Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Sure to create some smoke. . .and even some fire. . .

Warning Label:  Before you fire up your keyboard to post a comment, the Lutheran Church and your own Lutheran congregation are under little if any danger of even mentioning incense, much less being inundated by the smoke and smell of incense used in worship.  So do us all a favor and stop the tired and worn out warnings against incense, how you are allergic to it, and how ceremonies are free things among Lutherans.  Just give it a rest and read what this post says.  Since comments are moderated now, I may choose to ignore all of them.

The point of my post is to suggest that contrary to those who start coughing as soon as they even think about incense, science has proven certain health benefits.  Could it be that God in His knowledge of all things has provided us with a practice that has a certain salutary effect?  It is not only God-pleasing but good for us.

Borrowed from another website:

The catholic Church has used incense during religious services for millennia. Even before Christianity, Israelites used incense in worship, as the Psalmist records, “Let my prayer be incense before you; my uplifted hands an evening offering” (Psalm 141:2).

Incense became a central part of the Church’s liturgy, not only because of its symbolism, but also on account of medicinal benefits.

For example, in the famous Spanish church of Santiago de Compostela, medieval Christians created a large incense burner called the “Botafumeiro.” According to Atlas Obscura, “the incense … served to mask the smell of tired and unwashed pilgrims who crowded into the pews. It was also believed to have a preventative effect against [the] plague.”

Recently various scientific studies have confirmed the surprisingly purifying effects of frankincense.

One such study aimed to “test the effectiveness of their in situ application to cleanse microbially-contaminated air within the ambient of an investigated 17th-century church.”

The results of the study explained that, “The antimicrobial properties of essential oil derived from frankincense, a compound with well-known traditional use, showed that it possesses a clear potential as a natural antimicrobial agent. Moreover, the results suggest possible application of B. carteri EO vapor and incense fume as occasional air purifiers in sacral ambients, apart from daily church rituals.”

An article on the website Healthline claims “that burning myrrh and frankincense incense reduced airborne bacterial counts by 68%.”

Another study looked at frankincense essential oil and how it has anti-inflammation and anticancer effects.

Furthermore, it has been proven that burning frankincense even has the power to decrease depression. According to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, “Burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses.”

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