Sunday, June 24, 2007

Koh Samui Agarwood

Agarwood "Otto of Roses" at samui
The wood was buried, and over time it developed a beautiful aroma. Natures Value addition It is nothing but a rare fungus that attaches itself to the agar tree that has made agar such a valuable and sought after product.This fungus once it establishes itself on the tree turns the woody trunks into a deep brownish black colour.The darker the woody bark turns due to fungal infection,the more valuable the wood It is the fungus that gives the agar wood its unique aroma,when it is burnt. The oleoresin is usually found where the branches fork out from the stem.Agaru or agarwood is the heavily olereosin impregnated solid chips of wood obtained and processed from the fungus affected part of the trees.Devoid of the fungus, the agar tree in itself has no value. So it is natures value addition to the tree that commands a premium in he market.(Mr.Chaiwat agar farm owner)Agar wood belongs to genus Aqailaria and Thymeleceae family. It is a resinous tree and grows naturally in tropical and sub-tropical forest from few meters to 1000 m above sea level. It is observed to grow best at the altitude of 500 to 600 meter with an annual rain fall of 2000mm and on a wide range of soils, including the poor sandy soil (Blanchette, 2002).
However plantation seedling requires shade and sufficient moisture for optimum growth, but too much shade will have adverse effect on growth of a tree (Blanchette,2002). Agar is a fast growing tree species and start producing flower and seed in four years time. In general, there were five species of Aquilaria that can produce resin (Locally known as Arna). One of the species found in the country is know to be Aqualaria achalloga ( Blanchette 2001), others are Aquilaria grandifolia, Aquilaria chinesis and Aquilariafilaria found in South Asia. In the region, natural Agar wood stand is endangered due to illegal poaching (source, local people).Where is Agar used?The uses of Agar are many.Its aromatic bark popularly known as Agar Batti is used as incense in many a home. Its by-product Agar oil used as a base for Attars and perfumes. The heavy base notes of the Agar oil lends itself to blend well with other essential oils such as rose,ylang ylang ,and jasmine that collectively power the perfume industry,the world over.Some European perfume houses especially seek out Agar oil to create heavier muskierperfume that have enhanced Agars demand and thereby carved a specialniche market for these agar dependant perfumes. Agar Oil also has thereupatic uses as it is used in a large number of Unani and Ayurvedic medicines. Interestingly agar is also used to flavour common and widely used betel nut prepartions such as Pan Parag and and Baba Zarda Join us for a day on the island and learn more about agar wood in rour local farmers.We are very pleased to include a diversity of farms tour, which accurately reflects the composition of organic farms on koh samui endorse a sea views.

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