Burning sandalwood incense releases a fragrant, woodsy odor. It doubles as a safer alternative to chemical air fresheners. The aroma will also relieve tension and anxiety, making it ideal for at-home stress relief. In turn, you’ll feel more relaxed and get better sleep. These benefits can even decrease systolic blood pressure and encourage wound healing. To protect your lungs, don’t burn incense every day. Use it in a well-ventilated, airy space
Burning incense has a huge role in cultural and religious practices. It’s also becoming increasingly popular in Western countries. These days, you can find incense in health food stores and groceries.
There are many types of incense, but sandalwood is well-loved. It’s made from the wood of the tree Santalum album.1
Aside from releasing an amazing aroma, burning sandalwood incense sticks will have these five benefits.
1. Relieves Anxiety
Feeling tense? Use sandalwood incense for natural relief. The scent is associated with lower levels of anxiety and stress – something we could all do without.
A study in the journal Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing observed these effects in women receiving breast biopsies. If sandalwood’s aroma can help them, imagine what it can do for you.
For even more stress relief, burn lavender incense simultaneously. The combination of both aromas has been shown to have an amazing impact on stress relief.2
2. Aids Better Sleep
The stress-busting impact of sandalwood makes it a great sedative. It’ll calm down your worried mind, helping you get some shut eye. It might be just what you need after a long day.3
In aromatherapy, sandalwood has been honored for its relaxing odor.4 Burn an incense stick while getting ready for bed. It’ll set the mood and create a comforting, soothing atmosphere.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Sandalwood’s relaxing aroma can even lower systolic blood pressure. This can force your body to calm down, especially if you’re feeling worked up from stress.5
It’s also beneficial for your heart. If your blood pressure is too high, it means that blood is forcefully pushing against your blood vessel walls. It also means that your heart is working extra hard to pump blood. This is stressful for both you and your heart.
By lowering your blood pressure, you’ll protect yourself against heart attack, stroke, and other forms of heart disease.6 Of course, sandalwood incense can’t solve the problem. But it can be a part of the bigger picture.
4. Heals Wound
The ability to heal wounds is a surprising benefit of sandalwood incense. It works by activating certain olfactory receptors, which can impact other processes in the body.
In turn, this induced pathways that stimulated keratinocytes or skin cells make keratin. These cells make up the outermost layer of the skin. The result? Better growth of epithelial tissue during wound healing.7
5. Acts As Natural Air Freshener
Sandalwood is prized for its woodsy, fragrant scent. Burning sandalwood incense will make your home smell amazing, especially if you’re trying to get rid of unpleasant odors.
It’s also safer than using store-bought air fresheners. These products don’t even truly deodorize the air. Instead, they add harsh chemicals to the environment. Many of these can change your hormones and potentially cause cancer.8
Incense smoke is still smoke. It can add to indoor air pollution, especially if ventilation is poor. This can be dangerous for people who spend most of their time indoors, like young children and elders.9
Studies have shown that daily exposure is linked to poor lung function.10 To protect your health, burn incense in moderation. Encourage good ventilation by opening windows and turning on fans. Avoid direct inhalation by never burning them in closed spaces. Instead, use incense in an airy, open spot.
The benefits on this list were found in sandalwood essential oil. However, sandalwood incense sticks are derived from the same plant. The aroma is the same, letting you reap the benefits of sandalwood.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Kim, Tae Hoon, Hideyuki Ito, Kikuyo Hayashi, Toshio Hasegawa, Takahisa Machiguchi, and Takashi Yoshida. “Aromatic Constituents from the Heartwood of Santalum album L.” Chemical and pharmaceutical bulletin 53, no. 6 (2005): 641-644.|
|2.||↑||Trambert, Renee, Mildred Ortu Kowalski, Betty Wu, Nimisha Mehta, and Paul Friedman. “A Randomized Controlled Trial Provides Evidence to Support Aromatherapy to Minimize Anxiety in Women Undergoing Breast Biopsy.” Worldviews on Evidence‐Based Nursing (2017).|
|3.||↑||Fujiwara, Yumi, and Michiho Ito. “Synergistic effect of fragrant herbs in Japanese scent sachets.” Planta medica 81, no. 03 (2015): 193-199.|
|4, 5.||↑||Hongratanaworakit, T., E. Heuberger, and G. Buchbauer. “Evaluation of the effects of East Indian sandalwood oil and α-santalol on humans after transdermal absorption.” Planta medica 70, no. 01 (2004): 3-7.|
|6.||↑||What Is High Blood Pressure? American Heart Association.|
|7.||↑||Busse, Daniela, Philipp Kudella, Nana-Maria Grüning, Günter Gisselmann, Sonja Ständer, Thomas Luger, Frank Jacobsen et al. “A synthetic sandalwood odorant induces wound-healing processes in human keratinocytes via the olfactory receptor OR2AT4.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 134, no. 11 (2014): 2823-2832.|
|8.||↑||Air Fresheners: What You Need to Know. Connecticut Department of Public Health.|
|9.||↑||RSCPHN, David Pontin PhD RN. “The health risks of incense use in the home: an underestimated source of indoor air pollution?.” Community Practitioner 89, no. 3 (2016): 36.|
|10.||↑||Chen, Yi-Chun, Wen-Chao Ho, and Yang-Hao Yu. “Adolescent lung function associated with incense burning and other environmental exposures at home.” Indoor Air (2016).|