Chances are, for good or bad, you've experienced fragrant incense before. In the West, we tend to think og incense as a way to cover up bad smells or bring perfume-like fragrance into a space; but that's just one small part of the big blessing that is incense!
Who doesn't love a good Nag Champa, Sandalwood, or Cedar incense? While burning these classic fragrances can change the whole feel of a space, they're just the tip of the incense cone. The oldest uses of incense are actually medicinal and spiritual in nature, and that's what I'd like to explore with you here today.
When pure herbs are burnt, their many active constituents, oils, and energies are released into the atmosphere as smoke. This smoke is inhaled by us and works directly on the brain and heart center before working on the whole body system. One of the reasons why incense is such a popular addition to meditation, spiritual work, and mental balance work is that it tends to affect these areas of the being first and most strongly.
Scent in and of itself is medicinal. The right fragrance can calm the limbic system of the brain bringing emotional calm and harmony. Scents can often call up pleasant memories that help us immerse ourselves in the good feelings of those associations. They also cause active cascades of change in the body system which can affect emotions, mental state, immunity, digestion, stress response, mental clarity, and more. The whole art and science of aromatherapy is built on the power of scent, and it has its own roots in the raw burning of plant materials.
BENEFITS OF MEDICINAL INCENSE
NOT SO SWEET
Did you know what most commercial incense varieties include materials like glue, rubber, saltpeter, charcoal, chemical combustibles, and industrial adhesives? Not to mention the fragrance more often than not is not plant derives but comes from complex chemicals that give incense its strong, sometimes overwhelming scent profile.
When working with incense for wellness, or just when you want to enjoy something that's doing more good than harm, it's important to choose blends that are made only from plant materials and have been formulated for balance and ease on the body system. There's such a thing as too much smoke and a suffocating level of scent. Gentleness, balance, and ease are hallmarks of a good medicinal incense.
In our housemade medicinal incenses, we use only whole plant materials. We start by grinding the herbal blend down to a fine powder, then add gums and resins like copal, myrrh, and dragon's blood. Next up we mix in organic hydrosols and spring water. We blend each small batch by hands following lunar tides, and work only with organic herbs. Enjoy!
LEARN INCENSE CRAFTING
Join us at this year's DIY Festival for an immersive workshop on incense making with Herbalist Josh Williams.
Sunday August 11, 2019 @ 5:00pm
Introduction to Herbalism - August 31 @ 5pm
Join us for our most popular class!
In this fun, fast-paced presentation we explore the many traditions, approaches, and gifts of herbalism all while experiencing many herbal remedies and meeting many medicinal herbs along the way. Each class is different and will often include seasonally-relevant wellness themes and lots of foundational herbal inspiration.
Saturday August 31
5pm - 6:30pm
Come get dig in to herbalism with us!
Herbal Magic Intensive - September 22 @ 3pm
Only a few left!
Join Herbalist Josh Williams for a special 3-hour herb magic intensive workshop that will take you on a deep, empowering journey into the ancient practice of working with natural herbal energies to call forth positive manifestation.
Sunday September 22
3pm - 6pm
This workshop is suitable for folks of all experience levels. We'll start from the beginning and give you powerful, solid wisdom and hands-on experiences from Josh's Green Craft tradition while exploring many magical herbs, spellcrafting techniques, meditations, recipes, and some very special bits and pieces of magical love.
Workshop is limited to 8 participants. Due to the complex preparations needed for this event, refunds will not be available. Please RSVP early to save your seat- this workshop always goes fast!
Medicinal Incense Workshop - September 14 @ 5pm
Join Herbalist Josh Williams for a hands-on, super messy exploration of medicinal incense!
In this class we'll learn about the history, traditions, and applications of incense as herbal medicine, then get busy creating our own hand-rolled herbal incense joss sticks made entirely of botanicals.
Saturday September 14
5pm - 7pm
We'll cover many of the best therapeutic herbs to use in incense, talk about recipes and formulas, learn about commercial incense, and finish the event with a magical incense ceremony.
This is a small class to afford space for everyone to create. Please RSVP early to save your spot.