The Properties of Traditional Incense

We use medicinal plants in many ways. We drink them (infusion, decoction, flower essence, alcohol tincture, glycerine tincture, syrup, honey extract, oxymel), eat them (supplement, product, homeopathic supplements, electuary, culinary spices, vegetables, pot herbs), absorb them through the outer skin (salve, product, poultice, mask, hydrosol, fat, ointment, balm, treatment, compress, vapor rub, essential oils, head drop, bath, soak, sitz bath), absorb them through our mucus membranes (suppository, nose wash, enema, douche, eye drop), and use them in spiritual techniques (talismans, charms, medicine packages, smudges, incense). We breathe their medicine through cigarettes, pipes, steams, acrylic diffuses, atomisers, and, yes, incense.

The healing effects of incense be determined by our sense of smell. The process happens when the sinus cavities travel up, dissolve to the mucus coating, and are detected from the olfactory receptors around the methods of the olfactory sensory neurons. How these substances are sensed is debatable concerning if the nerves are feeling the vibration of the molecules or their condition, with all the theory switching between the two ideas forth and back over the centuries. In any event, our perception of scent is quite weak when compared with other animals. Odour is the only real feeling observed in right brain which can be the side of head dedicated to creativity and intuition, versus the left-brain that is centered on reason and analyses. Due to this smell’s results are actual, psychoactive, and emotional. Apparently, perfume is known as to become the spirit of the plant and thus affects our spirit. Smell can also be processed through the limbic system, which handles emotions, lust, hunger, memory, and imagination. For this reason smell could trigger emotions and memories. Odour can also be our oldest sense, part of the primordial “lizard head” which predates other old feelings like sight and stability and is 450 million years old.

There are files of the utilization of incense all around the ancient world. The oldest recorded use is in Egypt, though it was also used extensively in ancient times in the Americas, Arabia, India, different African nations, and Europe. The previous Incense Road carried frankincense on camel caravans north for Europe and the Mediterranean Sea from southern Arabia and east to India and Mesopotamia. The Spice Trade of decades past moved the countries of Indonesia via the monsoon winds along with the Red Sea and aromatic plants between Europe. The Silk Road produced using incense together with Buddhism from India, through China and on to Japan in regarding the first century A.D. In fact, the incense service (kohdo) is still considered to be one of many traditional Japanese arts, along with flower arranging (ikibana), tea ceremony (sado), as well as the Japanese lyre (koto).

Normal incenses are usually 100% plant. In Japan, natural incense is manufactured having a platform of makko, a.k.a. tabu no ki. It is a water soluble, adhesive, odourless substance that burns evenly and easily. The fossil record for these plants goes back to 100 million years! Other types of plants within this family include nutmeg, cassia, bay laurel, champa, cinnamon, mace, star anise, ylang-ylang, camphor, grape, mountain laurel, rhododendron, and magnolia. In India the standard incense base is halmaddi, the resin of the Tree of Heaven, which has a silly hygroscopic property (it brings water out of the air) that produces Indian incenses feel wet for the touch. Hamaddi combined with honey, contributes the nice honey/vanilla notice to champa (spice mix) incenses. For the base of makko and hamaddi is additional floor and powdered herbs including resins, barks, flowers, vegetables, sources, leaves, fruits, sticks, rhizomes, lights, woods, lichens, seaweeds, and animal substances like ambergris, musk, pangolin scales, and conch shells.