Chen Xiang – Aquilaria sap – Aloeswood – “Sinking Fragrance” or “Fragrant Dense Herb”

Nature: acrid, bitter, warm

Enters: Spleen, Stomach, Kidney

Actions: Regulates Qi, relieves pain; descends stomach Qi, adjusts the middle Jiao; directs rebellious Qi downward, regulates the middle Jiao; warms the kidneys, aids them in grasping the Qi.

• Blood stasis or cold obstruction (including from deficiency) with Qi stagnation: distention, pain, or a feeling of pressure in the chest, epigastrium, or abdomen.
• Stomach or spleen cold (including from deficiency): rebellious Qi wheezing, vomiting, hiccups, belching.
• Kidney deficiency: asthma, wheezing, cough with difficulty breathing.
• Particularly useful for stagnation in the lower abdomen.
• The true herb is expensive, very aromatic, precious – do not cook it. It is usually powdered and taken directly.
• Powerfully inhibits M. tuberculosis, Shigella.
• Traditionally, this is not just the wood of this tree, but specifically very old wood, and, some say, wood that has been underwater for many years.
Hsu: Antibacterial – for typhoid, dysentery; analgesic, tranquilizing effects.

Dose: 1.5-3g

2 comments on “Chen Xiang – Aquilaria sap – Aloeswood – “Sinking Fragrance” or “Fragrant Dense Herb”

  1. Actually, true agarwood isn’t simply old wood but wood from agarwood trees (in the genuses Aquillaria and also Gyrinops) that is infused with a dense, aromatic resin that is the tree’s defense against pathogens. Only a portion of trees get infected, so only a portion actually develop the actual agarwood. It’s mainly used for incense and distilled for its precious oil, called oud (arabic for wood; the highest grades of sinking-grade wood chips can go for over $1,000 per *gram*–this stuff is heated on special burners a tiny particle at a time and produces an otherworldly fragrance. Even the lower grades of oil routinely costs upwards of $100/gram. unfortunately it’s highly threatened in the wild, with a thriving black market / poaching scene; luckily there are sources for good quality cultivated agarwood from SE asia, mainly.

    • Peter Borten says:

      Yes, thanks for this. I haven’t been here to update these in some years. I have a couple friends who collect oud / oudh and have gifted me some. A little goes a long way.

      I had a teacher in grad school who had a chunk of true chen xiang that she kept in an ornate box and let us pass it around and sniff it – it was treated as a highly precious thing.

      It’s unfortunate to hear about poaching. For visitors: medicinally speaking, this herb is totally replaceable with other qi movers.

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