Emily from Sword + Fern is totally my vibe guide for COOL SMELLZ. I have almost all of these special aroma-making nature bits at home and I love them a lot.
S+ F’s Incense Guide
Incense’s aroma-therapeutic abilities are undeniable. Each morning when I arrive at S+F I lightly burn some palo santo, frankincense, or patchouli leaf to clean the air and create a peaceful atmosphere. I like to think that, as the smoke curls upward, it carries away any negative thoughts or energy blocks. This ceremony is a wonderful place to begin my day. How do you use incense?
However you use it, S + F has a myriad selection of wild harvested and native incense possibilities to explore. Here is a brief guide to some of the magic each contains:
Patchouli Leaf, Pogostemon cablin-is a species from the genus Pogostemon and a bushy herb of the mint family: this is my personal favorite. Dried leaves can be burned as an aromatherapeutic medicine- it is used to calm nerves and control appetite, relieve depression, stress and lack of sexual interest. Steeped as a tea, Patchouli can enhance vitality, dream worlds and meditation. The leaf’s scent is not like the sticky-sweet synthetic patchouli we often encounter in incense sticks and perfume blends, but releases an earthy, almost mint-like scent that is powerfully cleansing and much more mildly pleasant.The fresh or dried leaves can also prepared as a poultice( steep the leaves in hot water and wrap in cloth, then apply) that helps aid healing minor burns and scrapes.
Frankincense,Boswellia carterii- This is a warm and sweet smelling tree resin growing predominantly on the Arabian Peninsula, but used and known all over the world for its healing powers.It was revered for it’s ability to improve communication with the creator in the Middle East for thousands of years before it was made a gift of to Christ by the Magi. In Ayurvedic medicine, frankincense is combined with turmeric to make teas, tinctures, or encapsulations for treating arthritis and muscle pain.I like to burn it in the autumn or winter on a hot coal to create a comforting ambience. The scent can elevate the mind and renew damp spirits.
Copal Resin,Hymenaea courbaril- Emily’s favorite for everyday burning. Harvested from the milky liquid found in Jatobá trees, this golden resin is widely used in ceremonies of indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America for its protective and purifying properties and emits a pleasant, spicy,almost pine-like scent .
Western Red Cedar,Thuja plicata-a native species in Oregon, the Western Red Cedar remains a sacred tree of strength. Known to Northwest Coast First Nations as the ‘Tree of Life’, every part of the tree were used practically by the indigenous folks all along the NW Coast for daily living- from ceremonies, to baby diapers to shelter. It’s astringent, balsamic scent is very soothing and helps clear the mind. I like to place piece of red cedar in chests with my sweaters and blankets to provide textiles with a clean and comforting wood-smoke scent.
Palo Santo, Bursera graveolens-Also called Holy Wood, Palo Santo is a sweet-smelling Peruvian wood that can be used for smudging due to its powers of purification. It is gathered from the Peruvian jungle floor as the trees shed their branches and twigs. It can easily be combined with resins and emits a rosy, woodsy aroma.
This provides a brief list of incenses at the shop that I have grown to love but there are more to be discovered and the joy of incense lies in how you choose to use them in your sacred spaces.-EH