THE AREOMA OF A DEVOTED HEART
The act of burning incense has been an important ritual since ancient times. Believed to have originated in Egypt in the time of the Old Kingdom, it was once used by priests for fumigating tombs. Incense has a long history of being used in conjunction with ceremonies, rituals, and spiritual and religious occasions.
Incense burning was discovered in India and Southern Asia as early as 3300 BC. Used alongside worship and prayer, it was believed that burning incense could ward off evil spirits while purifying the surroundings.
Over 2,000 years ago, the trade of spices and incense played a significant economic role between the east and west. In those days, the Middle Eastern Incense Route wound its way through the Middle East to the Mediteranean region, where it was popularized by the Roman Empire. It’s been estimated that 3,000 tons of incense traveled this route each year.
Traditionally, incense was made with tree resins, aromatic herbs and woody plants. In today’s commercial incense market, it’s much more difficult to find something made with high-quality materials. Much of the incense found on store shelves these days is a combination of artificial fragrances and unsustainably harvested plants. Look for ingredients and essential oils that resonate the most with ethical, fair trade, and regeneractive processes.
Some research in recent years has shown that incense can be beneficial. A study published in the November 2006 issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that white sage can actually purify the air. “The most frequent medical indications for medicinal smoke are pulmonary (23.5%), neurological (21.8%) and dermatological (8.1%),” the researchers noted. “Other uses of smoke are not exactly medical but beneficial to health, and include smoke as a preservative or a repellent and the social use of smoke.”
Another study, published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, found that frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates a part of the brain that may help with the alleviation of anxiety and depression. The aroma of lavender incense has also been shown to reduce anxiety and stress just as the essential oil is known to do. It’s no wonder this stuff has been used for so long.
The Benefits of Burning Incense
- Creates awareness and a sense of ceremony
- Creates a sanctuary
- Increases focus
- Increases creativity and motivation
- Helps foster inner strength
- Deepen concentration while meditating
- Connect to your memories
- Open your heart center
- Incorporate the fire element into your rituals
- Get grounded
- Add aromatherapy benefits
Safety do's & don'ts
> Always keep your incense stick on a burner that is flameproof and is meant for the purpose.
> It is highly recommended to keep the agarbatti burner on a heat resistant surface, like a trivet or a ceramic tile.
> Always place the incense stick in a place which is free of any flammable materials like clothes and paper. Incense sticks burn at extremely high temperatures and can cause a fire if they come in contact with flammable material. Keep the incense stick away from drapes, lampshades, and other flammable material.
> The ash from the incense stick can cause discoloration to your furniture. Also, it can become a fire hazard if the incense stick comes in contact with the fixtures, cabinets, tables, and other furniture.
> Burn the incense stick only in a well-ventilated area. Do not light incense in a closed room or inside a cupboard.
X An incense stick is not safe to throw away when it is not completely extinguished. A burning incense stick that has been carelessly tossed into the bin can quickly trigger a fire and cause a mishap.
X Never keep incense sticks within reach of children, pets, and babies. It can cause serious burns and scars if touched accidentally.
X It is safe to avoid incense sticks if you have any breathing disorders such as asthma. Please consult with your physician.
X Some incense sticks have mind-altering effects due to their herbal content. Always check the effects of your incense.
X Never leave an incense stick lit and unattended in your home.
X An incense stick should not be consumed orally, no matter what.