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9 Herbs You Can Burn as Incense

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Nine Herbs With Outstanding Health Benefits When Burned as Incense

When we think “aromatherapy”, we tend to think of it mostly in the sense of essential oils. We take the oils, disperse them, and enjoy the fragrance and health benefits.  However,  there are other forms of aromatherapy that might be overlooked at times. Some have been practiced for many centuries, and are quite beneficial!

Plants bring us so many health benefits. Healing teas, tinctures, capsules, and oils made from plants are filled with goodness and enhance our well being tremendously. However, long before the technology existed to create distilled essential oils from plants so economically, people still found many ways to enjoy enhanced wellness through aromatherapy.

One time proven, low-tech method for achieving aromatherapy benefits is burning healing herbs as incense. This is about as simple as it gets, and it works! Here are a few popular herbs with known benefits when used as incense.

Lavender – dried lavender flowers have a delightful, refreshing aroma when burned. They are often used in ceremonies where peace, deep sleep, and joy is sought. Lavender is also known for benefits in helping lift depression and ease sorrow and anxiety. Lavender’s ability to stimulate clarity and peace makes it ideal for burning while practicing meditation or yoga. After a workout, you can burn lavender incense to help relieve the tightness and tension in your body.

Juniper – this is an evergreen that is particularly helpful for giving you a lift when your mind and body are tired after a long day. It has a colorful, storied history. The juniper berries have a fairly high oil content, thus they will produce a good bit of smoke and aroma when burned. The branches of juniper were at one time used for temple purification rituals.

Mugwort – dried mugwort is used historically to remove and cleanse negative energies around you. It features a subtle, sweet scent when burned. It is an easy to grow plant. When used as an incense before bed, it’s known to help stimulate dreams.

Please continue reading below for more information about burning herbs as incense, and take a moment to like and share!

If you’ve ever burnt herbs for incense in your home, you’ve experienced yet another simple way to interact with the beneficial aspects of plants. When we use incense in a purposeful way it’s called smudge. Smudging is the burning of herbs in a ceremonial way. Most of the herbs that have been used around the world have a beautiful scent that you’ll love to have throughout your house.

When you burn dried herbs or resins, you’ll need a heat tolerant vessel. Traditionally this is an abalone shell with a bit of sand in the bottom. You might also use a charcoal disc beneath the herbs to keep them smoking, especially in the case of resins. Here are some plants commonly used as incense and why they are burnt. Try growing some of them on your own property.

1. Cedar (Thuja spp.)
A sacred plant to many cultures, cedar has been used both to purify and drive out negative energy, as well as bring in good influences. It is often burnt to bless a new house just as people are moving in.

2. Sage (Salvia spp.)
Quite possibly the best-known ceremonial smudge plant, sage used for meditation, cleansing and purification. Many people burn it throughout their homes after a fight or to cleanse the energy left behind by a negative person.

3. Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata)
This plant was sacred to the Native Americans. It’s often braided before it dries, which is how you will find it for purchase. Sweetgrass has a light, sweet scent when burnt and is often used in conjunction with sage. After sage has chased out bad energy, sweetgrass attracts positive energy into the space. It is good for cleansing sacred space and is burned by many during prayers.

4. Frankincense (Boswellia spp.)
Frankincense is the dried resin of an African tree. Once prized equally with myrrh and gold, it’s used in meditation and healing. This herb has a long history, especially known for cleansing and protecting the soul. I have heard of it being used to help ease the transition into death when it’s necessary for someone to let go.

5. Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
Myrrh is another valuable resin, which comes from a nearly leafless Middle Eastern shrub. Ancient Egyptians used it for healing and to embalm bodies. It is currently used for meditation, spirituality, happiness, transformation, strength, confidence and stability.

6. Rose (Rosa spp.)
Who knew people burn dried rose petals for incense? In this form, this beautiful flower retains its abilities with attracting love and enhancing a romantic environment. It is also used for meditation and encouraging peace.

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