, via Hebrew and Greek.
  • In Assamese it is called as "xasi" (সাঁচি).
  • In Bengali, agarwood is known as "agor gach/gas (আগর গাছ)" and the agarwood oil as "agor ator (আগর আতর)".
  • In Odia, it is called as "agara" (ଅଗର).
  • In Cambodia, it is called "chann crassna". The fragrance from this wood is called "khloem chann" (ខ្លឹមចាន់) or "khloem chann crassna". "khloem" is hard wood, "chann crassna" is the tree species Aquilaria crassna in the Khmer language.
  • In Hindi, it is known as agar, which is derived originally from the Sanskrit aguru.
  • In Sinhala Agarwood producing Gyrinops walla tree is known as "Walla Patta" (වල්ල පට්ට).
  • In Tamil it is called "aghil" (அகில்) though what was referred in ancient Tamil literature could well be Excoecaria agallocha.
  • In Telugu and Kannada, it is known by the same Sanskrit name as Aguru.
  • It is known as Chénxiāng (沉香) in Chinese, Chimhyang (침향) in Korean and Jinkō (沈香) in Japanese; all meaning "deep scent" and alluding to its intense scent. In Japan, there are several grades of Jinkō, the highest of which is known as Kyara (伽羅).
  • In Tibetan it is known as ཨ་ག་རུ་ (a-ga-ru). There are several varieties used in Tibetan Medicine: unique eaglewood: yellow eaglewood: ཨ་ག་རུ་སེར་པོ་ (a-ga-ru ser-po), white eaglewood: ཨར་སྐྱ་ (ar-skya), and black eaglewood: ཨར་ནག་(ar-nag).
  • Both agarwood and its resin distillate/extracts are known as oud (عود) in Arabic (literally "rod/stick") and used to describe agarwood in Arab countries. Western perfumers also often use agarwood essential oil under the name "oud" or "oudh".
  • In Europe it was referred to as Lignum aquila (eagle-wood) or Agilawood, from similarity to Tamil-Malayalam aghil'
  • In Indonesian and Malay, it is called "gaharu".
  • In Papua New Guinea it is called "ghara" or eagle wood.[citation needed]
  • In Thai it is known as mai kritsana (ไม้กฤษณา).
  • In Laos it is known as mai ketsana (ໄມ້ເກດສະໜາ).
  • In Myanmar (Burmese), it is known as Thit Mhwae (သစ်မွှေး).
  • In Vietnamese, it is known as trầm hương. In Vietnam, ancient texts also refer to the use of agarwood in relation to travelling Buddhist monks.