Common name: agarwood, oudh, agalocha Plant family: Thymelaeceae Genus: Aquilaria Species: There are about 15 species of the genus Aquilaria Agarwood is considered to be the most expensive wood in the world. There are many names for the resinous, fragrant heartwood produced primarily by trees of the genus Aquilaria. Most often, the resin is known as agarwood, aloewood, eaglewood, gaharu, agalocha or oudh in Arabic. Aquilaria crassna from freeland. org Critically Endangered The ability of surviving trees to grow and reproduce is dramatically reduced. Agarwood has been used for centuries to make high quality incense. The Chinese describe its scent as a sweet, deep but balanced scent and use it in religious and festive celebrations, as do the Arabs, Indians and Japanese. Agarwood is also part of many traditional pharmacopoeias, dating back to medieval times, and Chinese doctors still prescribe it for colds and digestion problems. The oil extracted from agarwood is used in Arab countries as a perfume. Agarwood is a resinous heartwood found in trees belonging to the species Aquilaria, Aetoxylon A. symeatalum and Gonystylus genus of the Thymelaeceae family. However, species in the genus Aquilaria are mainly known for producing agarwood, it is a fast growing evergreen tree. Young trees of Aquilaria crassna. 4 weeks after germination, 4 inches tall by rwsphoto Agarwood or oudh is formed as a reaction to fungal or bacterial attack. Trees are occasionally infected with a parasitic mold and secrete a fragrant protective oil in injured areas roots, branches or sections of the trunk, which gradually becomes harder and dark brown to black. The heartwood central part of a tree, darker in color than sapwood is relatively light and pale in color before infection. Normally, harvesters would cut only the infected parts in the hope that the tree would produce more of this softwood. Aquilaria tree showing the darker infected part - agarwood by lamcs52 Aquilaria species that produce agarwood are found throughout Asia, while being naturally occurring in South and Southeast Asia. The Indian subcontinent has been the main source of agarwood for many centuries, but as trees became scarce in the mid-20th century, extraction intensified in Indochina. Later it was extended to Indonesia and Malaysia. Today, agarwood plantations exist in a number of countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and Vietnam. Aquilaria with darker agarwood by lamcs52 It can grow on a wide range of soils, including poor sandy soils. Seedlings of most species establish best in shady, moist conditions, but large mature trees sometimes emerge in the forest and can withstand full sun. Some species grow on steep, rocky, exposed slopes and in areas that experience a hot, dry season. The trees reach 6-20 m high. The leaves are alternate, 5-11 cm long and 2-4 cm wide, with a short acuminate apex and an entire margin. The flowers are yellowish green, produced in an umbel, and the fruit is a woody capsule 2. 5 to 3 cm long. At least fifteen species of Aquilaria trees are known to produce agarwood. Here are the species that produce agarwood: Wikipedia Aquilaria khasiana, found in India Aquilaria apiculina, found in the Philippines Aquilaria baillonil, found in Thailand and Cambodia Aquilaria baneonsis, found in Vietnam Aquilaria beccarain, found in Indonesia Aquilaria brachyantha, found in Malaysia Aquilaria crassna, found in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam Aquilaria cumingiana, found in Indonesia and Malaysia Aquilaria filaria, found in China Aquilaria grandiflora, found in China Aquilaria hilata, found in Indonesia and Malaysia Aquilaria malaccensis, found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and India Aquilaria microcapa, found in Indonesia and Malaysia Aquilaria rostrata, found in Malaysia Aquilaria sinensis, found in China Aquilaria subintegra, found in Thailand Aquillaria Malacenensis is considered the queen of the Indonesian oudh. This tree can grow to about 40 m or 131. 23 ft in height with a diameter of 80 cm. It is the best producer of agarwood resin and oil in Indonesia. Agarwood is exported in various forms wood chips, powder, oil, and as finished products such as perfumes, incense, and medicines, and the main importers are countries in the Middle and Far East, especially the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia where agarwood is known as oudh, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. EXTRACTION METHOD There are three methods of distilling agarwood oil, namely hydro-distillation, steam distillation and super critical CO2 extraction. However, the most common distillation methods are hydrodistillation and steam distillation. Another thing that has its mark on the distillation of oil is the age of the tree. Older trees have a higher resin content, and just like wine, old resin improves with age. Speaking of grading of agarwood oil, the best quality oil comes from the first distillation and after that the wood undergoes a second distillation and hence it is graded according to the number of times that it is cooked. Oil from steam distillation is said to lack the three-dimensional smoke quality that comes from hydrodistilled oil. In both methods, after the oil is distilled, it is filtered, put in the sun, and aged for a period of time. The older the oil, the better it will smell. When should synthetic substitutes be developed? The development of synthetic substitutes usually occurs when sustainable supplies of the natural product are not available and are expensive at the same time. As agarwood cannot be synthesized, chemical substitutes are already available for perfume. These are inexpensive and are the less profitable end of the market. Moreover, these products do not even come close to imitating the natural product. The main chemical components responsible for the characteristic odor of agarwood products, sesquiterpenes, can in principle be synthesized. However, these are very complicated structures which will be extremely expensive to synthesize, which makes them completely unattractive commercially. So, the major difference between oudh oil and synthetic oudh scent can be easily distinguished. The oudh has a heavenly, woody and balsamic smell and surrounds a warm aura of woody and bitter sweet undertones, while the synthetic oudh smells of woody, leathery and lacks that warm balsmic aura. WHY IS AGAR WOOD EXPENSIVE? The low yield of the plant material and a typical labor-intensive extraction process are all reasons for the high cost of agarwood oil. Low quality softwood is used for oil production, normally requiring a minimum of 20 kg to produce 12 ml of oil.