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A Brief History of Incense

Incense placed at an altar. A person sits nearby in mediation pose, holding a bell.

Incense are a popular and widely used form of aromatherapy.

You're sure to find a plethora of different fragrances and styles in your local smoke shop or new age boutique.

Incense have been utilized around the world for centuries – from Greece and Egypt to Tibet and Norway. In most religious texts you’ll find that incense plays many different roles in the act of worshiping different deities, or as offerings to different gods and demigods. This includes the Chinese Dynasty, Taoist, Buddhist, Christian, Pagan, etc. Burning incense has been said to help aid in cleansing, or lift up prayers within its smoke. The first known utilization of incense began in the 4th century and uses spanned from banishing bad smells from garments to reaching the realm of the divine.

A woman holding incense near an altar.

Around the world creators have employed the sweet scents of tree resins, and roots to create these beautiful aromas in the form of incense.

Did you know that incense paved the way for all of the perfumed products in production today? From oils and colognes to scented candles – incense started it all. The foundation for all the ‘smell goods!’ In fact, the word 'perfume' is derived from the latin per and fumum, meaning by 'means of smoke.'

In this era, incense are still widely used. Here at Buddha's Bazaar many of our visitors come in every day in search of their preferred fragrance, brand and style. Many use it for covering the smell of smoke, or pets, or simply because they enjoy the aromatherapy it provides. Others grab some on their way out to a party for a mood setter, yoga teachers come in search of specific scents to burn during their classes, and others are practicing within different mediums and religions, so they will have certain metaphysical needs when considering their fragrances.

Incense are one of the few ritualistic tools that have truly stood the test of time. So next time you decide to pick up some incense rest assured that you will never have a hard time coming across fragrant and therapeutic options.

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Disclaimer: The thoughts and research contained within this article are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Buddha’s Bazaar.

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