History of Gaharu
Agarwood, Gaharu, Chen Xiang or Oudh is the most precious and expensive wood presently in existence. Also known as “Nature’s Treasure” and the “Wood of Gods” due to the numerous uses and benefits each tree provides. The use of this treasured wood is dated as early as 600 AD and it is even mentioned in the Bible as “Aloeswood”.
Agarwood is formed when an Aquilaria tree gets infected by a certain type of fungus. This dark, aromatic resinous heartwood is then known as “Agarwood or Gaharu” and is highly valued for its distinctive fragrance used for incense and perfumes.
A kilogram of unprocessed “Gaharu” heartwood can fetch as much as RM 10,000 per kilogram. Distilled “Gaharu” essential oil can command up to RM 100,000 per kilogram and the price is expected to rise due to increasing international demand.
This prized wood can only be found in the South East Asia Region and each region produces a different species of wood which are all highly sought after by the Middle East, China, Taiwan and Japan. Currently, Annual Gaharu exports from Malaysia amounts to RM72 Million a year.
Due to the high value and demand for Agarwood, there have been many reported cases of robbery and theft in the wild.
Agarwood is currently considered an endangered species and it is cited by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna); which was founded by the United Nations to protect endangered wild animals and plants.
Currently, only sustainable plantations with CITES approval can trade Agarwood products in the international market.