Vanilla is easily one of the most popular and recognizable scents and flavors in the world. Once among the most precious substances in the world, it has been a highly sought-after plant since the height of the Aztec empire.
Now, the flavor is easily reproduced with synthetic chemicals, but pure vanilla remains in high demand, and at a high price. It’s the second most expensive spice in the world, after saffron, because of the difficulty of growing the plant and extracting their essence.
In the world, Aloeswood is the most prized of all incenses, and the purest Aloeswood is pound-for-pound more expensive than gold! Aloeswood trees have sweet-smelling flowers, and are native to Northern India, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. When an Aloes tree has fallen (from natural causes), a dark resin forms within its heartwood. This resin forms as an immune response, and the heartwood is then harvested for incense and medicinal uses. The older the tree, the better the quality, and the more expensive the wood. Aloeswood incense is used for both medicinal and spiritual purposes.
As a medicine, it is a remedy for nervous disorders. For non-medicinal purposes, it is used to help people get in touch with their spiritual side, and thus, it is in high demand as a meditation aid. Those who use aloeswood incense claim that it has a great calming effect on the mind. But Aloes isn't just for medical and spiritual uses. Many feel it is a powerful aphrodisiac, and in some cultures the women scent their clothes as well as themselves with it.