In the past, certain herbs such as sage and rosemary were burned to cleanse sick rooms. Cedar is a fragrant wood known to have antiviral, antifungal, expectorant, and lymphatic cleansing properties. Pine, Spruce and Fir needles contain shikimic acid, the main ingredient in Tamiflu, which is used to fight the bird flu. Frankincense is also a known to be very effective incense in the treatment of respiratory ailments. Mullein and Eucalyptus leaves are also beneficial herbs that can be used in this manner.
By slowly burning herbs, the essential oils are released into the smoke and carried into the lungs of those that inhale it. If a person is suffering from bronchial inflammation, the beneficial properties of the herb are applied directly to the inflamed tissue.
I know of one woman that had been dealing with such a strong cytokine response during a bout with the flu that she was choking, vomiting and struggling for air. Her husband closed the damper on their wood stove and tossed some Cedar into the fire, filling the house with smoke. Immediately, the cytokine storm stopped. Within 20 minutes, there was no mucus and she felt as though she hadn’t had the flu at all. They have repeated this remedy with the same result on other family members, airing the house afterwards.
American Indian tribes regularly used Cedar to smoke and cleanse their homes. In rustic conditions, smoke can be used to cleanse a person, clothing, bedding or shelter of vermin, molds, etc. Cedar smoke was one of the ways that priests were instructed to cleanse a house where there had been a plague (cf. end of chapter 14 of Leviticus).
HOW TO BURN HERBS AS INCENSE
Using tongs, place a hot coal or ember from a hard wood fire onto a heatproof dish. Place the herbs onto the hot coal and allow the herbs to smolder. Inhale the resulting smoke. The goal is to encourage the plant material to produce smoke, not to ignite into an open flame. This can be accomplished by only using hot coals (rather than fire) and/or by binding the plant material into a tight bundle.
Tightly bundled herbs are called smudge sticks. Some branches, twigs or leaves are supple enough to form into tight braids. Dried leaves can be secured with twine and unbleached paper. To use a smudge stick, hold one end of it to a flame until it ignites. Then the flame is gently blown out leaving the plant material to smolder and smoke. Smudge sticks are handy as it is easy to direct the smoke and they will tend to burn for a longer period of time.
Do not inhale the smoke of any herb or plant material to which you have known allergies. This article is for information purposes only. Readers that incorporate these methods do so at their own risk and should utilize safety precautions. None of this information is a substitute for professional health care.