Feeling stressed or anxious? Nervous or fearful? Spread thin or overburdened? Ungrounded? In this video I’ll give a simple and easy to understand breakdown of why most people’s nervous systems are overworked these days, and how you can balance and nourish them with activities, herbs, and aromatic plants and incense.
Plus, in the video above, I’ll give you a simple powdered incense recipe you can easily make at home to potentially bring balance and nourishment to you nervous system, helping you feel more relaxed and calm in your day.
The nervous system has two parts that are usually fairly balanced in a healthy person. In this fast paced world we live in today, we’re exposed to way more stressful situations and experiences than humans weren’t originally used to, like 12 hour work days in front of a computer, managing a team of people, or working any fast paced job everyday, in some cases while managing a family at the same time. Of course our diet can throw us off balance as well, unresolved fear or emotional build-up, technology and staring at screens or being exposed to Electromagnetic frequencies throughout the day, not enough sleep— there’s just so many other things that can have a negative impact on our nervous systems.
The sympathetic nervous system is one of 2 parts of the Autonomic Nervous System, it’s responsible for energizing our body, and stimulating our heart, circulation and lungs, among other things, and when it’s kicked into high gear, it triggers our ‘fight or flight’ response. When someone’s exposed to high stress, whether physical or emotions, the sympathetic nervous system gets pushed to work harder to stimulate more survival-like functions, like producing more adrenaline and higher energy. This is normal for a short time, but when constantly exposed to different stresses, it can really take a toll on our nervous system. That’s when we need to take a step back and nurture ourselves a bit. So in general, we wanna try to soothe the sympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system on the other hand, is the one we want to Kick Into Action when we’re out of balance. This is the calming and rejuvenating system that helps us feel more relaxed. Luckily there’s a lot of things we can do to bring a harmony back to both of these parts of our nervous systems: meditation, yoga, slowing down and relaxing every now and then, taking a vacation, even regulating your diet and reducing your caffeine intake can help in most cases; and of course, there’s herbal and aromatic medicine and incense.
Many aromatic plants have this amazing ability to help us find balance by nourishing and calming our sympathetic nervous system, while pushing our parasympathetic nervous system into action. So they soothe the ‘fight or flight’ system, and stimulate our ‘rest and digest’ system. It’s actually pretty amazing!
My Top Aromatic Plant Choices for the Nervous System
Number one for me is Lavender. You can literally take a whiff of Lavender and immediately feel more relaxed and calm, right? Lavender has many different healing properties, but in this case it’s one of the most commonly used aromatics for stress and anxiety. It has nervine and sedative qualities that help slow busy thoughts and inhibit anxiety, and can even help with depression. So if the stress also has you feeling down, Lavender can bring in that calm feeling while also lifting up your spirits and helping you feel positive again in your thoughts and emotions.
Another favorite for me is Patchouli. Believe it or not, Patchouli isn’t just an aroma that’s associated with peace and love, it’s also been used as a medicine around the world for thousands of years. It’s also a sedative and a nervine like Lavender, so its used for insomnia, depression, anxiety, stress, and nervousness as well. In India, it’s used to help people feel connected to the earth again, like when their head is spinning and they feel like they’re out of touch or just have too much coming at them from all directions. Basically it helps ground people’s energies out, and helps harmonize the nervous system in general.
Another one of my favorites is Rosemary. Rosemary is super helpful when it comes to the nervous system. It actually lowers our cortisol levels, which is basically like fuel to the ‘fight or fight’ system. So it cuts off the fuel supply and kicks the parasympathetic nervous system into gear to help us relax and chill out. In general, Rosemary has an opening effect on the body, and has always been associated with the heart, so it opens up capillaries and regulates blood flow as well. It’s even known to help stimulate brain activity through increased blood flow, which can improve mental focus and help shake off mental fatigue. Rosemary is also a nerve regenerative. It can actually help repair and strengthen the nervous system, or possible nerve damage in certain situations.
Pine is one more local favorite here in north America. I personally like to use the resin over the needles, but both are very beneficial to the nervous system. Pine can help with anxiety and stress, and is a great sleep aid as well. It can help with fatigue, nervous tension, even memory loss. It also promotes mental clarity and uplifts the emotions too. So if you’re feeling like you have a lot of weight on your shoulders, Pine can help harmonize the nervous system while uplifting your spirits again.
These are some of my most favorite incense plants to use in this case. Of course there are many others that benefit the nervous system like, aloeswood, jasmine, benzoin, sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh, marjoram, and star anise.
“Chill Out” Incense Blend – Recipe
Alright, let me give you a super simple incense recipe you can use to help you out if you’re feeling ungrounded or spread thin, maybe overworked or stressed out. I highly suggest if you experience any nervous system disorders that you try out some additional things like taking time to yourself to relax, meditating, having a yoga session, walking in nature, or taking a relaxing bath. These things can get your mind off of the daily grind and are definitely key to incorporate into your life in addition to any diet change, herbs, or even incense.
The incense blend below can potentially help you relax more, can calm your nerves, mind, and heart, and can even help you start bringing a harmony and balance back to your nervous system.
This is a recipe for loose incense, which you’ll need incense charcoal to burn. What you’ll do is add the ingredients below to a small mixing bowl and mix them together thoroughly:
3 parts dried and powdered Pine resin
1 part ground Lavender flowers
1 parts chopped or ground Rosemary leaf
That’s literally all you need to do! Now you can just burn your incense blend on a hot incense charcoal and… relax…
There’s a lot more to incense crafting, especially if you want to learn about the more complex therapeutic or fragrance formulation methods, or if you want to make incense cones or sticks that actually burn all the way through, smell amazing, and are very effective. But this simple recipe is a great herbal mix that can potentially help you see some benefits in the way you feel, so definitely give it a try.
If you’re interested in learning more about the traditional art of incense crafting, and want to take the next step on your path, I’d like to invite you to join me for the Traditional Incense Crafting Course.
Enjoy the Chill Out incense blend! And, relax!
Article & Video by Evan Sylliaasen
Evan Sylliaasen is the founder of the Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine and Higher Mind Incense. For the past decade his incense company has been a leader in sustainability and conscious sourcing of aromatic plants. As the head instructor of his online school, he teaches aromatherapists, incense lovers, herbalists, and spiritually-minded folks the traditional art of incense crafting, incense as medicine, and the art of wild-harvesting aromatic plants responsibly.
Evan lives with his family in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains of Washington state. He channels his creative passions through writing, photography, wood working, craftsman building, and music. When he’s not working, he’s out in the garden, forest and fields, walking along rivers, beaches, or in the mountains breathing deeply.
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*The statements above have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your physician before you use this information for health purposes.