Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December Gift Guide 2015 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store†and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.

The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

Using Incense to Cure Headaches

This article was written by Ember Grant
posted under Health & Healing

The world of aromatherapy suggests many types of essential oils that are useful for healing. But incense can also be utilized as a remedy for certain conditions. Headaches are a common ailment many people face, but with the calming effects produced by certain aromas, symptoms can be relieved.

Incense and aromatherapy work because our sense of smell is a direct path to the brain. This process activates our Limbic System and is the reason why certain odors trigger an immediate response. Particular aromas are known to stimulate the brain to produce essential chemicals. Weíre familiar with some of these such as serotonin and dopamine, which cause feelings of happiness, relaxation and contentment. In addition, many of the ingredients used in incense contain phytochemicals, which are chemicals found in plants that have protective, disease-preventing properties.

First, itís necessary to pinpoint the reason for the headache. Is it stress, hormones, sinusitis? In this way you can target an appropriate remedy. Naturally, keep in mind that incense or aromatherapy is not a substitute for seeking medical attention. Once you have attempted to identify the cause of the discomfort, you can find the particular ingredient for your symptoms. Here are three types of incense recommended for headache relief:

  • Borneol (Drybalanops camphora), a resin derived from the camphor tree, is refreshing and cleansing. Its camphor-like aroma opens the nasal passages, so itís especially beneficial for headaches brought on by sinus problems. Borneol smells wonderful even when itís not burning. The Chinese call it ďThe Brain of the Dragon.Ē It kills bacteria, purifies the air, and stimulates the adrenal cortex of the brain. Borneol is a primary ingredient in Buddhist incense.

  • Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi), a woody herb found mainly in Nepal, is closely related to valerian. The dried roots are used, and have a musky aroma that helps enhance contemplation. Its sedative properties are useful for easing headaches, migraines, and relieving stress.

  • Star Anise (Illicium verum) comes from a small tree native to southwestern China that produces a fruit that ripens into the shape of a star. It is well-known for its licorice taste, of which an extract is used in making true licorice. Star Anise contains certain phytochemicals and ACE inhibitors, which lower blood pressure. This can produce a calming effect and help reduce pain.

For headache relief simply breathe in the smoke. If youíre using good quality incense the smoke will be light colored or whiteóit should never be black. This indicates the presence of impurities. Hold the incense burner if itís not hot or set it in front of you on a table. As the smoke rises, cup your hand through the stream and slowly, gently beckon the smoke toward you. Breathe normally. Donít inhale too deeply at first. You can gradually deepen your breathing, but never inhale so much that it makes you uncomfortable. Continue to do this for a few minutes then allow the incense to permeate the room. Lie down, cover your eyes, and relax. Use an herb-scented eye pillow if you have one. These can often be found scented with lavender, another herb that helps alleviate headaches.

Try to find these ingredients in stick incense form or look for the loose resins and wood and burn them on a bamboo charcoal to avoid toxic chemicals. If you can, grind the ingredients all together with mortar and pestle to make an all-purpose headache relief blend. Always remember to beware of the artificial joss-stick type of incense. These can actually cause a headache, along with respiratory problems.

The use of incense and other aromas can be beneficial for healing. But always consult a professional if the condition continues. Combined with other natural techniques for mind, body, and spirit, incense can add depth and dimension to holistic healing practicesóin addition to producing a relaxing and fragrant environment.

Ember Grant
Ember Grant (Missouri) has been collecting rocks and minerals for thirty years and practicing crystal magic for fifteen. Since 2003, she has contributed to Llewellyn's Magical Almanac, Llewellyn's Herbal Almanac, Llewellyn's Spell-A-Day Almanac, and...  Read more


The Book of Crystal Spells
The Book of Crystal Spells
Magical Uses for Stones, Crystals, Minerals ... and Even Sand
Ember Grant
$16.99 US,  $19.50 CAN
$13.59 US,  $15.60 CAN On Sale! | Add to Cart
Magical Candle Crafting
Magical Candle Crafting
Create Your Own Candles for Spells & Rituals
Ember Grant
$16.95 US,  $19.50 CAN | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

A few years ago, my youngest son was arguing with his friend about the age of Honey, our wild golden retriever. His friend insisted that Honey was five, because the dog had been alive that many years. Said Gabe, "Sometimes Honey is really one, like when he chews our shoes; sometimes he's 89, like when he pretends he's too old to listen when you... read this article
How to Successfully Navigate a Mercury Retrograde
Psychic Vision: 3 Easy Ways
An Accessible Guide to the Thoth Tarot
How Strengthening My Spirituality Helped Me With My Cancer Diagnosis
5 Ways to Embrace Your Home as an Archetype of the Divine Feminine

Most recent posts:
A Fresh View of Judgement
In my opinion, the Judgement card needs a rename as much as the Hierophant. It is such an important card and so many people seem to misunderstand it....

Wishing On a Falling Star: My Favorite Chakra
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Cyndi Dale, author of a number of books, including The Complete Book of Chakra Healing and the new...

Thank you, Carl
Letís start by saying I canít believe Iím writing another remembrance on this blog. Iíve lost too many authors in the 10 years Iíve worked for...

Love in the Stars Love in the Stars
Find Your Perfect Match With Astrology

By: Brad Kronen
Price: $21.99 US,  $25.50 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
$9.59 US,  $11.99 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
$11.19 US,  $13.59 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2016 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Astrological Calendar
83rd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.99 CAN
$11.99 US,  $14.39 CAN On Sale!
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN