In the ancient world, incense was used as a way to create pleasant smells for religious ceremonies and other rituals. The earliest evidence of incense use is documented in pottery from Sumer (modern-day Iraq) dating back to 6000 BC. Over time, various cultures around the globe developed their own unique traditions for using incense. For example, Hindus often burn it during puja rites while some Buddhists use it in meditation practices.
Early incense was made from aromatic gums, roots, flowers, and spices. These were burned on a charcoal fire to create smoke. This practice dates back as far as 4500 BC in Mesopotamia.
The word "incense" is derived from the Latin words for "in" and "censere," which means to burn with fragrant substances.
Incense has had many uses throughout history: it could be used for both religious ceremonies and medicinal purposes such as healing illness or repelling insects.
Today, incenses are still widely used across many cultures worldwide in spiritual practices like Buddhism and Hinduism because they can help one feel calm or more present in their current moment of time.