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English Name: aquilaria, agarwood, Chinese eaglewood
Literal Translation: “sinking aroma”, “sinking fragrance”
Pharmaceutical Name: Lignum Aquilariae Resinatum
Medica Category: Qi-Regulating Herbs
Properties: Chen Xiang enters the Kidney, Spleen, and Stomach channels; it is acrid and bitter in nature and warm and aromatic in temperature.
What is Chen Xiang?:
The Chinese Herb Chen Xiang is the resin that comes from two species of trees: Aquilaria agallocha (which grows throughout India and the rest of Southeast Asia) and Aquilaria sinensis (which is produced in Hainan and Guangdong provinces as well as in Taiwan). These two species of trees produce this resin naturally as a defense against a certain kind of fungus; the production of resin can also be induced by cutting a one-inch gash into the tree and waiting for a few years for the resin to collect. The resin is gathered at any time during the year and ground into powder for use as medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Chen Xiang:
Chen Xiang moves stagnant qi to relieve pain in the abdomen/epigastric area and chest characterized by cold and stagnation. It has a downward action and thus is helpful in addressing the symptom of vomiting clear fluids that can accompany pain in the middle jiao due to cold-stagnation.
The downward action of Chen Xiang also contributes to its action of warming the Kidney and helping it to grasp qi downwards. This manifests clinically as wheezing and dyspnea with shorter, more difficult inhalations. Other Kidney deficiency signs (such as low back pain and coldness) may also be present.