Author Topic: Church incense an 'upper'...'psychoactive smoke'? - Scientific study on incense  (Read 9314 times)

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Offline _Seraphim_

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Offline observer

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Offline SolEX01

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Now I know why I've felt like municipal sewage for the last 4 weeks - time to inhale the incense on Sunday.   :laugh:

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Offline TinaG

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Anyone know if Boswelia resin is a component of Orthodox or Catholic incense?   Is this why we're all so hungry after Liturgy.  I've never seen people descend like locusts on a table of food like Orthodox in a fellowhip hall.
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Is this why we're all so hungry after Liturgy.  I've never seen people descend like locusts on a table of food like Orthodox in a fellowhip hall.
No, it's a combination of fasting for twelve hours and being surrounded by old ladies with nothing better to do than make really good food every week.  :D
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Watch out, though. the Federal Government may deem the incensole acetate as a psychotropic drug and try to ban it!  ;D

Actually, when I use incense at home, I do feel that a burden is gone from me.  I think that this is an excellent reason for people to use it in their daily prayer lives.
Hey, I don't hand out 9.5s to just anyone!  ;D

Offline Ebor

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Anyone know if Boswelia resin is a component of Orthodox or Catholic incense?   Is this why we're all so hungry after Liturgy.  I've never seen people descend like locusts on a table of food like Orthodox in a fellowhip hall.

You'd better believe it!  Boswellia the genus name of a group of trees that make resin and Boswellia Sacra is the Frankincense that comes from Oman and Yemen.  One can also get an essential oil of this plant.

Ebor
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Offline Ebor

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No, it's a combination of fasting for twelve hours and being surrounded by old ladies with nothing better to do than make really good food every week.  :D

Then what's the excuse for the teen-aged boys I know.  They could probably strip a side of beef bare like a school of piranas.  (We're going through grocery shock with the first of our kids being a teen.  "Did you put the other half of the meatloaf away when you did the dishes?"  "No. I ate it."  We though he was joking at first. he wasn't.  Be warned!)

Ebor

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Offline _Seraphim_

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No, it's a combination of fasting for twelve hours and being surrounded by old ladies with nothing better to do than make really good food every week.  :D

 :laugh: ;D
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Offline prodromas

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Then what's the excuse for the teen-aged boys I know.  They could probably strip a side of beef bare like a school of piranas.  (We're going through grocery shock with the first of our kids being a teen.  "Did you put the other half of the meatloaf away when you did the dishes?"  "No. I ate it."  We though he was joking at first. he wasn't.  Be warned!)

Ebor



LOL (I am actually laughing out loud) Ebor that is so true. I am a twin and my mum had to go through that exact thing.
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Offline Ebor

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LOL (I am actually laughing out loud) Ebor that is so true. I am a twin and my mum had to go through that exact thing.

 :D  Your poor mother!  Two teen-aged boys at once?!? If you both drank milk like our oldest, I'll bet there was some thought to getting shares in a dairy cow.  We should count ourselves lucky then that only one of ours is a teen at the moment.   :)  Thanks for the chuckle.

And to wrench this back on topic... if you both served as acolytes of a Sunday, the thought of you being hungry from the incense could have been amazing and alarming.   ;)

Ebor
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Offline Thomas

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Try 4 teenagers and a tween at the same time---We had to portion control with no leftovers and keep a refigerator full of hotdogs and tofu dogs for snaks and still it wasn't unusual to come home in the middle of the day to find my boys cooking (yes cooking ) eggs bacon and other fast food items.

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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Teenagers can eat like nothing else. I have quite a number of students who will eat a foot-high mound of food for lunch at 12:15, and then plan to go out to fast food as soon as school's out at 3:15. I don't remember eating like that, but my mom tells stories. Ask me again about 2020, and I'll have some firsthand knowledge of this.
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Offline Simayan

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I remember I used to eat like a typical teen from 13-15. Once I hit high school, though, it calmed down significantly.

But on the topic, whenever I take a deeply inhale in an incense-rich area of church, I can immediately feel an alleviation of stress. I just assumed it was a pleasant smell.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2008, 08:04:55 PM by Simayan »
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Offline Rosehip

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I agree about the incense. Whenever I'm heading off to church, my non-believer brothers joke "Oh you're going off to get your high- your yoga for the day."  ::) :laugh:

But what about those with allergies to incense? I know quite a few such people who simply cannot tolerate it. I've had problems breathing at times when I've sung at pannikhidas and have been close to the billowing smoke when the priest censes.

There've been times when I've invited non-orthodox friends to church and they've had to leave the room, gasping for breath, because of the incense.

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline John of the North

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I love it when they let it billow.....I love the smell!
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Offline Rosehip

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I love it when they let it billow.....I love the smell!

So do I, Torrey, but what about those with allergies? ???
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline Eleos

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If this knowledge gets into the wrong hands, incense will become illegal or highly regulated.
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Offline username!

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maybe he gets injected weekly with an experimental allergy shot that lessens the reactions to incense

Offline DanM

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DIXIT
So do I, Torrey, but what about those with allergies? ???

DIXI
I used to get headaches from smoke, strong odors etc. until I read _The
Yeast Connection_ and remedied that situation.  I also have been advised
that sensitivity to smells can be an issue involving an out-of-synch liver. 
In short, people who cannot handle the incense need to find out why.
DanM



Offline Rosehip

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Quote
DIXIT
So do I, Torrey, but what about those with allergies? ???

DIXI
I used to get headaches from smoke, strong odors etc. until I read _The
Yeast Connection_ and remedied that situation.  I also have been advised
that sensitivity to smells can be an issue involving an out-of-synch liver. 
In short, people who cannot handle the incense need to find out why.
DanM

Interesting, Dan!

« Last Edit: July 15, 2008, 03:25:13 PM by Rosehip »
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline username!

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DIXIT
So do I, Torrey, but what about those with allergies? ???

DIXI
I used to get headaches from smoke, strong odors etc. until I read _The
Yeast Connection_ and remedied that situation.  I also have been advised
that sensitivity to smells can be an issue involving an out-of-synch liver. 
In short, people who cannot handle the incense need to find out why.
DanM




No one was saying anyone was allergic, my post was in jest.  Let me guess DanM you're trying to sell us something?
« Last Edit: July 15, 2008, 06:04:33 PM by username! »

Offline DanM

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Psychoactive smoke

Can anyone briefly summarize what we know of incense in the first three or four centuries of the Divine Liturgy or perhaps direct me to some ruthlessly empirical links?  I have read that incense was originally used to cover up the odors of people who did not wash often enough, but have no idea if that is so. 
It has sometimes occurred to me to wonder whether incense and other practices are means of inducing special states.   Whether incense had that purpose or some other, there cannot be any harm in fostering a little psychoactivity as a harmless accident.
DanM

Offline _Seraphim_

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I have read that incense was originally used to cover up the odors of people who did not wash often enough, but have no idea if that is so. 

Incense mystically represents the Holy Spirit's sanctifying presence.  It is a continuation of Old Testament tradition (which was given by God directly to Moses).  Virtually every vision of heaven in the bible mentions incense.

It has sometimes occurred to me to wonder whether incense and other practices are means of inducing special states.   Whether incense had that purpose or some other, there cannot be any harm in fostering a little psychoactivity as a harmless accident.

This study is no different than saying that singing has "been scientifically proven" to relieve stress and induce pleasure... especially when done in the company of others.  I'm sure there is ample physical/biological evidence that this is true.  However, we shouldn't conclude the Church sings songs simply because they induce some physical state of mind.  This particular study is no different.


Quote
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Offline Psalti Boy

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Wow!!  No wonder why the doctor has me on my meds.  I'm way overdue for a dose of incense.

PB

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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I remember reading an Irish news article a number of years ago that interviewed an Irish health minister making a claim that incense is a carcinogenic (Unfortunately, I don't have the article and don't remember when it was published, though it seems that it was after 2000 sometime.)  Personally, I doubt any of this 'news'.
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Offline JustinianPrima

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I hate to ask it in this manner, but then where are all the cases of lung cancer of faith in OC and RC parishes?

Albeit, I have noticed a few asthma attacks when the Priest smokes his censor
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Offline Ebor

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I hate to ask it in this manner, but then where are all the cases of lung cancer of faith in OC and RC parishes?

This reads to me as though you think that there aren't any OC or RC with or who had lung cancer.   ???  How long has this condition be medically diagnosed and why would people not have had it in previous centuries? 

Quote
Albeit, I have noticed a few asthma attacks when the Priest smokes his censor

Wonderful language, English; I know what you mean in the above, but it could be taken in other senses such as smokes like tobacco or like what can be done to meat or fish.  ;)
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Offline JustinianPrima

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This reads to me as though you think that there aren't any OC or RC with or who had lung cancer.   ???  How long has this condition be medically diagnosed and why would people not have had it in previous centuries? 

Wonderful language, English; I know what you mean in the above, but it could be taken in other senses such as smokes like tobacco or like what can be done to meat or fish.  ;)


Wow, nevermind ..  :-\
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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This reads to me as though you think that there aren't any OC or RC with or who had lung cancer.   ???  How long has this condition be medically diagnosed and why would people not have had it in previous centuries? 
It seems to me that many of our labels for diseases have changed but that the diseases themselves have not. For example, what we now call Alzheimer's disease was before Dr. Alzheimer's time called senility. I'm sure cancer existed, too; it's quite possible that in the 19th century lung cancer could have been confused with pneumonia.
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Offline Rosehip

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Once when I was in church i rushed to greet a young lady (one of my acquaintances) with a kiss. She drew back a little, but I paid no heed. Afterwards, I noticed large, suspicious sores around her mouth, and I really freaked out! I discussed my concerns with a saintly older woman in the parish, and she told me," Everything that happens in church is "safe". God's grace protects us and watches over everything that happens here. All will be well." 

I wonder if a similar principle would apply to God's protection from the dangers of incense? Maybe I'm simply naive, but it's a just a thought.
+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +

Offline DanM

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The dangers of incense?

Of course, they were using Chinese incense in the Singaporean study.  I have lived there, so I know that that stuff is thick and rope-like.  It would be interesting to know if any studies have been done elsewhere, esp. in Orthodox countries.  E.g., I would expect ceteris paribus regularly attending and tobacco-free Anglicans would have a lower incidence of cancer than regularly attending and tobacco-free Greek Orthodox, IF Chinese and Orthodox incenses have the same effect. 
DanM

Offline Byzantine2008

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I have read somewhere that incense was not used by the early Christians and in fact it was related to pagan worship.


There are also numerous accounts of the early church fathers condemning its use.

When and why was it incorparated in our worship if it was allegedly not used in the apostolic era?

 ;D


« Last Edit: August 25, 2008, 11:15:34 PM by Byzantine2008 »
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Offline Thomas

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It seems to me that many of our labels for diseases have changed but that the diseases themselves have not. For example, what we now call Alzheimer's disease was before Dr. Alzheimer's time called senility. I'm sure cancer existed, too; it's quite possible that in the 19th century lung cancer could have been confused with pneumonia.

My grandmother lost her mother when she was very young in the first decade of the twentieth century to "Consumption.  All of her life she thought her mother had died from TB, however My grandmother at the age of 70 got cancer and  sated a few weeks before she died that her mothers symptoms were like those of her cancer not those of other peopel she had known who had TB.  Her conclusion was her mother had been misdiagnosed if we used todays standards. The wasting away or consumption of a person with stomach, kidney, and pancreatic cancer  is now felt to be one of the many diseases that were lumped together as consumption in older days.

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Offline pensateomnia

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I have read somewhere that incense was not used by the early Christians and in fact it was related to pagan worship.

There are also numerous accounts of the early church fathers condemning its use.

When and why was it incorparated in our worship if it was allegedly not used in the apostolic era?

Many Greek and Coptic sources attest to the use of incense in Christian worship of the first and second century. Specifically, during the Eucharistic prayer. See Stephen Gero's work on the subject.
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Offline username!

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I have read somewhere that incense was not used by the early Christians and in fact it was related to pagan worship.


There are also numerous accounts of the early church fathers condemning its use.

When and why was it incorparated in our worship if it was allegedly not used in the apostolic era?

 ;D




Many elements of worship and small tradition are borrowed from pagan/non-Christian practices.  As people converted they incorporated their former practices into their Christian practices.  Take pysanky for instance (the Ukrainian art of decorating eggs at Paschal time).  The Kiev-Rus' people decorated eggs LONG before they were Orthodox.  But when they became Orthodox they incorporated Christian meaning into the old practice.



In fact this subject is so comprehensive on practices borrowed into Christianity it could encompass its own thread.

Offline Babalon

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Quote
In fact this subject is so comprehensive on practices borrowed into Christianity it could encompass its own thread.
You should start it. :)

Offline primuspilus

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My official response is, "Meh". Then I point out the following about "studies".

Bad?
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/cellphone-radiation-may-cause-cancer-advisory-panel-says/
Quote
A World Health Organization panel has concluded that cellphones are “possibly carcinogenic,’’ putting the popular devices in the same category as certain dry cleaning chemicals and pesticides, as a potential threat to human health

Not bad?
http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2008/07/25/do-mobile-phones-cause-cancer/
Quote
Mobile phones hit the headlines again this week as a US cancer researcher recommended that staff should limit their use of their phones because of the potential cancer risk. It’s a controversial issue that has been fuelled by constant see-sawing media stories about studies that find a link and others that do not
and
Quote
The largest study so far, which looked at over 420,000 people, found that even people who had used mobiles for 10 years did not have increased risks

The point is, I dont give alot of weight to these "studies". Nobody really knows jack crap, and for every person saying insence is bad, theres another one saying its not.

There are ingredients of anti-freeze in Dr. Pepper, jet fuel in Vodka, etc. Guess what? We're still alive.

We think we're so smart. All these studies show is that we dont know nearly what we think we do.


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Online Justin Kissel

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I dunno, I read a blog article about a news story that said a recent meta-analysis demonstrated with 96.32% certainty that more than half of 74% of people who did these studies proved beyond a preponderance of proven doubt that cellular devices greater than the minimum length of a human hand can indeed cause cancerous growths of benignly-deadly proportions. And you can take that to the bank!

Offline primuspilus

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I dunno, I read a blog article about a news story that said a recent meta-analysis demonstrated with 96.32% certainty that more than half of 74% of people who did these studies proved beyond a preponderance of proven doubt that cellular devices greater than the minimum length of a human hand can indeed cause cancerous growths of benignly-deadly proportions. And you can take that to the bank!
Dude, did you just give my a biscuit recipe, or study findings?

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Offline Rdunbar123

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Then what's the excuse for the teen-aged boys I know.  They could probably strip a side of beef bare like a school of piranas.  (We're going through grocery shock with the first of our kids being a teen.  "Did you put the other half of the meatloaf away when you did the dishes?"  "No. I ate it."  We though he was joking at first. he wasn't.  Be warned!)

Ebor



LOL (I am actually laughing out loud) Ebor that is so true. I am a twin and my mum had to go through that exact thing.
[/quote


I had two teen agers at the same time and finally had to lock the pantry and freezer. Go shopping on Monday and have empty wrappers on Tuesday

Offline Ebor

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We now have three teenagers and the eldest can still "consume mass quantities" while the other two are a bit more selective (thank goodness).  His milk consumption has only increased such that a gallon may not last 24 hours if he's around.  Well, at least they'll all have bones like the columns of the U.S. Capitol.  ;D   They can still devour alarming amounts of their favourite foods and I've pondered some kind of control on the fridge.  And we haven't had any incense burning in the house in a long time, so there must be other factors.  ;)
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