They’re at every smoke shop, organic food store and every off- highway gas station. Incense take on many forms and sometimes even have names that make you want to giggle.
One might get the memory of your Grandmother’s overly scented potpourri located on the toilet’s top in the bathroom. Perhaps a more pleasant memory like walking down a street lined with Jasmine on a hot summer night. Or even being smudged with sage by a random yet beautifully grungy stranger while walking through San Francisco’s Haight District. The fact of the matter is that the uses for incense are seemingly endless. More and more are discovered every day, leaving them to be a miracle hidden in plain sight.
One of the most recent studies involve a team of biologists over at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and John Hopkins University. This group of scientists conducted an experiment administering incensole acetate to mice to study the effects. For those of you who do not know incensole acetate is, it’s an organic compound found in the Boswellia tree’s resin. Otherwise known as, Frankincense.
Once consumed by the mice it began to lower the their anxieties, like an anti-depressant of sorts. They found that it directly effects the part of the brain that is related to emotions and the nerve circuits. It specifically activates a protein called TRPV3, which stands for Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid. TRP’s were discovered in the late 70s/early 80s and to this day remains a part of the brain we know not much about. What we do know is that Frankincense decreases activation in your nervous system that supplies anxiety and depression.
In the United States 14.8 million people suffer from major depressive disorders and 40 million have anxiety disorders, usually they come hand in hand. There are millions of people who are unmedicated or left without treatment. To think that creating a safe space for yourself and burning some Frankincense could create stability within our inherent imbalances. It is relatively cheap and readily available for those of us who suffer from these mood disorders.
But what ELSE can this ancient marvel do? Would you have guessed that it also helps purify the air? Well, it does. It is found that the smoke of incense can remove pathogenic bacteria, purify and sterilize our air at home. Hearing this I am sure you’re thinking, “This really would have been helpful during the COVID lockdown.” I would recommend getting the purest and least synthetic incense in order to actually have these effects. All synthetic and heavy types of incense can cause a headache or even an allergic reaction.
Filling our homes with incense doesn't just clean the air, it also cleanses the space. There are so many different architectural shapes within our walls and all of these different boundaries come with different energies. These energies can determine our psychological state within these spaces. Remember to pay attention to your atmosphere. Open windows, create a flow and clean the energy within yourself and your environment.
Purifying your home with herb bundles or incense can take a tainted atmosphere to a clean slate. Making it a perfect opportunity to connect with self and creativity. The magic thing about our ability to smell is that out of all five senses(sight, smell, sound, taste and touch) it has the strongest link to our memory and emotion. When we decide to express ourselves outwardly sometimes it can be difficult to plug into your truth. Lighting incense can assist you in unlocking yourself to transcribe your craft. Wether it be onto paper, through an instrument, snapping the photo, molding the clay or performing the closing scene- incense can assist in restoring your inner artist.
Since 3300 B.C. incense have been a phenomenon of the ages and there is no sign of that ever becoming extinct. Meditation, calmness, aid for sleep, religious ceremonies, the list could go on. Take the time to find a scent you not only enjoy but one that moves your spirit and speaks to your being. You won’t regret it.