Known as the “wood of the Gods” and the “black gold”, Oud is one of the most mysterious and precious raw substance used in the majority of Middle-Eastern Homes. From having its incense placed in every corner of our houses, to using its oil on our bodies and its fragrance on our bed sheets, this powerful and magickal scent is part of our culture and of our daily lives.
The history of Oud goes back to ancient times, where it was known in civilizations such as the Chinese, Pharaonic and Assyrian before it reached the Arab civilization through the silk road. The earliest recorded information was found in 1400 B.C.E. While it was mostly used for spiritual purposes -meditation specifically-, through the years, people discovered other ways of using it, from medicinal to perfumery.
So, what is Oud exactly? It is a substance – a very rare substance – that is extracted from the Aquilaria tree. The Phialophora parasitica mold causes damage to the tree, which then creates a thick, dark substance to defend itself. Oud originated from this priceless, aromatic, black resin that was later discovered in the heartwood of agar. High-quality oud is produced by dedicated artisans utilizing techniques that have been handed down through the generations: the resin in the heartwood hardens with time. The softwood is separated after being soaked in water and either distilled into oud oil or utilized as wood chips for burning. After that, the oil is dried outside in the sun to remove any remaining moisture. The reason why it is incredibly rare is because the fungus only affects one of ten trees. Additionally, it is extremely challenging to replicate the procedure with human assistance, thus making it an expensive commodity, costing more per pound than gold.
Ancient texts laud the benefits of oud’s healing abilities. Folklore from ancient Eastern cultures that dates back thousands of years contains celebrations of its smell. And over the past ten years, both Europeans and Americans have embraced oud, both for its alluring and addicting aroma as well as for its healing and rejuvenating skin care benefits.
Here is a list of some of the magickal benefits of this much loved and cherished substance:
- To deal with irregular menstrual cycles.
- Aphrodisiac to improve sexual libido.
- Used to treat gastric complications.
- Oud is widely used in meditation to improve peace and tranquility.
- As a natural sedative: to promote healthy sleeping habits and to reduce stress.
- For the treatment of the digestive system and related ailments.
- As an analgesic for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and for the treatment of conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis.
- Other properties praised from the use of oud oil include relieving itching, as a stimulant, as a diuretic, as a muscle relaxant, and to fight fever.
- Research is also being carried out to understand the antidepressant effects of oud.
- Oud retains moisture and provides intensive moisture and gives lifeless skin tissue its radiance. An oud-based moisturizer used daily will improve the condition of dry skin.
- The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties of Oud protect the skin from pathogenic microbes, reduce the appearance of pimples, and prevent other skin conditions. Oud has also been recommended for treating skin ulcers.
- Used to relieve symptoms of asthma and other lung diseases.
A small tip to the readers: Be careful not to buy any oud or oils infused with oud from any seller. The majority are fake and give a terrible after scent. The most secured ones would be from Arab sellers.
Amara, a practicing Eclectic Phoenician Witch, is a content writer, vocal coach, opera singer, and killer storyteller with a B.A in Musimedialogy, a Master’s in Vocal Studies and the ability to communicate in three languages (English, French, Arabic) as a Native and a tad of Italian.
Born in Beirut-Lebanon to a monotheistic family, and growing up between the Middle-East and Europe, she always felt a strong and deep connection to her ancestry: the Phoenicians, also known as the Canaanites. Although her given birth name is Christine Fakhoury, she adopted the name Amara Willow at the age of twelve and fully devoted herself in the Craft and her spiritual practices.
Some fun facts about her: every morning she opens a Tarot card to see how her day is going to pass, she and her mum must have their 4 PM Arabic coffee together while gossiping then off-course reading their cups together, she is addicted to Charles Dickens, intense impressionism art, Al Bowlly, the 1920’s and bloody Marys.