Agarwood Oil: Properties, Benefits and Uses

Ever heard of agarwood oil or oud? It’s an incredibly rare essential oil that’s more expensive than gold!

Here’s why. When rare agarwood trees are infected with a certain type of mold, it forms a resin deep within the tree. Only when the tree is cut and the heartwood processed, the thick, aromatic resin can be extracted. Processing the resin gives us agarwood oil.

That takes some work from infection to processing, which is why the oil is so rare. There are also issues of conservation of the trees and sustainability of the oud extraction business. But I won’t get into that here.
Agarwood Oil

Agarwood Oil Properties

Botanical name: Aquilaria crassna.

Common names: Oud, oudh and aloewood are common names for agarwood.

Color: Dark brown.

Smell: Leathery, woody, and slightly animal-like. It isn’t pleasant for everyone but many use it in men’s cologne.

Compounds in the oil:
Aromadendrane, beta-agarofuran, alpha-agarofuran, 10-epi-gamma-eudesmol and gamma-eudesmol have been reported in the oil.

Agarwood Oil Benefits

Eastern cultures have used agarwood oil for centuries. It’s been used for coughs, colds, rheumatism, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and cirrhosis of the liver. The oil is believed to be an aphrodisiac and has been used in religious settings.

But I’ve found studies that show agarwood oil has sedative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer potential. Amazing right?

Here’s more on these agarwood oil benefits.

It can help you sleep

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A 2008 Kyoto University study found agarwood and spikenard had sedative benefits on mice. In fact, simply inhaling the vapors made the mice less alert and sleepy.

A more recent study from 2017 explored the oil’s sedative and hypnotic effects on the mice. So if you’re having trouble relaxing or sleeping, try inhaling some oud!

It is anti-inflammatory

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A 2013 article proved the oil was effective for treating inflammation in animals. This makes sense considering the oil was used as a muscle rub for centuries.

So if you have skin redness, swelling, muscle cramps, pain, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, have a go at agarwood. If you can afford it, of course, remember it’s more expensive than gold! Heh! If not, you can use eucalyptus or peppermint oils for your achey muscles and joints.

It has cancer fighting potential

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There are a couple lab and animal studies that looked at the anti-cancer activity of the oil.

This 2016 Malaysian study noted the oil is antioxidant and anticancer to colorectal and pancreatic cancer cells. It worked by inhibiting the growth of the tumor cells.

A 2014 study found the oil killed and inhibited breast cancer cells too.

But … yes, there’s a but.

I have to give this disclaimer every time.

The studies I mention here are in vitro and in vivo ones only. There are no clinical trials to support using agarwood oil for treating cancer in humans. So be responsible with cancer diagnoses and follow the advice of health professionals (not essential oils sales reps).

Get Agarwood Oil:
Edens Garden Agarwood Oil

Agarwood Oil Uses

I said this before. The smell of agarwood is not for everyone. It’s woody, earthy, and leathery. It can smell like a barn. I know. It’s a little weird. It takes some time to get use to. But it’s calming, anti-inflammatory, and may be an aphrodisiac. So give it a chance … if you could foot its bill.

You can diffuse two drops for better sleep. Blend it with other sleep-inducing oils like lavender and roman chamomile.

If you want to use the oil on your skin, patch test first. Please! I can’t stress that enough. Once you are not allergic, mix with a carrier oil before applying it to your skin.

Add two drops of the oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil. This makes a great muscle rub blend. And it’ll definitely soothe your symptoms.

The oil is awesome! But talk to your doctor before you use it; especially if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, taking medication or suffering for a serious medical condition. Safety first!

What’s your agarwood story? Share it in the comments below.

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