Aromatic antivirus | Deccan Herald

The acquainted whiff captivates your senses and brings about immediate calm.

The din and commotion of the ‘South Bombay’ peak hour appears to dissolve within the aromas of that mystical smoke rising from a quaint steel incense burner.

A form previous gent in a maroon cranium cap and pristine white sadra vest takes it round his ancestral dwelling to let the candy, woody, resinous scent permeate by its massive, vintage home windows.

Certainly, this is likely one of the many endearing nostalgias of Zoroastrian Mumbai that also retains its heart-warming appeal — previous Parsi houses synonymous with their night Loban ritual which has a deeper that means than what meets the nostril. An historic spiritual follow, burning Kodiya Loban, Gujarati for benzoin, imported from South East Asian international locations, blesses the tiny group with greater than its deeply non secular aromas.

It’s recognized to disinfect the house and maintain micro organism and viruses away.

Senior Zoroastrian late Aqa  Boman Kohinoor and his son  Afshin pray with benzoin  incense. PHOTOS BY AUTHOR
Senior Zoroastrian late Aqa Boman Kohinoor and his son Afshin pray with benzoin

Benzoin blessings

In areas so far as the Maghreb in North Africa the place it’s known as Bakhour Jaawi (Javanese incense) recognized to drive away the evil eye, this blissful benzoin resin derived from the styrax timber species even yields a medicinal tincture. With the coronavirus terrorising the world, mankind is on edge, discovering methods and means to guard itself by cleanliness and different types of prevention. Although they don’t essentially assure safety from this explicit deadly virus, sure resins, when burnt over charcoal, are recognized to purify the house, liberating it from germs, bugs and micro organism. Burning them as incense has been part of many cultures the world over.

India has been a treasure home of unique resins since historic occasions. “Just like the custom of havan stored away germs by the centuries with the therapeutic elements provided to the sacred hearth, burning benzoin or agarbatti is in the present day a mini type of havan and performs practically the identical operate,” explains senior conventional perfumer Krishan Mohan Singh.

His uncommon Triple A-Grade benzoin with its sharp pungent, candy aroma is way wanted for the shuddhikaran (purification) of houses, workplace areas and locations of worship. Whereas the charming scent of benzoin additionally fills Indian church buildings after mass, famed kathakaar Morari Bapu believes that aromatic resins are a type of shree contemplating their positivity and well being advantages. Guggul or camiphora mukul, synonymous with the Indian subcontinent, due to its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, cleanses the air. Camphor gross sales too, have shot up for the reason that coronavirus menace.


Resins, extracted from the barks of assorted tree species, come in numerous varieties, among the many oldest being frankincense. Generally known as one of many presents the smart males provided the new child Jesus together with gold and myrrh, one other elegant resin, frankincense finds a lofty pedestal within the Bible.

Oman is called Al Ard Al Lubaan, Arabic for ‘the land of frankincense’. The sultanate’s legendary ‘Boswellia’ timber of the Dhofar area produce the world’s best frankincense. Recent, citrus, heat, fragrant and resinous, very like a heat glass of orange juice, Oman’s totally different kinds of frankincense immediately calm the spirit. Burning a couple of items on charcoal or on an electrical incense burner fills the house with positivity immediately.

Jerfi Jamil of J’s Frankincense and Myrrh is one among Oman’s largest producers and specialists of the resin. He believes that frankincense and myrrh kill micro organism or any microorganisms together with viruses as was confirmed by the traditional Egyptians. “Analysis about mummification by the traditional Egyptians reveals that the usage of frankincense and myrrh oils was not only for the nice scent however to delay the decay course of,” he explains. India too has its number of frankincense. Generally known as bili dhoopa (white incense) in Kannada and khada dhoop in Maharashtra, spice markets and incense retailers in main Indian cities and cities promote it for affordable costs. The standard nonetheless, should be scrutinised earlier than buy.

Agarwood chips burnt over charcoal as incense
Agarwood chips burnt over charcoal as incense

Agar antivirus

The king of all resins is agar. Additionally known as agarwood or oud, Vedic sciences have advocated its myriad well being advantages lengthy earlier than the Arabs obsessed over its distinctive scent. The forests of Assam are recognized to deal with the richest reserves of the aquilaria timber. These, when contaminated, yield a resinous, aromatic hardwood which is extracted.

Whereas part of it’s used as incense, a few of it’s distilled to derive the world well-known Dehn Al Oud oil extract. “Agarwood mud and chips are antibacterial and burning them drives away mosquitoes, due to the presence of phenol additionally current within the oil,” says Tajul Islam Bakshi of Assam Aromas, one among India’s famend oud distillers. Agarbattis have been initially made from pure agarwood, now a near-to-extinct follow. Burning them was not only a spiritual ritual, he believes, but additionally a technique to purify the environment.

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