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Aloeswood: Folklore, Healing & Magical Uses

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Aloeswood (Aquilaria spp. or Gyrinops spp.) or aloes wood is not the most common name of this type of tree, but it is the common name of the incense that it produces.

You will find this incense mentioned in many religious and magical texts as aloeswood, aloes, lignan aloe, and lign aloes. It is quite a different plant from the lily-like aloe.

The immune system of the Aquilaria tree produces an aromatic resin when it is infected with a parasitic fungus, Phaeoacremonium parasitica. This resin is known as aloeswood, jinko, agarwood (not to be confused with agar) or oud. Agarwood seems to be more common in modern usage.


Aloeswood, also known as agarwood or oud, carries rich folklore, healing properties, and magical uses.

It’s believed to have healing properties, such as relieving stress and promoting relaxation.

Additionally, aloeswood has a significant presence in various spiritual and magical practices, often utilized for purification, meditation, and connecting with higher realms.

Overall, aloeswood holds a special place in cultures worldwide, valued for both its earthly and metaphysical attributes.

There are 17 identified species of Aquilaria or eaglewood and they are, for the most part, trees native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia and India. Aquilaria malaccensis is the species most well known for producing the valued resin. This tree is considered critically endangered due to habitat loss and overcollection.

The Gyrinops genus was recently separated from the Aquilaria genus and consists of 9 species. These are also native to Southeast Asia and India and are called lign-aloes trees or lign-aloes trees. These lign aloes are also valued for their ability to produce the prized resin as an immune response to parasitic infection and they are also critically endangered.

Programs are underway to save these species including research devoted to sustainable cultivation of aloeswood / agarwood.

Type of AloeswoodOriginScent ProfileTraditional Uses
KyaraVietnamRich, EarthyMeditation, Royal Ceremonies
ManabanIndonesiaSpicy, WoodyHealing, Aromatherapy
SritiMalaysiaSweet, FloralSpiritual Cleansing, Incense
KynamChinaDeep, ResinousHigh-end Perfumery, Luxury Incense
Table: 1Types of Aloeswood and Their Properties

History and Folklore

Aloeswood is mentioned in many historical, religious and magical texts originating from Asia and its trading partners in the Middle East and along the Mediterranean. It also makes a significant appearance in European Grimoires. Aloes was used in traditional burial practice among Semetic peoples and Egyptians who combined it with other resins to anoint bodies in preparation for burial. Frankincense and especially myrrh are often mentioned in conjunction with aloeswood.

Aloeswood appears several times in the Bible including the mention that Nicodemus bought large quantities of the valuable resin, along with myrrh to anoint the body of Jesus before burial (John 19:39). ((https://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/ebd/ebd018.htm))

CultureFolklore/Magic ContextUse in Folklore/MagicSymbolism
JapaneseMythology, SpiritualityProtection against EvilPurity, Sacredness
ArabianTales and MythsIngredient in Magic PotionsMystery, Wealth
Southeast AsianLocal TraditionsCharms for Good LuckProsperity, Health
WesternModern Esoteric PracticesMeditation, SpiritualityInner Peace, Connection
Table: Aloeswood in Folklore and Magic

Using Aloeswood in Magick

Aloeswood is ruled by Jupiter or Mars and is useful for increasing the intensity of any energy raised for magical purposes. The scent also helps focus the mind on the task at hand while banishing obstructive energies, thus it is an extremely useful addition to any ritual incense.

Cornelius Agrippa in his Philosophy of Natural Magic provides a recipe for incense for suffumigation for the various planetary energies and the recipes for the Sun, Jupiter, Venus and Mars, all including lignum aloes.

The Philosophy of Natural Magic
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  • Agrippa, Henry Cornelius (Author)

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He also mentions that the most powerful fumigant is that made up of the Seven Aromatics, each representing a different planet and says that lignum aloes is that corresponding to Mars. He also describes lignum aloes as the proper fume for Sagittarius. (( https://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/pnm/pnm53.htm )) Agrippa includes lignum aloes in a number of other incense recipes throughout the book, including those for summoning the spirits of Air and the dead or to lay unpleasant curses on houses ((https://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/pnm/pnm52.htm)).

Similar recipes are found in the 19th century book The Magus by Francis Barrett ((https://www.sacred-texts.com/grim/magus/ma132.htm))

The Key of Solomon the King recommends fumigation with aloes among other things for the summoning of good spirits((https://www.sacred-texts.com/grim/kos/kos46.htm)).

aloeswood by tina caro magickal spot
Copyright: Tina Caro

What Does Aloeswood Incense Smell Like?

Great question! Aloeswood has a rich, complex fragrance with elements of sweetness and heat, bringing a sense of warmth, comfort, and invigoration. You may also detect deep, resinous, earthy tones in the smoke that evoke feelings of tranquility and grounding. 

As you become more familiar with aloeswood, you’ll notice different elements of its fragrance coming to the fore, and better appreciate its vibrant and multi-faceted fragrance. When you next burn aloeswood incense or diffuse the essential oil, relax as the scent washes over you, and concentrate on its changing nature.

Everyday Ways to Use Aloeswood

Aloeswood has been prized for its many benefits for centuries, and it’s still used today for its healing and soothing properties. However, you may need to save your pennies for a while: just 5ml of pure aloeswood essential oil is likely to set you back hundreds of dollars!

However, if you are lucky enough to have some aloeswood essential oil or incense on your hands, there are some lovely ways to work with it, such as the ideas below. As with any essential oil, it’s important to consult a medical professional before using it, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an existing medical condition or allergies.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at how you can use aloeswood to boost wellbeing.

Magikcal Meditation

Meditation is a powerful way to relax, and can also form an important part of your manifesting work. Aloeswood is a wonderful partner for a meditative practice; it’s long been used for its spiritual and emotional benefits and ability to focus the mind.

Try diffusing aloeswood essential oil as you meditate to boost mental focus, relax, and align emotions. It’s the perfect way to set the scene and help you enjoy a powerfully restorative meditation.

Attracting Prosperity

Aloeswood has been revered for centuries for its ability to help us achieve our goals and attract prosperity. Try burning an aloeswood incense stick to banish negative energy and bring a sense of calm and peace to your home.

Those struggling with a challenging situation, or who are keen to set a powerful new intention to help realize their dreams will find this incense very beneficial.

Try combining it with crystals that also attract abundance, such as pyrite, citrine, jade, and sunstone. Place these crystals around your home or hold them as the incense burns, concentrating on your intention, and prepare for powerful results!

Soothing Digestive Issues

If stress is playing havoc with your digestive system, aloeswood can come to the rescue. Trapped wind, bloating, and stomach cramps can all be eased with this magickal little essential oil. 

Simply mix a couple of drops of aloeswood oil with a carrier oil, such as jojoba, avocado, apricot, or sweet almond and gently rub directly into the skin of the abdomen. Alternatively, lie somewhere comfortably and diffuse aloeswood essential oil to feel some relief.

Boosting the Immune System

Feeling a little run down, and like you’re picking up one cold after another? Try burning some aloeswood incense or diffusing aloeswood essential oil to reduce inflammation and boost your body’s natural ability to fight off infection.

And as an added bonus? Aloeswood has long been prized for its propensity to enhance the libido, too, so diffusing it in the bedroom could have double benefits!

Nourishing Moisture

Aloeswood essential oil can be used to make a luxurious, and nourishing moisturizer with powerful anti-oxidant properties. As well as pampering the skin, it’ll also reduce the signs of aging. 

To make your own aloeswood moisturizer add a couple of drops of the essential oil to an unscented lotion and massage into the skin in the morning and at night.

Enjoying a Stress-Busting Bath

What better way to relax at the end of a busy day than with an indulgently deep bath, surrounded by candles and crystals? Well, adding some aloeswood can make things even better! Add a couple of drops of aloeswood essential oil to the water as its running to enjoy the fragrant steam and the scent of the oil on your skin.

Make your very own bath blend, if you like, by combining aloeswood essential oil with rose otto, sandalwood, or hyacinth oils, all of which work beautifully with aloeswood.

aloeswood close up by tina caro magickal spot
Copyright: Tina Caro

Settling Down for Sounder Sleep

Aloeswood is great for those who are struggling with insomnia, or find that an active mind keeps them from dropping off to sleep at night. Before going to bed, try diffusing a little aloeswood oil in your bedroom, to create a blissed-out, sleepy vibe that’ll help you relax. 

You can try mixing aloeswood essential oil with lavender, also known to help promote better sleep. As well as making for a beautiful-smelling blend, this will help your precious aloeswood oil go further. 

How to Choose Aloeswood Incense?

Aloeswood incense can make for a pricey purchase, so it’s important to ensure you get the best quality possible. Here are some things to bear in mind to do so:

  • The incense should burn with a soft, gentle glow, indicating it’s been made from high-quality materials.
  • Good-quality aloeswood incense shouldn’t contain dyes.
  • No unnecessary additives should be present, such as synthetic fragrances or chemicals.
  • Check that the incense contains no chemical spices, which can interfere with aloeswood’s beautiful natural aroma.

What is the Best Way to Store Aloeswood Incense?

Now you’ve splashed out on some gorgeous aloeswood incense, it’s vital to store it properly, so it doesn’t lose any of that precious aroma. Ideally, aloeswood incense should be kept in a wooden or metal box made from high-quality materials. As well as being durable, this will protect the aloeswood from the effects of temperature fluctuations and humidity.

The incense shouldn’t fit too tightly into the box: some room for air circulation will help prevent the growth of mold. The box should also have a well-fitting lid or working seal, to better protect the incense sticks.

Store your aloeswood incense (within its box) out of direct sunlight, and in a cool, dry place, away from strong-smelling substances that could be absorbed by the sticks.

Aloeswood: Boosting Wellbeing and Igniting Your Spiritual Flame

Aloeswood is a treasure of the natural world. Harnessing its power in the form of incense or essential oils can offer near-endless benefits to body and mind, and help supercharge your manifesting practice, too. Whether you use it to create a bespoke bath blend, enhance meditation, or boost your immune system, you won’t regret welcoming the heartwood of the aquilaria tree into your life.

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About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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