Winter is on the way and we can already envision the absolute bliss of snuggling under a fluffy quilt as chilly winds rage outside the window. And who would say no to making the experience even more idyllic?
That’s why, yesterday night I decided to go back to grandmom’s times when quilts and duvets would be sprayed with agarwood oil (known as oud or oudh in the Middle East).
Injected into the innards of the quilt with a tiny syringe (you can do the same with a duvet), it not only multiplies the warmth quotient but also emits a deep, woody, ambergris-like aroma that has been known as a potent aphrodisiac since the times of Adam and Eve.
In fact, according to legend, agarwood came from paradise with Adam himself! He used the leaves of an agarwood tree to shield his nakedness and when he fell from paradise, the leaves were scattered by the wind over East India, where they have grown ever since.Besides these aphrodisiacal qualities, agarwood oil is also used in traditional Eastern medicine for a number of other purposes as well: Simply breathing in the aroma helps with respiratory problems, colds, coughs, asthma and rheumatism, while lifting the spirits and boosting energy levels, making it perfect for winters.
It is also used by Buddhists to prepare for meditation and appears in the religious rituals of several other communities.
However, this is an expensive ingredient, since each tree takes around 300 years before it can start producing the resin. Today, prices exceed US$50,000 per kilogram, making it one of the most expensive natural ingredients in the world. The soaring prices have led to indiscriminate poaching, which have consequently made the agarwood tree an endangered and almost extinct species
But don’t despair – even a miniscule amount will release its fragrance for at least eight hours (the two tiny drops I injected into the quilt yesterday was smelling just as potent in the morning) and it’s an incomparable experience that’s at least worth a try one winter in a lifetime!