Discovering Agarwood: An Introductory Guide

Agarwood bark


If you're here, it's likely you're interested by the world of captivating fragrances and alluring aromas. But have you delved into the fascinating realm of agarwood yet? How much do you really know about this unique and enchanting scent? Buckle up, because in this starter guide we will tell you all there is to know about this fragrant treasure!

What is agarwood?

Agarwood is an intriguing and rare natural resource that has a rich history and cultural significance. This fragrant wood has been very popular for centuries due its therapeutic and relaxing properties. It is also used in spiritual and medicinal practices as well. Without forgetting, of course, its fragrance purposes!

It is made from the bark of trees belonging to the Thymelaeaceous family. These trees are native to southeast Asia countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India. When the tree is damaged or infected with fungi, it produces sap to heal itself. Over time, this sap hardens and turns into resin, which is the source of the resinous wood's unique fragrance.

The quality of the resinous wood varies greatly depending on the species, region, and age of the tree. And its harvesting process is a delicate and complex one.

It takes many years for a tree to mature, and even then, it may not produce resin. In some cases, it can take up to 150 years for a tree to produce high-quality resin. As a result, the dar resin is considered a luxury item and is often used in high-end perfumes and fragrances.

Agarwood and Japanese Incense

In Japanese incense culture, Jinko (Japanese word for agarwood) was classified in the Heian period following the "rikkokugomi" system. This system explained the difference of type of aroma by the origin of aromatic resin, etc. It divided aromatic resins into six countries and five tastes (hence the name). The countries being Kyara, Rakoku, Manaka, Manaban, Sumontara and Sasora, and the five tastes being sweet, bitter, spicy, sour and salty.

The most coveted type was called 'Kyara' or premium agarwood and its prestige has continued until today. Its oil content is higher than that of ordinary types, making it even more rare and coveted. The origin of the word Kyara is tied to the Sanskrit word 'Kaaraaguru,' which means black, and it is also referred to as Kyananko or Kananko.

Fun fact: contrary to what many people think, aloe is not one of the names used to describe agarwood or other fragrant woods in ancient Japan. On the contrary, the word 'aloes', as seen in aloeswood, was used to describe agarwood in old English!

Agarwood bark with Incense holder and a small piece with Agarwood written in Japanese on it


Properties and Ethics of Agarwood

Agarwood has many beneficial properties, including its use in aromatherapy and meditation. Its therapeutic properties can help promote relaxation and calmness, making it a perfect addition to your daily self-care routine. However, it's important to note that overexploitation of agarwood trees has led to its designation as an endangered species. So, when purchasing agarwood products, make sure you're contributing to the preservation of this precious natural resource!

Agarwood in Asayu Japan Incense Sticks

Everyone at Asayu Japan values being ethical and sustainable. That is why we're proud to offer agarwood incense sticks from ethical sources that support local Japanese artisans.

These high-quality incense sticks are perfect for those looking to enhance their meditation ritual or yoga practice in a natural and ethical way.

The carefully crafted sticks are made from the finest agarwood types and are manufactured in workshops on Awaji island (Hyogo prefecture). They provide a sweet and soothing aroma. Just as described many years ago in ancient Japanese texts! Plus, our low-smoke formula ensures a clean and healthy environment while you enjoy the benefits of agarwood's therapeutic properties.

So, there you have it! Now that you know more about agarwood, why not give it a try and experience its fragrant treasure for yourself? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


The Asayu Japan Team


Psst, have a look at our agarwood incense products below. You might find something of interest!

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