woensdag 9 oktober 2013


Incense from Tibet and Nepal

The incense from Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan are among the most natural incense in the world. These incenses are made with up to 100 natural ingredients; the plants, flowers, grass, leaves, woods, spices, aromatic herbs and resins from the beautiful regions of the Himalayas. Ingredients can be as 'common' as cinnamon, clove, and cardamom, to exotics such as kusum flower, ashvagandha, or sahi jeera. Pure and natural, many Tibetan/Nepali incenses are actually made to inhale for their 'medicinal' benefits, the recipes prepared using strict vedic formulas which are based on ancient medical tantra texts that have remained unchanged for centuries. Some recipes are literally from the time of Buddha.
Incense from these regions can come in many different forms: dhoop sticks, powders, or rope. The scents can range from sweet to earthy, spicy to hot. But all are wonderful for relaxation, meditation, purifying, offerings or just scenting one's surroundings
masala incense
By "masala" we mean the incense is made in a method in which natural resins such as balsam and a complex combination of oils and herbs are combined together to form a 'dough' like mixture. This mixture is then rolled onto a bamboo stick then lightly coated with sandalwood powder. This masala method is quite time consuming and costs much more to produce than a perfumed incense, the result is a far superior incense which burns very slowly and the after aroma can remain for days.

Tibetan Incense mainly refers to a particular style of incense found in Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal. The incense represents the traditional Tibetan culture. The incense was used by Tibetans as a mark of highest respect to pay tribute to the Chinese Emperor. These incenses contain 30 or more herbal ingredients. Tibetan incense does not use stick within it only to maintain its purity.

Tibetan incense has a beautiful history which is traced back to both the Bon, the traditional religion of the Himalayan region and Hindu traditions. You can find some of the oldest accounts of its use in the ancient Hindu texts date back to over 3000 years. During that era the Tibetan people particularly the Bon priests had started using incense for offering to the deities.

When Buddhism was initially introduced during the period of the Tibetan Empire, some Bon practices including incense offering were already assimilated into their traditions. The texts also reveal that the Tibetans had mastered the local production of incense by using Hindu recipes added with the local production techniques even before the arrival of Buddhism.

The traditional incense making was almost lost at the time when the Muslims invaded India and lodged an oppressive attack on the Buddhism. Fortunately, Buddhists monks in the Tibetan monasteries could manage to hide the invaluable scriptures that contained incense making recipes. In 1959, when the Chinese annexed Tibet, thousands of Tibetans who were forced to vacate Tibet had come to India bringing back with them those scriptures containing the recipes of incense making. This is the reason for which you will find that most of the makers of these products are Tibetan refugees in India.

One of the uses of Incense is for simple rituals. In Tibetan culture this simple ritual has a very important spiritual meaning. It is considered to be an act of offering which is selfless and generous devoid of worldly concerns. The fragrance of the Incense awakens and relaxes our senses and brings back positive energy to the soul. Tibetan Incense teaches us a valuable lesson about the human life. As the stick gets ignited, it burns brightly making the aroma floats across the open space just like ups in the life. Similarly, as the stick burns out and gets shorter gradually ultimately fading away into ashes that symbolize the end of the life. Thus, it teaches that in life nothing is permanent.

Apart from these teachings on values, this Incense also includes special medicinal and therapeutic substances derived from herbs, flowers and minerals. In medical field in Tibet, incense is recognized as a way of treatment for various ailments. This information is available in Tibetan medical books.

Similar to the past when this Incense remained as a fundamental part of Tibetan culture and life, in today's context also Tibetan Incense has gained solid ground world over. It has reached thousands of households everywhere on the earth. One of reasons for its popularity is certainly the desire for people let this incense help them relax and get in touch with their Divine Inner Selves.

"Holy Land is Tibetan Medical College’s top grade incense and it very well might be the finest Tibetan-style incense available. Having started with the Nectar and moved to this one, I found this to be a step up and I was already over the moon with the Nectar. The central scent to this incense (and very close to the central scent for Nectar) is one of a big bowl of salted pistachio nuts, particularly the ones that used to be more frequently available that were red-dyed. But this is only the beginning. This intensity is mixed through out with a plethora of woods, florals, herbs and spices, not to mention a distinct musk that while not a central aspect to the overall scent, creates a give and take in the aroma that affords it greater complexity. The floral thread is like lily or jasmine, very subtle, but it manifests in the most incredible ways. Outside of aloeswood, I’ve experienced no other incense other than the Highland to continue to invoke scent memories no matter where I am. An experience like no other, this is a hall of fame incense whose relative affordability compared to Japanese sticks makes it an excellent buy." Mike McLatchey - Reviewer for ORS (Olfactory Rescue Service)

BEDDELLIUM (gokul dhoop)

Prized thoughout the Himalayas this natural Gugul (also Guggul and Gokul) resin is a wonderful aid to meditation and puja. It is often burnt in monasteries during empowerments and rituals to dispel negatvity.

Gugul is a sticky gum resin from the mukul myrrh tree, it plays a major role in the traditional herbal medicine of India. It was traditionally combined with other herbs for the treatment of arthritis, skin diseases, pains in the nervous system, obesity, digestive problems, infections in the mouth, and menstrual problems. In the early 1960s, Indian researchers discovered an ancient Sanskrit medical text that appears to clearly describe the symptoms and treatment of high cholesterol.
Guggul has been a key component in ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine. But has become so scarce because of its overuse in its two habitats in India where it is found — Gujarat and Rajasthan that the World Conservation Union (IUCN) has enlisted it in its Red Data List of endangered species.
Guggul produces a resinous sap known as gum guggul. The extract of this gum, called gugulipid, guggulipid or guglipid, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Hindu medicine, for nearly 3,000 years in India

It smells absolutely divine!
The Frankincense Trail

Series in which intrepid presenter Kate Humble follows the ancient frankincense trade route of Arabia across the amazing modern world of the Middle East.
Kate’s journey along the 2,000-mile trail that first connected the Arab world with the West takes her on a quest that’s steeped in history, searing with desert heat, and full of characters and adventure.
Oman, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Kate begins her epic journey following high in the hills of southern Oman. With her own supply of the precious resin, she walks with the Al Mahri tribe – the descendants of the ancient traders – and their 300 camels along the original trail through the scorching Empty Quarter desert. Crossing into Yemen, Kate arrives at the world’s first skyscraper city, where her frankincense is used at the ritual blessing of a newborn baby.
Saudi Arabia. With unprecedented access, Kate enters the world of the nation’s richest man, meets a remote mountain tribe whose ancestors once guarded the trade routes and who live at the fringe of Saudi society today, and explores the treasures of an untouched shipwreck that once carried frankincense on the crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea. Travelling by camel, glider and boat, she traces the 1,000-mile trail through the Kingdom and discovers the modern nation and its people.
Egypt. This episode, Kate Humble crosses the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia to Egypt following the frankincense trail of the Pharaohs. Travelling the length of the Nile, Kate enters Karnak, the world’s largest religious site. She looks at the mummy of the once beautiful Queen of the Pharaohs, reveals the death rituals of the Pharaohs in the vast tomb of the Pyramids of Giza, jostles with thousands of ecstatic Christians, and in an extraordinatry ceremony in the Sinai desert, she is cleansed of evil spirits.
Jordan and Israel. In this final episode, Kate Humble concludes her remarkable frankincense trail from Oman, across seven nations to Jordan, and on to Israel. She reveals the secrets behind the ancient Jordanian stone city of Petra, flies with a daredevil female pilot over the Sinai desert, travels to the sacred city Jerusalem, and finds out why a small plot of land is the most contested site in the world. Kate ends her extraordinary journey following in the footsteps of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem.

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