Holy Smokes – Does Incense Get You High?

Did you ever notice that unique calm you experience from the smell of incense?  Sort of feels like a “high,” right? Well, scientists are now suggesting that the smoke from some incense can relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression and produce an overall calm effect. Surprise. Surprise. Stoners have been saying that for years.  Really, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that if you burn the right plant resin you will get high.

“Incense represents a way to experience a particular plant through it’s smoke”.

Nicely put but it still sounds like getting high to me.  I wonder what would happen if I left my Xanax at home and got on an airplane with incense cones plugged in my nose?

I love to burn incense. Frankincense is one of my favorites. It has a very pungent, sweet smell and is a fantastic mood enhancer (second to Prozac).  It can help to dispel fear and promote healthier thoughts as well as self-confidence. It is a valuable tool in cleansing and clearing the mind of negative chatter. It can open up our intuition to help create a greater relationship with God, Source, the Universe, All That Is or whatever name you feel in alignment with giving to this powerful connection.

I often use Frankincense for meditation. Its uplifting aroma is perfect for grounding and connecting to spirit which is why it is has been used in churches and religious rituals throughout history.

As a gift to the child, Jesus, the three Magis brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to Nazareth. Each of these gifts had practical as well as symbolic meaning. The gold was meant to represent the status of Jesus as a king. While gold brings comfort, (for a Jewish girl nothing brings me more comfort than a jewelry store full of glittering and sparkly gold) frankincense and myrrh have been used throughout history as aids for spiritual transcendence and peace; to manifest Heaven on Earth.

As a gift for Jesus, Frankincense was included because it symbolized the priesthood of Jesus and his divinity; his stature as a spiritual leader and teacher.  It is known to help us to detach from that which doesn’t have deeper spiritual meaning, such as over attention to materialism (like jewelry stores – which is one reason I burn it or I’d be broke), therefore helping us to better integrate with our Higher Self.

Frankincense is most often burned with Myrrh.  Myrrh is known to unite Heaven and Earth within each person, blending the spiritual with the physical.  Myrrh was given to Jesus symbolically to represent his humanity and ultimately, his death and burial.

I also like to burn dragons blood. No dragons are ever harmed when extracting this incense. This red colored resin is actually obtained from certain plants and has been used since ancient times as incense, dye and also for medicinal purposes.

My husband, Al, recently began a meditation practice. For those of you who consistently read my blog, you know that Al is a bit “quirky.” He read on “the internet” (so it must be true) about how incense can enhance the meditation experience. Al is like a dog with a bone when he gets an idea in his head.  The area that we live in doesn’t have too many metaphysical shops which makes it a bit difficult to get good incense locally.  The closest shop to me is about 40 minutes so if you run out of incense and you’re jonesing for it, you could be in trouble. (If I’m really in a bind, I will go into my spice cabinet, take out some rosemary and light it up!)

Fortunately, Al has solved that problem by stocking up on our favorite incense aromas. Here is a sample of our personal collection and trust me, there’s more on the way. Al can’t resist an “add on” item from Amazon.


Speaking of shopping addictions………….

I think I’ve mentioned before how Al is like a kid in a candy store when it comes to the internet.  Those little ads that pop up and offer you items “for only $4.95 shipping” trigger something in his brain and he can’t control himself.

Al:     Honey, I tried to buy you a present today.

Me:   Really, you drove 2 hours to Nordstrom to pick up that bracelet I wanted?

Al:     No, even better.

Me:    Oy. What did you do now?

Al:     You know how you always say you don’t like the wrinkle on your neck?

Me:   The wrinkle? You mean where my neck looks like one of those Chinese Shar-Pei dogs?

Al:    Well, I got you a present to fix it.

Me:   You told me you didn’t notice the wrinkle.

Al:    I don’t but it really seems to bother you so I thought I would  help.

Me:  Okay, I’m scared. What did you do?

Al:    When I was on the internet this ad popped up. It was offering this miracle wrinkle cream for only $4.95 shipping – a free trial. So, I bought it for you.

Me:     You bought it for me, huh?

Al:     Yep, but here’s the weird thing.  I got denied by the company.

Me:   The wrinkle cream company denied you? What did you do, send them my picture?

Al:    It just said my order was declined.

Me:   So what did you do?

Al:    I ordered it again.

Me:  And?

Al:   It was declined again.

Me:  (taking a deep breath) Al, I’m willing to bet that the wrinkle cream company didn’t “decline” you.  I’m sure it was our credit card company declining the charge because this shit is a SCAM!

Al: (obviously hurt and upset)  What do you mean? It is not. The ad showed before and after photos of women who used the cream. There were also written testimonials. And, I thought you would really like it because it has all natural ingredients.  Plus, I read the fine print – no strings attached.

Me:   Well, now that they have our credit card number I’m sure we’ll start getting monthly shipments.

Al:    No, I’m telling you. It wasn’t a scam. I don’t know why you’re so mad. I was just trying to do something nice for you.

Me:   I’m not mad. I’m highly amused.

I’m sure you all are dying to know what happened, right?  Later that night I was checking my email and found two emails from our bank asking us if we made these charges to the wrinkle cream company.  Sigh. Fortunately, the charges were declined as possibly “fraudulent” and the bank  was letting me know this out of courtesy.

I checked our card account and didn’t see any charges. End of story. No harm no foul.  (Al, I swear I’m going to put parental controls on your Ipad).

A week later my “wrinkle cream” arrived in the mail. Al was so excited I thought he was going to pee himself.  He handed it to me proudly with an “I told you so look”.

I opened the package. I think you can see from the picture what the natural ingredient is…..Snake venom! Really? Yes, really. You can’t make this stuff up. (I better call the credit card company again)


Al:  Are you going to try it?

Me:   Um, no.

Al:    Why not?

Me:   You want me to put snake venom on my face and neck? I don’t even see a list of other ingredients on the package. So no, I’m not going to use it; I’m going to blog about it.

Al:   Well how about if I use it on my neck first?

Me:   Sure, go ahead. I just paid your life insurance premium.

Stay tuned.