Monday, July 7, 2008

History of Incense

Incense-grains of resins (sometimes mixed with spices) that burn with a fragrant odor, widely used as an oblation. It is commonly sprinkled on lighted charcoal contained in a censer, or thurible.

Light, extinguish, enjoy. To date incense is one of the worlds' best discoveries. A blend of aromatic ingredients that bring forth beneficial effects on body and mind. Incense are available in many different forms, sticks, cones, powder, rocks (resin, sap), and botanical mixtures. Incense has been used for centuries by many of the Ancients for their medical practice and spiritual traditions. Some modern day enthusiast follow the practice of their forefathers, however, most burn incense for pleasure, relaxation, and just because they smell good.

Historically, the chief substances used as incense were Frankincense and Myrrh. These resins were combined with aromatic wood and bark, seeds, roots, and flowers. The ancient Hebrews used an incense mixture of Frankincense, storax (bitter gum resin), onycha (membrane of a mollusk), galbanum (bitter gum resin), and spices with salt added as a preservative (Exodus 30). Frankincense and Myrrh resins are still used today in many homes. The resins are burned on charcoal, placed in a censer, offering up a sweet aroma. Credit is given to China and Japan for today's most commonly used incense, the stick and cone. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the stick incense was developed. The craft of creating incense became so very popular in Japan that entire schools were committed to the art. In the late 1800s during the World's Fair in Chicago, Japan introduced its latest invention, the cone incense.