The use of incense is one of the oldest spiritual rituals of mankind. Lighting incense such as resins (frankincense / myrrh), herbs (mugwort / lavender) and woods (sandalwood / oak bark) or simply incense sticks are simply part of many relaxation rituals and purification processes in the most diverse cultures and cults. Whether in meditation, shamanistic rituals or Christian worship, the scents and essential oils emanating from the incense are said to have various effects on the people present. Not without reason, after all, the sense of smell is one of the most important senses of human beings.
One of the best-known and oldest incense is frankincense, which has been used in various rituals for thousands of years. When burned, incense develops a strongly scented smoke. The scent is said to stimulate the brain and have a calming effect. Frankincense is smoked for spiritual purposes such as purification. This means purification of the mind but also purification of places. Furthermore, incense is used for blessing and consecration. Incense should be smoked in its natural state so that it can unfold its full power. But unfortunately not everyone can tolerate this fragrance, so always try incense in small doses.
Myrrh has also been used as incense for centuries. The earthy scent that arises when incense is burned is said to bring deep relaxation and have a cleansing effect. Myrrh is also one of the oldest known remedies.
Here are a few more resins:
Benzoin a resin from Indonesia with a mild smoke and pleasant scent of vanilla, which is said to be relaxing and inspiring at the same time. The resin should be smoked in small doses or in mixtures with incense, sandalwood and rose petals.
Amber is not only worn as jewellery with healing effects, but also smoked. Amber is used for insomnia or anxiety. It is said to have a relaxing effect.
Mastic resin is said to strengthen intuition and improve mood. Mastic has been used for thousands of years. It is also used as a remedy and to keep away annoying insects.
Burgundy resin is a resin for purification and strengthening. The resin emits strong smoke and should only be used in small doses or in incense mixtures or outside closed rooms.
Dammar is a resin that can be used for mental upsets and melancholy. It is also a good resin for blends as it can enhance the effect of other resins. Depending on how it is smoked (incense charcoal, incense bowls, incense stoves), the scent or the strength of the scent changes.
Dragon’s blood is a resin that is used as incense for protective incenses. It is very strong and should therefore only be used in small doses or in mixtures (for example with incense, mistletoe).
Elemi resin can be smoked alone or in a mixture. The fresh lemon-scented scent has a brightening, strengthening and balancing effect.
Pine resin, a strongly scented resin, is said to have a cleansing and disinfecting effect when smoked. It also dispels gloom and gives new strength.
Labdanum is the resin of the cistus, which spreads a beguiling scent. The cistus is also a well-known remedy. When smoked, the resin is considered relaxing, concentration-enhancing and balancing. Good to mix with rose petals and sandalwood.
Myrrh, frankincense, mastic and amber are resins and can be smoked in different ways like other resins. For example, on the incense charcoal or the incense burner. Resins can also be mixed. A well-tried mixture is frankincense and myrrh. But no matter which resin you use, always pay attention to the quality.
Kyphi is one of the oldest and best known incense blends. It consists of frankincense, benzoin, myrrh, juniper berries, galangal, cinnamon bark, cedar, lotus aroma. Wine, honey and, depending on the recipe, other ingredients.
In addition to resins, incense herbs and other natural raw materials are also used in various incense rituals.
Mugwort: Was already used by the ancient Germanic tribes and has a relaxing and calming effect as well as against negative energies.
Oak bark: The oak is an ancient tree and was already honoured by the Germanic tribes and used in various ways. As incense, oak bark exudes a mild woody scent.
Sandalwood: The burning of sandalwood is traditional. Sandalwood gives off a mild pleasant fragrance and creates a cosy atmosphere. Sandalwood is also mixed with resins such as frankincense.
Juniper berries: By burning juniper berries, a woody aromatic scent is created. It cleanses and strengthens and is often used in incense blends.
Lavender: Smoking lavender creates an aromatic scent. Lavender has a balancing and strengthening effect.
How to smoke:
You can use resins, herbs. You can use resins, herbs, woods and incense mixtures in different ways, “smoulder”. Smoking with incense bowls or incense stoves is a very dosable application that does not distort the scent and smoke of the incense. When smoking with incense charcoal, on the other hand, the scent of the resin is impaired by the incense charcoal. This is quite intentional, for example to soften or strengthen resins. For beginners, incense bowls and incense stoves are recommended, as the dose can be determined very individually. Those who have little experience should always start with small doses and possibly rely on incense blends before they start mixing their own resins. But in the end, everyone decides for themselves what is best for them. Because every person is individual and so the resin and also the dose of the resin used should be adapted to the individual needs.
Incense burning with incense sticks is probably the best known and simplest form of incense burning. Here, incense sticks or incense cones are lit or made to glow and the fragrance and essential oils can spread. For the incense sticks it is best to use a bowl with sand or an incense burner so that the sticks or cones stand securely.
Incense with charcoal: A very simple application, where a piece of charcoal is lit in a special vessel and the resin or incense mixture is placed on it. The fragrance and the essential oils are released in the process. The disadvantage of this application is the smoke development.
Smoking with an incense burner: The application is also simple. A tea light is lit under a sieve or metal plate. The incense (resin) on the plate / sieve is heated and the scent and the essential oils are released. The smoke development is low.
Smoking with electric incense burners, the incense (resins / herbs) is heated electrically and the fragrance and essential oils are released.
Smoking with incense bundles is probably the most intensive type of incense and is mainly used for the energetic cleansing of rooms. An incense bundle (e.g. sage) is ignited and the slowly burning (not burning) herb develops strong smoke which cleanses the rooms and places. This type of incense belongs to the shamanic incense rituals.
Hints: Fragrances produced by incense are very different and have a wide variety of effects. Not every fragrance is tolerated by every person, so try fragrances in small doses. Make sure that the incense stands safely and do not leave the incense unattended!
In everyday life, people also use scented candles and scented oils. However, this differs from incense burning. Especially in the intensity and effect of the scents on the respective person.
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The goal of smoking incense such as resins, herbs, woods or incense mixtures as well as incense sticks is manifold.
The aim of fumigating a house or flat is to energetically cleanse the house or flat. Negative vibrations are to be reduced or eliminated.
Fumigating resins and herbs is also intended to purify the mind and body.
By stimulating the sense of smell and the absorption of scents and essential oils through the nose, certain reactions of the respective person are to be evoked. Among other things, negative moods are to be eliminated. The head is freed from negative thoughts or sadness. Artists in particular use incense to be able to work creatively or to get new ideas. Shamans use incense rituals to put themselves in a trance. In short, incense should contribute to the well-being of each individual.