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What Is The Science Behind Incense Sticks?

 

As discussed in one of our previous blogs, incense is an aromatic material that has been around us since historic times. In various cultures and civilizations, be it in Greek, Rome, Egyptian culture or Indus civilization, incense has been an integral part of human lives. It’s used in many different ways, in many different forms and for many different purposes. But today, we are gonna talk specifically about the most common form of incense we use, i.e. the incense sticks, commonly known as the joss sticks. You may ask - What are these incense sticks? How to use them? And most importantly, why should you use them? Let’s explore each question one by one and find out the necessity of incense sticks in our day-to-day lives.

Incense, derived from the Latin word incendere, means ‘to burn’. Since ancient times, incense has been made and burned in various forms, be it in the form of sticks, cones, coils, granular powder, etc. We can thus broadly classify incense based on how these various forms are burned - Indirect burning incense and Direct burning incense.


Indirect burning incense
Indirect burning incense, also known as ‘non-combustible incense’, is a combination of various aromatic materials, which are burned using an external heat source. This heat is generally provided by charcoal or glowing embers.

Direct burning incense
Direct burning incense, also known as ‘combustible incense’ is lit directly by a flame. It doesn’t require a separate heat source for continuous burning. Once lit, one can fan off the flame and it continues to burn thus emitting the fragrance all around us. Our incense sticks come under this category.

What are incense sticks?
Incense sticks are mainly made up of two materials, the inner material is the aromatic one and the outer material acts as supporting material for binding purposes. The inner aromatic material is made using a variety of resins, seeds, roots, barks and flowers. Depending on the manufacturer and the specific region, one can find ingredients such as frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, sandalwood, etc. The outer binding material is combustible and hence requires something which can burn effectively - here, mostly charcoal and wood powders are used.
Talking in terms of different cultures, incense sticks are made according to their history and cultural traditions. In India and the West, a fine bamboo stick is used in the middle of the incense stick for extra support and durability. While in China and Japan, you won’t find bamboo sticks. The inner material is rolled directly and is covered with the outer material. Now that we know what incense sticks are made up of, let’s find out how one should use them.

How to use incense sticks?
As explained above, one can simply burn by lighting the tip of the incense stick and then fanning it off. Thus, the ember or the charcoal will burn as the fragrance will encapsulate our surroundings.
Depending on the material used, the durability of an incense stick varies between 50 and 90 minutes. One should always use an incense stick stand or an incense holder to avoid any health hazards.
We now know the whats and hows of our incense sticks. Let us finally explore why we should use them!


The real Science behind using Incense sticks - Why should we use them?
The usage of incense can be traced back to the Vedas of Hindu culture and during the inception of Buddhism. Due to the presence of essential oils and various natural plant materials, incense sticks can be used to naturally purify the air and remove any negative energy in the environment. This is the main reason why one may find incense sticks in yoga sessions, in ritual places, in spas, in aromatherapy, etc. The benefits are as follows:

  1. Improves the air quality: The positive and aromatic ingredients present in the incense material negates any negative energy in the environment, thus improves the overall air quality.
  2. Increases focus and concentration: Science has proven the fact that our focus and concentration increases when our olfactory senses are showered with refreshing scents and perfumes. Inhaling the aroma emitted from these incense sticks helps us to focus and thus increases our overall productivity.
  3. Yoga and meditation: As explained above, if one uses incense sticks during their Yoga session, one may find calmness and serenity which helps to balance our inner mind and soul.
  4. Stress reliever: One tip for you - if you are ever under some form of stress or anxiety, burning an incense stick will soothe your mind and can help you to destress yourself.
  5. Healing purposes: In aromatherapy, one can use these incense sticks to heal themselves. Hinduism and Buddhism cultures have been following these practices since ages.

Thus, you can see we started inculcating incense sticks in our day to day lives since ancient times and seeing the numerous benefits, they are here to stay. Our HEM corporation provides you with a number of options to choose from and helps you to enlighten your mind, soul and body.

Also Read: 10 Reasons Why You Should Burn An Incense