Many people who are not familiar with the traditional heritage and use of incense in religious and cultural environments tend to think of incense as more of an air freshener rather then a meditative aid or a compound with any inherent beneficial qualities. There are many benefits of burning incense. Keep reading to learn more.
Tibetans, for example, consider their incense to be medicinal and many of their recipes are formulated according to ayurvedic guidelines. The native Americans used various forms of incense such as smudge sticks to purify the air and their surroundings. The Japanese considered incense and aloeswood to have numerous qualities and developed several games involving it. China and related Asian countries also used incense as a way to tell time.
Below we will list several uses and benefits of burning incense:
- Relaxation Incense is a wonderful aid to relaxation. Many people light incense simply to enjoy it. An alternative to scented candles, many people light incense before they take a bath, read a book, or listen to music. For relaxation purposes, we recommend a softer incense such as sandalwood.
- Meditation Incense is widely attributed as an aid to meditation and spiritual practice. Many believe it to heighten the senses and make it easier to focus. The powerful scent of incense can provide a distraction from other distractions, so to speak.
- Spiritual Worship In addition to it’s use as a meditative aid, incense has also been used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity as a form of offering. In Christianity, frankincense and myrrh were given to baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men. Since then, it has been burned in churches and religious settings.
- Creativity & Focus Incense can improve creativity and focus by bringing a new element to their environment. In addition to many of the scents having a calming nature, many people find that burning incense allows them to focus more on the scent then whatever was distracting them.
- Medicinal Qualities Tibetans consider incense to be medicinal in nature and many of their incense recipes are formulated according to ayurvedic recipes. Much of this incense was crafted using a high percentage of medicinal herbs and flowers. The Japanese thought incense to be medicinal as well and a list of benefits was written in the sixteen century known as the ‘Ten Virtues of Koh’.
- Kodo – Japanese Incense Games Kodo is a game which developed in Japan. Traditionally aloeswood was passed around and each player would interpret and record how they perceived the scent. The records were then used in games or story telling.
- Purify Your Surroundings Many cultures consider incense to have purifying qualities and many even thought the scent would dispel spirits and fend off demons. A commonly known example would be the native Americans who used white sage and other smudges to cleanse their environment. Similar stories have been found in many cultures through-out the world.
- Telling Time Although not commonly used in this fashion anymore, incense was used as one of the first time-keeping devices.
- Insect Repellent Scents such as citronella can be used to ward off insects and mosquitoes. Larger sticks of this nature are made to place outside around campfires.
This article was last revised on 02/26/2020.