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. It’s made from the wood of the tree Santalum album.1 While there has been hardly any study on the benefits of sandalwood incense stick, studies have attested to the benefits of sandalwood essential oil. Since the stick is also from the same tree and contains the same healing chemicals, the benefits are comparable.
Aside from releasing an amazing aroma, burning sandalwood incense sticks will have these 5 benefits.
1. Relieves Anxiety
Feeling tense? Use sandalwood incense for natural relief. The scent is associated with lower levels of anxiety and stress. 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. 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.
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. Improves Sleep Quality
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 help your body calm down, especially if you’re feeling worked up from stress.5 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 on its own. But it can be one of the many things you do to lower your blood pressure naturally.
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 – such as stimulating keratinocytes to make keratin. Keratin makes up the outermost layer of the skin. Thanks to the increased production of keratin, wound healing is faster.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 deodorize the air. Rather, they add harsh chemicals to the environment. Many of these can change your hormones and potentially cause cancer.8
Safety Note: Make Sure Your Room Has Good Ventilation
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, burn the incense stick in an airy, open spot.
|↑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).|