it makes all kinds of scents…

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First day of the Chinese Lunar New Year at Yonghegong Lama Temple in Beijing

INCENSE is an aromatic blend of resins, herbs, spices, oils, flowers, leaves and barks which emit perfumes. People often think of it as merely an air freshener or an odor eater (though it is effective, thank goodness) and are unaware of the many benefits of incense to the mind and body. The simple act of lighting the tip and blowing the incense -and watching the smoke ripple through the sky- can totally transport you; whether it’s towards pleasant dreams, clearer thoughts, or a soothing environment.

Incense is available in a variety of forms and fragrances used in many nations and communities around the world. It is believed that the origins of incense come from Egyptian and Sumerian cultures, and from there spread worldwide.

Incense’s primary use has been in religious ceremonies. During biblical times, it was often used as part of ceremonies of worship and sacrifice to gods and to ward off evil spirits. In eastern religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism, incense is widely used  as part of special rituals, purification and for meditation.

You don’t have to have religious reasons for using incense.  One can just simply enjoy the aromas that it gives off, but there are physical and psychological benefits that users can appreciate. You can even try making your own!  Here’s a unique incense recipe for a Spring Purification Ritual; ‘spring cleaning’ if you will, since the season is just around the corner (yay!).

Just be sure to keep a lit incense away from any flammable materials. It is best to use a holder and be sure the incense is completely out when you’re finished with it.

There’s a hazy side to these blissful scents if you don’t use a 100% natural plant-based incense. Certain studies have shown that when burned, any incense that contains synthetic materials or is burned using charcoal may have undesirable effects on the body. So, if you are asthmatic or have any bronchial issues, please seek professional advice.

Here’s to discovering the joy each aroma holds!



 


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