The Mystical and Spiritual Fragrance of Oud

A scent reminiscent of One Thousand and One Nights.

Magical genie lamp in a desert wafting an exotic oud fragrance.

(Romolo Tavani /

Scent is a powerful way to access spirituality. Over the centuries and across the globe, there is one shared scent that is considered supreme. Potent, mystical, and sweet, this scent is oud. To unravel the origins and mysteries of oud is to take a voyage back in time and across cultures.

Oud, also spelled as oudh, is actually a resin from the aquilaria tree, according to Tailor Made Fragrance. Growing in the rainforests of southeast Asia, oud is a rare find as this resin is created only when the tree is infected with a parasitic mold. In order to defend itself from the invader, the tree creates a thick, dark resin called aloes.

Oud in Religious Ceremonies

After the wood transforms in color, it is then called oudh, also known as agarwood, eaglewood, or aleswood, according to Liveabout. The wood is then hand-carved into chips which are burned in religious ceremonies in India, Japan, and China. The melted resin can also be applied to the skin.

In the Japanese Kōdō ceremony, which is the art of appreciating incense, oud resin is burned in a brazier to represent the start of a spiritual journey, according to Tailor Made Fragrance.

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The properties of oud have been valued across time. Buddhists have used it to enhance meditation by steaming drops of the essential oil, according to Goddess Couture.

Arabians have been burning oud wood chips in their homes for thousands of years, believing it takes away negative energies and enhances awareness.

Oud As a Healer

The various allusions to an “incense tree” in the Old Testament are attributed to oud, according to Alpha Aromatics. This reverence has lasted until today, with many believing that oud is calming. 

On a psychological level, according to Goddess Couture, people use the mystical oil to reduce impulsive behavior. It is also used to eliminate negative energies and enhance the mood of a home. 

Oud is also used for  skin care, and in natural healing to help soothe pain, tummy aches, as well as nausea and breathing disorders. But it is best known for its soothing fragrance.

The aroma is often described as the feeling of a cozy blanket or the peace found in a forest clearing, so it is fitting that oud pure essential oil may assist with nervous disorders and promote sleep.

With oud’s mysterious origins and rare appearance in nature, this “liquid gold” has been cherished over millennia. It is not surprising that oud is referred to as the perfume from One Thousand and One Nights; for after you first inhale it, you may be transported and uplifted, the exotic, calming scent floating, then imprinting on your mind.

Oud chips with Arabian oud perfume.

(Stanislav71 /