We have written a lot about herbal teas on healthyfocus. Some of those teas like green tea and chamomile have been well known for years and are already a popular choice of brew around the globe. Others are a little more obscure and may take a little more effort to seek out.
Agarwood tea is definitely not a household name in the West but it is already a popular tea in many parts of South East Asia. In countries like like Thailand and Malaysia it has earned a reputation not only for its flavor but its potential therapeutic qualities. People drink agarwood tea to help calm their mind, detoxify the body, promote weight loss and control blood sugar levels among other uses.
What is Agarwood Tea?
You may have heard of or even used agarwood essential oil or incense. The essential oil which is known as Oud oil is among the most expensive essential oils in the world. Like the essential oil, agarwood tea comes from the Aquilaria species of tree native to South East Asia.
The leaves of several species of Aquilaria are harvested to produce agarwood tea. They include Aquilaria sinensis found in Laos and China and Aquilaria malaccensis native to Malaysia, Thailand India and Indonesia.
Los of harvest and overharvesting of the Aquilaria trees that produce agarwood has threatened many populations over the past decades. The global demand for this prized, wood has led to close monitoring of the industry. The international agarwood trade is now subject to tight controls which have been designed to ensure harvesting does not harm the survival of the trees in their wild habitat.
Agarwood plantations for commercial purposes have now been established in various countries and also reintroduced in places like Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The agarwood tea business represents a promising new commercial opportunity that does not harm the long term survival of the species.
Health Benefits of Agarwood Tea
Agarwood tea also known as gaharu tea and the leaves from which it is made have not been as extensively studied as many other plants and herbs. When it comes to the health benefits of the tea, we are often depending on anecdotal and traditional use. Of course, just because the tea and the leaves have not been researched does not mean that the tea does not have strong medicinal qualities.
That being said, the limited amount of research that has already been done has been promising. Studies have found that Aquilaria leaves have laxative properties which confirms one of the traditional uses of the tea.
Studies have also been done looking at the chemical constituents of the leaves. Like many herbal teas, agarwood contains various polyphenols with antioxidant properties. According to research, the two main bioactive compounds in agarwood leaves are genkwanin and mangiferin which are responsible for many of the medicinal benefits of the leaves. (1)
Herbal teas are a wonderful way to not only improve your physical health but they can also have a great impact on your mental health. Many people drink this caffeine free beverage to help deal with feelings of anxiety and stress.
Like most herbs recommended for anxiety, there is absolutely no guarantee that it will have the desired effect and there is no scientific evidence to back up its use. However, people over here where I live in Thailand have been drinking it for years and many of them swear by its use. People who enjoy it also claim that it can help them get to sleep more easily at night and improve their quality of sleep. Given that insomnia and other sleep issues are often linked to stress or anxiety, this is not a surprise.
If you are feeling anxious, a cup of coffee is the last thing you need and may result in you becoming more anxious and jittery. Why not consider replacing your regular cup of joe with this healthy, relaxing alternative instead.
According to proponents, agarwood tea can help the body to detox from certain chemicals. Unfortunately, there are no studies that confirm this one way or another. Much of the marketing material claims that agarwood tea is especially useful for cleansing the body of toxins such as mercury.
3) Hangover Relief
If you are the kind of person who occasionally has a few too many drinks, then agarwood tea may be just the tonic you need to get going in the morning. There are few worse things than waking up with a dreadful hangover knowing that you need to get to work and perform your daily tasks.
Fortunately there are a few natural remedies that can help treat your hangover. Many people claim that because agarwood can help cleanse the body of harmful toxins, it also works very well for a hangover. A few cups of agarwood tea in the morning may help clear out the alcohol from your system quicker and help your body rehydrate. Again, we are short on specific mechanisms but it is certainly worth giving it a go.
4) Weight Loss
If you are looking for a miracle weight loss cure then you are likely to be searching for a very long time. However adding a healthy herbal tea like agarwood tea to your daily diet can have some impact especially in the long term and as part of a diet and exercise plan.
Agarwood tea is a great source of flavonoids which may help in the fat burning proces especially if you are exercising on a regular basis. Flavonoids may also help improve digestion and improve the body’s metabolism which can also aid in weight control and long term weight loss.
5) Skin Health
The antioxidants contained in agarwood tea are great for the skin. They help to offset the damage done to the skin cells which result in early signs of aging like wrinkles and blemishes. By replacing your soda or cup of sugary coffee with a healthy agarwood brew, not only will your body feel in better shape but your appearance will benefit too.
6) Digestive Health
Agarwood tea can help improve your digestive health in general and may ease some of the common symptoms of poor digestion such as dyspepsia and bloating. Studies have revealed that it works as a natural laxative which confirms one of its many traditional uses in Asia.
A study published in 2010 found that agarwood leaf extract had mild laxative properties. Unlike many other remedies for constipation, the extract was gentle acting and did not induce diarrhea. Although the study was done on rats, the researchers concluded that agarwood leaves would be a potential natural constipation remedy in humans. (2)
7) Blood Sugar Control
Several studies done on animals have demonstrated that agarwood leaves can improve blood sugar levels. Up to this point there have been no studies done on humans to confirm these findings but the results of the animal studies have been promising. (3)
8) Other Potential Benefits
Other purported benefits of agarwood tea include reduced cholesterol and blood pressure as well as the treatment of sexual dysfunction and respiratory relief.
How to Make Agarwood Tea
You can either make agarwood tea with the ready made tea bags or with the loose leaves. You might find it in your local health food shop but it is easily found online. It is certainly more expensive than many other types of tea but if you are a tea enthusiast and you have the money to spare, we feel it is worth trying.
Make the tea by steeping the leaves or tea bags in the same way as you would make any other tea. It is delicious whether you drink it hot or cold and however you choose to drink it, you will receive the same benefits.