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Agaru (Aquilaria agallocha Roxb.)

Benefits of Agaru (Aquilaria agallocha Roxb.) Overview, Medicinal uses, Dosage and Side Effects

Agaru is an evergreen plant and also called a fragrant tree, agarwood, and Aloe wood. It is used to make incense and perfume in the industry but it has a pungent odor and bitter taste. In Ayurveda, it is used in various diseases related to nose, ear, throat, cold, asthma, etc. 

Latin name: Aquilaria agallocha Roxb.

Family: Malvaceae

Agaru Names in different languages:

  • English Name: Agilawood, Agarwood
  • Hindi Name: Agar
  • Gujarathi Name: Agar
  • Telugu Name: Agaru
  • Bengali Name: Agaru
  • Malayalam Name: Akil
  • Tamil Name: Agalichndanam, Aggalichandanam

Other name of Agaru

Agaru, Aloeswood, Oud, Oudh, Agar, Gaharu, Agarwood

Sanskrit Synonyms:

Pravara, Anaryaka, Vamshika, Jongakam, Rajarha, Shresht Vruksha, Vishvaroopakam, Krimijagdha and loha.

Categorization according to classical books:

According to- Acharaya Charak:

  1. Shiro Virechanopaga- Herbs that are useful in Nasya treatment.
  2. Sheeta Prashamana- Herbs that help to relieve moistness and coldness.
  3. Shvasahara- Herbs that treat asthma and bronchitis.

Acharaya Sushruta: 

  1. Sleshmashamana- Groups of herbs that balance Kapha dosha
  2. Salasaradi and Eladi gana

Acharaya Vagbhatta:

  1. Salsaradi and Eladi gana

This shloka means that synonyms of agaru are agaru, pravara, loha, rajarah, yogaja, krimija, krinijgdha, and anareyka. Agaru has hot potency, pungent and bitter taste, treats skin disorders, sharp and increases pitta, light in nature, treats ears as well as eye related disorder, and alleviates vata and kapha dosha.

(Reference: Bhavprakash Nighantu, Page no. 185 and Shloka no. 21-22)

Morphological properties of Agaru

Agaru is a big tree of 60 to 80 feet in height and the stem is 3 to 4 feet in diameter. Its bark is papery thin and in ancient times, it was used for writing. Laves are shiny with leathery texture and a length of 3 inches.

Its flowers are whitish colored and fruits are thin, smooth, and 1 to 2 inches in length. Bark exhibits a pleasant aroma and is useful in fumigation treatment in non-healing ulcers because it sometimes gets infected with a fungus in 7to 8 percent of the whole tree that ultimately turns the color of bark from brown to black.

This infected part produces agarwood oil which is famous in Arabian countries, Japan and China. This fragrance is mainly due to epoxides and sesquiterpenes present in it. It is native to Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur in July and August. In other countries like Myanmar, Malaysia, Bhutan, Sumatra is also found.

Varieties of Agaru

A Variety of kleyaka is mentioned in Dhanvantri Nighantu 

Three types of varieties are also explained by Sodhala Nighantu ie., Agru, Kakatunda Agru, and Krishna Agaru.

Four varieties are gven b Rajanighantu Viz. Kashta Agaru (Yellow), Krishna Agaru (black), Mangalyagaru, Dahagaru.

Based on the color of bark- it has two varieties: Blackish (Krishna Agaru) and it is considered as the superior.

Whitish Agaru (Shveta Agaru)

Main Chemical constituents of Agaru

  • Lignan, Aquillochin, Agarospril, Lignan, Holocellulose, Pentosans, Agarol, Jinkohol, A and B- Agarfurans, Kusunol, Jinkoheremol, Agartetrol, Kusunol, etc.
  • Medicinal Properties (Ras Panchak):
  • Rasa (Taste)- Katu (Pungent) and Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Qualities)- Laghu (Light) and Teekshna (Strong)
  • Veerya (Potency)- Hot
  • Vipaka (undergoes pungent taste after digestion)- Katu
  • Karma (Effect on tridosha)- Balances vata and kapha dosha

Medicinal uses of Agaru

  1. Agaru works as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic
  2. This herb also works as an antimicrobial, sedative, Anti-atherogenic, Carminative, and cardiac stimulant
  3. Other properties are antiasthmatic, anti-diarrheal, Anti-dysentery, anti-thrombotic, and nervine tonic
  4. It is also useful in treating intestinal gas, persistent hiccups, chylous urine, loss of appetite, spasm, body odor, etc.
  5. As per Ayurveda, it is used as Twakdoshahara and Tvachya (skin detoxification).

Therapeutic uses of Agaru

Agaru has the main action of Shruti netrarujahara ie., it is useful in-ear as well as eye-related disorders, gargling, or oil-pulling. Hence, it provides strength to teeth and other sense organs. Because of its fragrance, it is used in the nose, ear, and throat-related disorders and also as an ingredient in dhumpaana (Ayurvedic herbal smoking).

Joint pain:

As per Ayurveda, bones and joints are the sites of Vata dosha in the body, and pain in joints is due to Vata dosha imbalance. Agaru helps to balance Vata dosha and reduces joint pain. Being an effective analgesic and anti-inflammatory, it reduces pain as well as inflammation in the joints.

Cough and cold:

Agaru has a Kapha balancing property which helps in managing cold and cough. This herb has an expectorant action that releases mucus, clears air passages, controls cough, and allows the patient to breathe freely. It also relieves chest congestion, running nose, chest pain, etc.

Loss of appetite:

Agaru helps to increase digestive fire and improves appetite. Loss of appetite is caused due to agnimandya (weak digestion) and an increase in Vata, pitta, and Kapha dosha leads to incomplete digestion of food. This results in improper secretion of gastric juice and leads to loss of appetite. Being a digestive stimulant, it produces digestive enzymes to digest food.

Skin disease:

Agaru has the property to reduce inflammation as well as redness on the skin. As per Ayurveda, it has ropan (haling) action, hence it stops bleeding. This herb also controls the symptoms related to skin diseases like blisters, itchiness, roughness, bleeding, etc.

Sensitivity to cold:

Agaru is the best-known herb as it has a heating effect that destroys cold. Disease like thyroid has a common symptom of cold sensitivity. In Ayurveda, its sheeta prashamnan action destroys cold by its heating action. Applying its paste externally helps to manage cold. It shows very effective results and has been used by our acharayas since ancient times.

Bronchitis:

Poor and unhealthy diet and lifestyle lead to the formation of toxic compounds in the body which get accumulated in the lungs in the form of mucus and result in bronchitis. As an effective antioxidant, it removes harmful free radicals from the body and reduces the damage caused by them. As per Ayurveda, agaru has ushna (hot) and Kapha balancing property.

Conclusion:

It is concluded that Agaru has various medicinal properties and has been used in Ayurveda by our acharyas since ancient times to treat various disorders. But patients who have pitta Prakriti should use it with precaution because it slightly increases pitta dosha. Use in very low quantity in lactating women and children but use in pregnancy without doctor’s advice.

Note: Our purpose is to serve useful information related to Agaru ’s benefits, dosage, and other properties. It is advised to the patients not to consume Agaru on the basis of this information. Before taking Agaru as a medicine it is better to have an expert opinion because dosage and treatment vary from patient to patient depending on their symptoms and medical history.

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About Dr. Ranjana Kaushal

Dr. Ranjana Kaushal (MD Ayurveda) has 8 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda. Right now she is working as an Ayurveda consultant with Life Aveda. She has immense knowledge about herbs, their uses, and formulations. She has published articles related to many herbs and diseases in an international journal. She is also a degree holder in yoga and naturopathy. Read More..

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