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Get To Know Agarwood

Historical Development
Past - Treasured by Nobility
Based on the earliest documented records, agarwood should have entered the lives of the royal nobility starting from the Han Dynasty. Incense was used in the rituals of worshiping the gods of ancestral temples, heaven, earth, mountains, rivers, and spirits, and this practice likely began in the early tribal societies. However, it was during these religious rituals that the presence of agarwood in incense started to emerge.

The practice of indoor incense burning dates back as early as 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. During the Warring States period, the use of indoor incense became even more widespread, with indoor braziers serving purposes such as worship, lighting, and heating, in addition to burning incense indoors. As time passed, and through a long process of cultural evolution, it wasn't until the appearance of the Western Han Dynasty's "Bo Shan Lu" (Bo Mountain Stove) on the stage of incense culture history that specialized incense burners designed exclusively for incense gradually became part of the daily household items of the royal and noble class.
What is Agarwood?
Agarwood is a product of certain trees in the Aquilaria genus. When these trees experience natural damage, they release resin. This resin solidifies into agarwood when combined with wood and exposed to fungi. This process, known as "scenting," results in agarwood, and the severity of the damage and infection influences its resin content and fragrance. Some agarwood parts can even sink in water, hence the name "agarwood" from "agar," meaning "sink" in some languages.
The Market Value of Agarwood
Why is Agarwood Tree a Valuable Asset?
  • The global agarwood market exceeds $10 billion annually, yet current supply meets only 30% of demand.
  • Demand spans various markets, from traditional to innovative, including cultural, health, and daily products. With ongoing innovation, market demand is projected to grow tenfold in the next decade.
Current Traditional
Agarwood Market Demand
  • Mainland China imports over 90% of its agarwood, with an annual need of thousands of tons.
  • Taiwan's major incense manufacturer imports at least 100 containers annually, totaling 5,000 tons.
  • Significant markets exist in the Middle East, India, and Europe's perfumery industry.
  • The European perfume base ingredient, agarwood oil.
  • Agarwood is used in Chinese rituals, traditional medicine, tobacco, and alcohol.
  • It's a vital component in Japanese Kampo medicine.
  • Agarwood finds applications in feng shui, collectibles, fragrances, and wellness.
  • Demand comes from the practices of the world's major religions.
The agarwood essential oil market is divided into segments: cosmetics, perfumery, and therapeutic applications.

Cosmetics and personal care are the largest segments, driven by growing health and skincare awareness among consumers. Agarwood is often referred to as "liquid gold" due to its high cost, and its rarity comes from specific aged agarwood trees containing this resin, making it a luxurious extract used in cosmetics globally.