Agaru (Aquilaria agallocha): A Medicinal Marvel
Basonym of Drug: The medicinal plant known as Agaru is scientifically referred to as Aquilaria agallocha.
Main Synonyms: In Ayurveda, Agaru is known by various synonyms, including:
Regional Name: Agaru is also known by different names in various regional languages. Some common regional names include:
- Hindi: Agar
- Bengali: Agar
- Kannada: Agaru
- Malayalam: Akil
- Marathi: Agar
- Tamil: Akil
- Telugu: Agaru
- Gujarati: Agar
- Punjabi: Agar
Botanical Name: The botanical name of Agaru is Aquilaria agallocha.
Family: Agaru belongs to the Thymelaeaceae family.
Classification of Dravya (Gana) as described in Charak and Sushrut: In the classical Ayurvedic texts of Charak and Sushrut, Agaru is classified as follows:
- Charak: Agaru is categorized under the group of “Udardya,” which means it is beneficial in skin diseases and conditions affecting the dermal layers.
- Sushrut: In Sushrut Samhita, Agaru is classified as a “Gandharvahastighana” drug, indicating its usefulness in treating disorders related to the skin and bones.
External Morphology: Agaru is a medium to large-sized evergreen tree with a height ranging from 6 to 20 meters. The tree possesses a straight trunk and a pyramidal crown. The leaves are alternate, simple, and lanceolate, while the flowers are small, pale yellow, and fragrant. The most significant characteristic of Agaru lies in the formation of a fragrant resinous wood that occurs due to fungal infection.
Useful Parts: The useful parts of Agaru are primarily the heartwood and the resinous oleoresin formed within the wood.
Important Phytoconstituents: Agaru is rich in various phytochemicals, and its heartwood contains essential oils, sesquiterpenes, and phenylpropanoids. The presence of compounds like agarospirol, aquillochinone, and agallochol makes Agaru highly valued for its medicinal properties.
Rasa Panchaka: The Rasa Panchaka (five tastes) of Agaru is as follows:
- Rasa (Taste): Bitter (Tikta), Pungent (Katu)
- Guna (Quality): Light (Laghu), Dry (Ruksha)
- Virya (Potency): Heating (Ushna)
- Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): Pungent (Katu)
Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala: Agaru mainly pacifies the Kapha and Vata doshas. It exerts its effects on the Asthi (bones) dhatu and the mutra (urine) mala.
Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications): Agaru is widely employed in Ayurvedic medicine for various therapeutic purposes. Some of its important indications include:
- Skin diseases (Kushta)
- Respiratory disorders (Shwasa and Kasa)
- Rheumatic conditions
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Fever (Jvara)
- Urinary tract infections (Mutrakrichra)
Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose): Agaru can be used in various formulations, and the dosage depends on the specific preparation and the individual’s condition. Commonly used forms include:
- Powder: 250 mg to 500 mg, once or twice a day
- Decoction: 50 ml to 100 ml, once or twice a day
Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations): Agaru is an integral component of several Ayurvedic formulations. Some notable formulations include:
- Agastya Rasayana
- Mahayogaraja Guggulu
- Agaradi Kashayam
- Gandharvahastadi Kashayam
Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects): Agaru, when used in appropriate doses, is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, excessive use may lead to adverse effects like digestive disturbances and dryness in the body.
Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures): Agaru is best used under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Proper dosing, combining with suitable adjuvants, and considering an individual’s specific condition are essential aspects of its therapeutic application.
Shodhana (If Required): Agaru does not usually require shodhana (purification) procedures. However, in certain cases, Shodhana methods like Bhavana (levigation) or Svedana (steam treatment) may be applied for specific therapeutic purposes.
Agaru’s unique aroma, coupled with its potent medicinal properties, has made it a highly prized herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It continues to be a valuable asset in managing various health conditions, ensuring its enduring significance in traditional healthcare practices.