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Brief History of Incense

is a made from natural herbs, plants and flowers. Some incense is added with essential oil, animal matters and perfumes for religious and therapeutic purposes. Incense was also used as a time keeping tool in the past which is evident in the Japanese and Chinese civilisation. In India, it has been extensively used in Buddhism and Hinduism as offerings. To a lesser extent, traditional Christian dominations (except in Protestant and non-denominational congregations) had also used incense in their religious ceremonies and worship. Common incense known and being used around the world include Sandalwood.

India’s incense burning tradition had great influence on Tibet. Tibetan Incense was transmitted from India during the time of Thonmi Sambota, Minister of the Tu Bo Dynasty (A.D. 700) and Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), founder of the Tibetan or Tantric school of Buddhism in the 8th century. Indian incense recipes or formulas actually originated from ancient Vedic texts that are based on even older Ayurvedic medical texts.

Tibetan herbal incense is one of the cultural heritages of Tibet that has over 1200 years of history. It is also used for curing sicknesses in some instances based on Tibetan Medical Theory. But due to commercialisation of incense making, the making methods and formulas have become degenerated which give rise to ‘imitation’ or poor quality incense.


Brief History of Essential Oil


Esssential oils and aromatherapy has been used since the time of ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece, Indus Valley etc. In ancient Egypt, plant oils were widely used for cosmetics, spiritual relaxation, as well as for embalming and mummification of their deads. At that age, on special occasions women and men used to wear on their heads a gradually-melting solid cone that released its fragrance. As a consequence of the Egyptians’ love for aromatic plants and herbs, the fragrance industry and aromatic medicine were developed more than in any other ancient culture. 

Greeks borrowed many healing and relaxation techniques from the Egyptians. They used herbs and aromatherapy oils for medicines and cosmetics. For example, the Greeks relied on plant oils to reduce inflammation and heal wounds, and the great physician Hippocrates recommended baths and massage with aromatic oils as conducive to good health. 

An essential oil is a concentrated, hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. They are also known as volatile or ethereal oils, or simply as the "oil of" the plant material from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant. Essential oils do not as a group need to have any specific chemical properties in common, beyond conveying characteristic fragrances. They are not to be confused with essential fatty acids.

Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation. Other processes include expression, or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics and bath products, for flavoring food and drink, and for scenting incense.

Various essential oils have been used medicinally at different periods in history. Medical applications proposed by those who sell medicinal oils range from skin treatments to remedies for cancer, and are often based on historical use of these oils for these purposes. Such claims are now subject to regulation in most countries, and have grown correspondingly more vague, to stay within these regulations.

Interest in essential oils has revived in recent decades, with the popularity of aromatherapy, a branch of alternative medicine which claims that the specific aromas carried by essential oils have curative effects. Oils are volatilized or diluted in a carrier oil and used in massage, or burned as incense, for example.



About Tibetan Herbal Incense

Tibetan incense usually refers to a common style of incense found in Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. It is an important representation of the Tibetan culture. Tibetan used to pay tribute to the Chinese Emperor using the Tibetan incense as a form of highest respect. These incenses have a characteristic "earthy" or herbal scent to them. Tibetan incenses can contain 30 or more ingredients.

In Tibetan medical field, Tibetan incense is recognised as a way of treatment for sickness. This information can be found in Tibetan medical books which originated from the 4 Tantras (Root Tantra, Tantra of Enlightenment, Tantra of Instructions, Concluding Tantra)  which is also known as rGyudbzhi in Tibetan. To this day, it is the central work upon which Tibetan medicine is based. Tibetan medical theory states that everything in the universe is made up of the 5 proto-elements sa (Earth), chu (Water), me (Fire), rLung (Wind or Air), and Nam-mkha (Space). But only four play a role in the classification of our illnesses, except Nam-mkha (Space). Each element contains 8 active forces and 17 qualities. Some these elements are contained in our three bodily energies and their imbalance affects the equilibrium of the three ‘fluids’ (rLung, mkhrispa and badkan). Further reading can be found in various Tibetan Medical Theory books.

Tibetan incense usually originates from a traditional monastery or medical college/hospital formulation. In order words, incense follows a particular ‘Lineage’ which can be traced back to the originator. Over the years, Tibetan incense making have been populated and commercialised which leads to incense formulation by non authentic makers. This has affected and degenerated the Tibetan incense formulation and making methods, which forms an important part of the unique Tibetan Culture.
Now Tibetan Herbal incense are also being made of furniture or construction waste wood!..


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