Burning incense sticks

Considered as the oldest perfume in the world, incense is released by its smell, but also by the myths surrounding its use. If incense is a traditional perfume in some civilizations, it is also part of several religious and spiritual rites. Beyond this specific use, it is also a therapeutic perfume whose use transcends years and borders. Here is everything you need to know about this perfume.


What is incense?

Frankincense, also called Olibanum, is an exfoliating resin obtained from the exudation of the Boswellia tree. It is a small shrub of the same family of Buseraceae whose leaves are deciduous and whose trunks can reach a height of 2 to 8 meters.

It is extracted from the woods, leaves, plants, but also from the gums of the trees. The woods are incised to obtain incense. The best resin is obtained two to three weeks after secretion, when the drops of resin have solidified.

The typical tree grows in subtropical regions on calcareous soils. It is generally found in the heights of the Arabian Peninsula at an altitude of 1200 meters, but also in the African desert areas such as Ethiopia, Somalia, but also in Yemen. It can be recognized by its fine texture like that of paper and its branches covered with down.


The different kinds of incense according to its origin

There are two kinds. White incense is collected in autumn, after an incision in summer. It is the best resin. The red incense is collected in spring after an incision in winter. The tree can produce about ten kilos of automatic resin per year, to create scented incense.

Its use is diversified. But most of the time, it is consumed to extract a balsamic smell. Other scents of wood, flowers, leaves, benzoin and many others are also mixed in. Today, it is possible to make it from any tree.





Origin and history of incense

To incense and attributed several origins. If the oldest dates back to antiquity, the most famous one dates back to the beginnings of the Christian religion, especially Catholicism.

Incense in Antiquity

Prestigious, incense is more precious than gold. Its origin dates back to the age of Antiquity, when several Arab kingdoms made their fortune on the incense route. It was considered a deity to which the people worshipped. In the Middle Ages, the product was very expensive and represented a currency of exchange between Arab and Western merchants. This is due to the fact that the journey of the Arab caravans was very long and painful.

Incense and religions

Among the ancient people, it was used in the rite of celebrating the dead. Offered to the dead, it was considered a substance capable of keeping the corpse in good shape, but also of assuring immortality to the dead. During the deification of the dead, incense was offered as an act of homage. The smoke from the incense paid homage to the gods. It is also supposed to carry the souls of the dead and the prayers of the living to heaven.

In Christianity

In Christianity, incense was burned to perpetuate the rituals in the Old Testament. It consisted of bringing gifts to Christ. The Catholic religion also perpetuates this tradition today by using it as an offering, a call to prayer and many others.

For each specific rite, it was burned in a censer. The smoke that rises to the sky symbolizes the prayers that come to God. Churches began to use incense in the liturgy, but later gave up the practice or else they would make it a pagan rite. It was not until long afterwards that the rite returned to the church.

Incense according to Japanese tradition

The Japanese are one of the civilizations that devote a true cult to incense smoke. Among the Japanese "we listen to incense". The act is translated by concentration and meditation. This allows, among other things, to hear the word of the Buddha. In Japan, it is the statues of divinity that are incensed. The fumes are offered to them as a purification. When the smoke rises, it also carries away the soul.

In addition, it is also used in Japan to drive away evil spirits. The pavilions were scented to drive away dark spirits.

Incense in Vietnam

In Vietnam, especially in the most difficult to access and less civilized areas, it is valuable. It is worth gold. Only an elected representative could cut the wood for incense.

Incense and the Queen of Sheba

The most wonderful story of incense is that of the Queen of Sheba. This queen reigned over Yemen, northern Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Queen of Sheba was known for her meeting with King Solomon when she brought him the same gifts given to Jesus by the Magi. Indeed, this empress came with a lot of prestigious gifts, including spices, myrrh, precious stones, incense, and much gold.

This is one of the most wonderful gifts the king has received since his reign and even after the visit of the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon will not have another gift of such magnitude.




The manufacture of incense

According to the belief and symbol around incense, there are different forms. It can be molded in the form of a cone, stick or resin. It also depends on the manufacturing technique.

Generally, it can be in the form of raw resin, spices, powders, spice wood or wood chips. If the typical tree is not available in certain regions, it is also possible to make incense from camphor, myrrh or white sandalwood powder and many other types of trees or plants.


The therapeutic virtues of incense

The therapeutic virtues of incense on both body and soul are numerous.

It is used to overcome depression and temporary states of sorrow. Its scent is enough to trigger the olfactory nerve which will directly reach the brain to release the hormones of well-being and inner peace.

The substance also acts on the neuro-vegetative system and helps to regulate the hormones so that they function well.

Incense also has antibacterial properties. Smoke passing into the bloodstream and the lungs can cure lung infections.

The scent of this substance also has relaxing properties. It soothes and calms the body. Breathing in a good scent allows the brain to relax, but also makes the soul travel.


The different uses of incense according to civilizations

Each civilization has a symbolic or spiritual use. Each differs from the other, in some countries it is related to religion and belief, in others it has a more spiritual or medicinal dimension.

In Africa

African myrrh incense is obtained from warm, pleasant and sensual resin crystals. It has relaxing, calming, but also antibacterial virtues. It is most often used to clean the respiratory tract, but also to purify the air. In some countries, such as Mali, it is burned to extract the perfume.

In Vietnam

In Vietnam as in Japan, it is used as a resin stick during a symbolic and spiritual ceremony.

In Yemen

Myrrh incense in Yemen is fragrant. It is used to perfume the body; women often wear it during large ceremonies such as weddings.

In Egypt

In Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs, it was considered an exceptional curative medicine. Its therapeutic properties made it possible to use it to cure certain diseases of the body. It could indeed cure lung diseases or liver diseases.

In Persia

The women of the kings of Persia used myrrh incense to perfume themselves. They embalmed their bodies and clothing with this perfume.




During meditation

Known for its calming and soothing virtues, incense is also used during the practice of meditation, especially during the breathing phase. It allows to release all sensations of discomfort to reach the peak of well-being.

Since breathing in the good smell releases happiness hormones, incense is also used to combat low morale.


The right incense at the right time

There are certain moments in life when you can use it to benefit from its multiple virtues. You don't choose perfume by chance. At each moment, the right incense.

• The incense of frankincense, myrrh, sage, benzoin or rosewood is excellent to purify the house, get rid of negative energies or accumulated dirt and bad smells.
• The lotus and lily of the valley note is perfect to bring well-being and freshness to the soul. While getting rid of black spirits.
• Rose incense promotes joy and combats sadness. It is conducive to develop friendship.
• The flowers of cherry trees allow to perfume the house when you receive guests.
• The spicy sandalwood acts on the inner balance and promotes inner peace and harmony of body and soul.
• In case of loss of energy or during moments of depression, burning incense of wood, cinnamon, clove or vanilla allows you to regain your energy and optimism.
• In lack of inspiration, smelling and breathing cinnamon incense as well as star anise awakens creativity.
• In case of physical fatigue, sandalwood and herbs provide warmth and a feeling of well-being.
• Need to concentrate or make a crucial decision, smelling cypress incense is excellent to soothe doubts.
• To unfold passion and sensuality, musk resin is the most appropriate.
• To unfold love and affection, white plum is the ideal incense.
• In case of agitation, stress and anxiety, benzoin, white sandalwood or lavender call for calm and serenity.
• Sandalwood is generally used to appeal to consciousness and awakening.
• For comfort and relaxation, blue iris incense has many benefits.
• In case of insomnia or difficulty sleeping, burn sandalwood and cinnamon essence to promote sleep.
• For the work of reflection, concentration or meditation, incense of olibanum, cedar, sandalwood, cypress or aloe wood call for spiritual serenity.



Incense is a virtuous substance. It is full of benefits for every phase of daily life. To be used for its therapeutic virtues or simply as a perfume that stimulates the olfactory organ, it is a product that has not lost any of its virtues over the years. Don't wait any longer to buy or make your own incense.