Discover Why Burning Incense Makes Good Sense
Increasingly popular as an air freshener, there's a lot more to incense than you may think. It's also excellent and affordable stocking filler for friends and family this Christmas.
Incense comes in a couple of different forms, including sticks and cones. Made of aromatic plant material it is often combined with essential oils.
History of Incense
Taken from the Latin word 'incendere', meaning 'to burn', incense is steeped in history and tradition. It was commonly used by the ancient Egyptians, to ward off both unpleasant smells and demons. Its popularity quickly spread through the East, with India experimenting with new herbs such as cypress and frankincense.
It was in ancient China that incense was first used for religious purposes. The habit was quickly adopted by the Japanese. In the 14th-century samurai warriors often perfumed their helmets with incense to make them invincible.
Benefits of Incense
Today incense is found in many homes throughout the world, used mainly for its fragrance. It is also used to great effect in salons and spas that specialise in alternative therapies - especially massage, yoga and meditation - as it is considered beneficial for relaxing and healing.
To really benefit from burning incense, you should always choose non-toxic, natural products. There is a huge choice of scents, many designed for specific purposes such as calming the nervous system or boosting health and happiness.
Healing with Incense
Incense sticks or cones can be used to naturally ward off nasty germs in the home. This is because certain types, such as frankincense and myrrh, are antibacterial and antifungal. A study carried out in a Chinese hospital used incense to sterilise a ward, and found it as effective as more traditional methods.
Another study, carried out by a team of international scientists, discovered that burning frankincense stimulated a protein in the brain which can help reduce anxiety and depression. Incense can also slow down the heart rate, soothe frazzled nerves and even be used as a muscle relaxer. Pretty amazing, right?
Lavender incense is brilliant for battling an annoying headache, whilst lemongrass and frankincense may help boost your serotonin levels, to improve your mood. Rose incense can be used to promote balance. Other scents, such as lemongrass and tea tree, are very effective at keeping biting bugs at bay.
One of the best things about burning incense is choosing your incense holder. There are some gorgeous designs out there, many featuring spiritual figures and signs to further enhance the feeling of wellbeing.
If for any reason you can't burn incense in your home or work environment, you could always use essential oils. These also use certain plants and herbs for healing and relaxation. Some, like lavender, can even be applied directly to the skin.