A binding rod is a type of ter'angreal created in the Age of Legends. Its use is to make oaths binding; that is, it is not possible to knowingly break an oath sworn on a binding rod unless the rod is used again to release the person from it. Binding rods are generally ivory-white and about a foot long with an archaic numeral engraved on it. The binding rod used by the White Tower as the Oath Rod bears the number three, while that used by Sevanna bears the number one hundred and eleven.
Binding rods only work on channelers. Spirit is channeled into its end, and the channeler makes his or her oaths. The binder can also be used to remove oaths previously sworn on it, though this is very painful and few are aware of this ability. Oaths will also be removed when the channeler is severed.
If it happens that two oaths conflict, so that it is not possible to fulfill both, the channeler is rendered unable to breathe and will soon die if the conflict is not removed.
Swearing oaths causes a painful tightening of the skin, which is responsible for the "ageless" look of Aes Sedai. Though Aes Sedai live extended lives, the Oath Rod severely shortens that life extension. Indeed when the Aes Sedai sworn her classical three oaths her remaining lifespan is halved. Conversely each time a channelers is freed from the oath by the binder or severing, his remaining lifespan is restored fully.
Binding rods were originally used on channelers who committed criminal acts. Since, during this time, imprisonment was not a common practice, perpetrators of crimes against the law were made to swear on a binding rod - the exact extent of the Oaths are unknown - to ensure that the crime would never be repeated. For any non-channelers, a binding chair was used.