Incense is the combination of aromatic plants and essential oils, which is then burned for meditative purposes or personal pleasure. Burning incense has been popular for thousands of years and its health benefits have been a big appeal in its longevity -- aromatherapy has been linked to helping cancer patients, promoting stress relief and enhancing both mood and energy.
While there are thousands of types of incense in the world, here are the characteristics and benefits of some of the most popular ones.
Sage is an herb that is used in cooking as well as in medicine. The herb has been known to help with several digestive problems such as stomach pain, bloating and diarrhea, while also helping treat depression, Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. Inhaling sage through incense has been shown to have positive effects on the lungs by helping open up the airways in the chest and reducing the amount of mucus and secretions in the lungs, making sage is a wonderful incense choice for people with asthma.
Patchouli has also been used for thousands of years. It's a wonderful oil to use for due to its antibacterial components -- patchouli oil has been shown to help combat colds, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and abdominal pain, while also serving as a treatment for bad breath. As such, patchouli oil is highly recommended as an incense for when you're sick.
Frankincense has been considered an incense with a wealth of health benefits for a long time. It's been known to help with inflammation as well as containing anti-bacterial and antifungal components. Frankincense has appeared to be able to distinguish cancer cells from normal cells in the bladder and helps suppress the cancer cells' viability, which suggests this particular incense contains some anti-cancer properties.
The use of jasmine in aromatherapy can help with elevating moods and relieving depression. The use of this essential oil has been shown to increase breathing rates, blood oxygen saturation and systolic blood pressure, leaving people who used jasmine feeling more alert.
Sandalwood is an essential oil that contains alpha-santalol, a component that has shown to help reduce inflammation in the skin, as well as containing anti-cancer properties that help stop the development of various cancer models. Sandalwood is a key component of Nag Champa, one of the most popular types of incense in the world.
Lavender-based incense has been shown to a decrease in blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature while making you feel more relaxed. Lavender is used to calm the body and mind during stressful situations and leave you feeling with a fresher, more relaxed mood.
Rose is used in aromatherapy for its many health benefits, such as providing a relief of depression and providing more emotional energy. It's also been linked to provide many other benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant properties, as well as helping your respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms.
Myrrh, much like frankincense, has been shown to have many health benefits, such as being a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that is used to combat rheumatoid arthritis. Certain components in this essential oil are believed to potentially help the body fight against the development of certain cancers.
The smell of fresh citrus has its own selection of benefits -- the scent of citrus can boost serotonin in your brain and reduce the stress hormone norepinephrine, helping to elevate your mood. Lemon is especially useful in aromatherapy, as the scent of it can increase your mental stimulation. Either buying citrus-based incense or peeling fresh citrus fruit will help you yield these benefits.