A priest friend sent this to share for your Just Too Cool file. From Science Daily:
Burning Incense Is Psychoactive: New Class Of Antidepressants Might Be Right Under Our Noses
Religious leaders have contended for millennia that burning incense is good for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is good for our brains too. An international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses. [Pair that up with a gin martini flavored with borage flowers after Solemn Vespers on Sunday afternoon and you're set!]
“In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Bosweilla had not been investigated for psychoactivity,” said Raphael Mechoulam, one of the research study’s co-authors. “We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior. Apparently, most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning.”
To determine incense’s psychoactive effects, the researchers administered incensole acetate to mice. They found that the compound significantly affected areas in brain areas known to be involved in emotions as well as in nerve circuits that are affected by current anxiety and depression drugs. Specifically, incensole acetate activated a protein called TRPV3, which is present in mammalian brains and also known to play a role in the perception of warmth of the skin. When mice bred without this protein were exposed to incensole acetate, the compound had no effect on their brains.
Read the rest there.
Check out Exodus 30:
1 ”You shall make an altar to burn incense upon; of acacia wood shall you make it. … 7 And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, 8 and when Aaron sets up the lamps in the evening, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. 9 You shall offer no unholy incense thereon, nor burnt offering, nor cereal offering; and you shall pour no libation thereon. …
When the priest blesses the incense – a sacrifice to be completely destroyed in the offering – for incensing the altar during Mass he says:
May the Lord, by the intercession of blessed Michael the Archangel, who standeth at the right side of the altar of incense, and of all His Elect, vouchsafe to bless + this incense and receive it as an odor of sweetness: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And shall we forget Ps 141? This is recited as the priest incenses the altar during Mass:
Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed as incense in Thy sight: the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and a door round about my lips. May my heart not incline to evil words, to make excuses for sins.
(RSV) 2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice! 3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD, keep watch over the door of my lips! 4Incline not my heart to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity.