Anyone tuned into the tradition of incense, traditionally used as a devotional adjunct to worship, knows its good for the soul. But now science is catching up with historical knowledge and showing that incense can be good for our brain. A world group of scientists, together with researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, suggest burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) can activate poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression.
Incense is more than just a trinket from the health food store. From Native American pipe ceremonies to incense-infused Hindu pujas, prayers ride the wings of smoke to the ears of God—think of it as a way to text the divine. Listed here are four of our favorite boons that incense bestows:
Ritual implies generosity—offering a stick of incense signifies a minimum of some surrender, some belief in an influence better than your own. The act of providing itself, accomplished without expectation of something in return in your gesture, plants the seeds of generosity.
Incense, with its seductive, earthy perfume, helps domesticate appreciation. Incense can open the doorway to giving and receiving with gratitude. Traditionally, it’s believed that smoke purifies mind and body to obtain from Spirit. Breathe in the fragrant smoke and allow yourself to fully obtain the day’s bounty. Then, send the smoke upward providing a prayer to the all of the unseen forces that maintain your life.
Lighting incense joins the above with the beneath, heaven with earth. Smoke moves up and out, taking a smidgen of our souls with it. It connects you with the elements of air, fire, and ether, reigniting your relationship to the world.
As science is lastly cottoning on to, incense can actually assist with depression. The leading edge research on how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets within the brain demonstrates the way the nervous system responds to certain smells. The aforementioned research also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices which have persevered throughout time, distance, culture, language, and religion. Turns out to be true—burning incense really does make you are feeling warm and tingly all over.
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