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Incense and Aromatic Oils Natural Medicine to Soothe your Health, Home, and Spirit Author: Janice Theron When I was a little girl growing up in Pietermaritzburg, we used to walk and play in the pine plantations. I loved the smell, the peace, and the sound of the wind in the tall treetops. Nothing is better for the soul than walking on a bed of pine needles, listening to that pine tree breeze and inhaling those pine aromas. Little did I know that the pine tree produces pinene, a terpene with a wonderful, peppermint, peppery smell. Or that these pine tree terpenes have anti-inflammatory properties and treat depression, anxiety, and coughs. I did know in my soul that simply being in a forest is rejuvenating, immune boosting and anxiety-defeating. Breathing in Health Who would have thought that when we breathe in the smells of a pine tree forest, we are inhaling tiny chemicals in the air, released by the plant, called phytoncides? Phytoncides contain terpenes, the aromatic compounds that give plants their distinct scents. They are medicine for the trees. How cool is that?
Walking in a pine forest and breathing in these phytoncides automatically spurs your body into producing more white blood cells to protect the immune system. Japanese researchers think that being in forests more regularly could prevent cancer! No wonder essential oils have been used widely in natural medicine and aromatherapy for hundreds of years. Aromatherapy uses plant oils to cure human ailments such as anxiety, pain, insomnia, and fever.
Think about it; essential oils are the plant's oils, terpenes, scents, and natural health. How does it make you feel when you sniff a lavender flower or a rose? There is an emotional link between plant fragrances and our brains - your sense of smell can heal you. When breathed in, the scent molecules of the essential oils or the incense smoke float into the olfactory nerves and the brain, where they influence the amygdala, the seat of our emotions. Breathing in Nature's Offerings Did you know that your entire respiratory system includes your nose, sinuses, ears, throat and lungs? When you smell something good, your lungs benefit. In addition, you can boost your immune system by inhaling these plant oils from Nature. Your lungs protect your immune system when they filter the bad that you breathe from the air.
Lighting an incense stick brings a flood of memories that produce positive and negative emotions. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Greeks utilised the ancient healing properties of incense for centuries.
Even today, incense is used for religious ceremonies, to ward off evil and to attract good, to decrease bad smells and to enlighten the mood in homes, yoga studios and churches. It works. The incense you choose to burn at home is also made from plants – a complex blend of the essential gums, resins, wood powders, herbs and spices of a tree or plant. The intricacy of the human body is linked to the natural order of things. Boost your emotions, health, home, and spirit when you use essential oils or burn incense for an olfactory delight. Plant oils and powders are good for human health, well-being, and physiology because we ARE Nature. Let's return to the source, the source of all health.