• Linda Marquez Goodine

The Science Behind The Smell of Incense



Incense has been around for years and has been used for religious rituals in Babylon, Greece, and ancient Egypt. Some of them are:

  • Thought to repel bad energy, evil spirits or demons

  • To counteract bad odors

  • Use in various religious practices (most common Catholic churches

What is incense?

It’s a substance burned that produces a fragrant smell. It made up of aromatic material typically plant based from bark, flowers, seeds, resin and roots with a combustible substance that binds to hold the incense together. Some of the most recognizable aromas are:

  • Patchouli

  • Sandalwood

  • Myrrh

  • Frankincense (my favorite)

  • Cinnamon

How is incense burned?

There are various forms that include:

  • Sticks (the most common and my favorite)

  • Coils

  • Cones

  • Powder

When you light it up, smudge the flame so that it still burns without the flame. Just like a candle you want to be cautious.

Why should you try it?

Smells can be magical and most smells stimulate an emotional response. Pleasant odors elicit anti-depressive like behaviors and incense has been shown to reduce stress.

The olfactory (smell) neurons that are in contact with the limbic system of the brain, elicit our happiness, motivation and focus chemicals.

Most people report improved mood or focus when exposed to specific scents, smells and particularly incense. Think about how the smell of your favorite flowers make you feel, your favorite parfum or essential oil.

Resources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29414121/

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jos/66/8/66_ess16149/_pdf/-char/en

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