Sunday, June 24, 2007

AQUILARIA AGALLOCHA

Botanical Name: Aquilaria agallochaCommon Name: Agar Wood, Aloes wood, Jinko, Oud, Agaru, Garu,Eagle Wood, Agila Wood, Chin-heang, Gaharu, Alambac, Calambour,Gaharu, Karas, Kekeras, Kepang, etc.Family: ThymelaeaceaeCultivars: A. malaccensis, A. beccariana, A. crassna, A. cumingiana, A.hirta, A. microcarpa, A. sinensis, A. rostrata, A. khasiana, A.subintegra, A. grandiflora, etcOrigin: SE-AsiaDistribution: India, Burma, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia.Habitat: Primary or secondary forests on hill slopes or low lands, atlow or medium altitudes, and also in marginal soils near swamps.Habit: Evergreen Tree (18-20 mt height, 1.5-2.5 mt girth)Duration: Perennial (>80 years)Leaf: Long, coriaceous, elliptic or lanceolateFlower: White, green, or yellowish green scented flowers borne inapical or axillary, sessile or sub-sessile, umbels.Flowering Season: July-August and March-AprilFruit: Green, oval, capsule with leathery coat and fine hairs, enclosingtwo black seeds.Sunlight: FullWater Requirement: ModerateSoil Texture: Rocky or sandySoil pH: AcidicSalinity Tolerance: HighPropagation: Seed, root cuttings, air layering, tissue culture.Cultural Practices: Trees after being infected with a fungus - Phialophora parasitica (Ascomycetes) produce scented oleo-resin inthe heartwood of stems and roots. This can be noticed from trees ofabout 20 to 80 year old trees. The best wood is expected from 50year old tree. The presence of agar can be detected generallyby studying symptoms like poor tree crown development, swellings,depressions, or cankers on tree trunks. The formation of oleo-resincan be induced by artificial inoculation of fungus or by wounding treetrunks to get second grade agar wood.Economic Part: Bark, heartwood from stems & roots. Wood withoutresin is white, light and soft, while wood with resin is hard, dark andheavy.Crop Yield: About 6 to 9 kg of agar wood yield can be expectedfrom 80 year old tree.Chemistry: Agarwood contains more than 12 chemical componentsthat can be extracted. 3,4-dihydroxy-dihydroagarofuran,4-hydroxydihydroagarofuran, agarol, agarospirol, agarotetrol, alpha-agarofuran, aquillochin, benzylacetone, beta-agarofuran,dihydroagarofuran, dihydroxyagarofuran, gmelofuran, liriodenine,norketoagarofuran, noroxoagarofuran,oxo-nor-agarofuran, p-methoxybenzylacetone, p-methoxycinnamic-acid, oleoresinEconomic Value:

Agar wood gained great cultural and religious significance in ancient
civilizations around the world.

Agar wood is classified as Black Agar Wood (Grade-1), Brown Agar
Wood (Grade-2), Brownish Yellow Agar Wood (Grade-3) and Yellow Agar Wood (Grade-4).

Agar wood is used as a raw material in perfume and incense making

Natural carvings can be made from it by cutting out the wood
portion into special artistic shapes.

Agar wood bark was used as sachpat, a writing material immune to
insect attack used in writing religious scriptures.

Wood with or withour resin content has been used for boxes,
musical instruments, interior or veneer, etc.

The inner fibrous bark is used as a raw material for clothing, belts
and ropes.

This can be used as an anti-biotic preservative. It is the best
preservative in making high quality perfumes.

It was one the most important ingredients used in Egyptian
mummifications.

It can be dusted on clothes and skin as a repellant against fleas
and lice.

It has been used in painting formal attire of palaces in China and
Korea.

Agar is said to relieve general pain, dental pain, to check vomiting,
as a venom repellent, and also as a medicine for kidney disorders and rheumatism.

Agar wood has been used to enhance cerebral function, balancing of
mind - body coordination through nervous system.

In 1995 Aquilaria malaccensis (primary source of agar wood) was
listed in Appendix II of "Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora" by the Convention on International Trade. However, in 2004 all other species of Aquilaria were listed in Appendix II.Caution: People with allergies should apply caution when using agarwood smoke or perfume.

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