Agilawood is considered to be the diamond or king of all the incense components, since it is not always available. As agilawood gets damaged, it creates resin to cover its wounds and protect itself. Meanwhile, the wounds can get infected by the fungi and then turn into paste-like lumps that contain resin, aetherolea, wood, and other ingredients.
However, if a living agilawood tree gets chopped, damaged in a storm, bitten by insects, or its branches get broken and fall off, there can be some fragrant lumps or holes. On the other hand, after an agilawood tree dies, its root and trunk may fall down on the soil or be buried in the soil. Throughout the years, the wind, rain, and sunshine altogether can decompose the tree and turn it into oily lumps. Some fragrant trees can live up to hundreds of years and their lumps can be even more energetic!
Agilawood has very high medicinal values. According to Compendium of Materia Medica and other related documents, agilawood has been found to be beneficial to males’ reproductive system, kidneys, spleen as well as heart, and furthermore, agilawood can help regulate the functions of our body parts and subsequently make our Chi or energy smooth. If the agilawood you chew tastes sweet and smells good, then it has a neutral property. If the agilawood tastes spicy, then it has a hot property. Agilawood is regarded as a very precious and commonly-used medicinal material.
Agilawood has more than two hundreds kinds of fragrant components, so it smells very unique. It can smell quite different in the beginning, middle, and end of the burning process. Many people enjoy and collect agilawood, for the scent of agilawood is pure, stabilizing, elegant, tender, and pleasant. Lots of people feel composed and peaceful when smelling it, and thus they calm down themselves with agilawood during meditation.
Agilawood is truly rare, so the artifacts or accessories made of it are seen as a token of literacy and wealth. Good-quality agilawood is worth collecting. A learned literate in the Song Dynasty once mentioned in his writing that a piece of great agilawood cost an arm and a leg. That is to say, agilawood has been an exceedingly valuable incense material since the Song Dynasty.
Currently, high-quality agilawood costs tens of thousands of dollars each gram, which is not affordable to most people. A great thinker, Zhuangzi, remarked that the value of something depends on the angle at which you judge the specific object. As a matter of fact, all the creations are equal; it’s just that humans tend to discriminate the creations based on their binary concepts. If someone shows off himself with the agilawood he owns or simply judges the value of agilawood by its price tag, the mentality is really wrong.