A fisherman in Hong Kong thought his New Year had got off to a bad start when he hauled in a huge lump of wood, but found out later it was worth millions of dollars.
Mr. Kwok went out to sea last Thursday, and was disappointed by his unusual catch until he noticed it had a strong fragrance, according to ifeng.com.
When he removed a strip of bark, a yellow oil seeped out, and the man realized he had found an enormous piece of agalwood resin, which is used both as a medicine and in incense.
An expert confirmed that the gigantic lump–with a circumference of over 3 yards–was indeed agalwood, and valued it at HK$1 billion ($128 million).
Mr. Kwok plans to sell the resin, and donate some of the proceeds to charity.
In traditional Chinese medicine, agalwood is known as the diamond of plants. It is believed to collect the essence of the universe, and carry special powers. Its seeds and leaves are widely used for medicinal purposes.
The quality of agalwood is determined by the density of the solidified resin. The classic Chinese medicine book “Compendium of Medical Herbs” lists agalwood as a cure for diarrhea, digestive problems, asthma, and cerebral stroke.
In Western medicine, it is used to prevent cancer, and strengthen the cardiovascular and nervous systems. In the Buddhist religion, incense made from agalwood is considered the best. When it burns, the fragrance is said to be calming and soothing.
According to an old saying: “One gram of agalwood is as valuable as a gram of gold.”
Research by Sophia Fang.