Incense Research Article

Thanks to Mark for bringing this interesting article on the psychoactivity and anti-depressive potential of frankincense to our attention. This is the press release.


  1. Mike said,

    May 22, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Thanks for the tip Ibn!

  2. ibn said,

    May 21, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    FWIW, i get an excellent quality hojari from an ebay vendor from Oman trading as antique968.

  3. ibn said,

    May 21, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Ross, Mike – indeed !

  4. Mike said,

    May 21, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks ibn and you’re so right. If frankincense can be used to ease depression than maybe a bundle of cheap charcoal punks/oils could be used in somehow in quitting cigarettes. But let’s hope they don’t get ahold of any Sho-kaku, we don’t want that on the Class A Narcotics list. 😀

  5. Ross said,

    May 21, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Yes Ibn you are unfortunatly quite right.

    “And on the other hand, a little Sho kaku can certainly introduce a habituation whose withdrawal symptoms can only be cured by more Sho kaku !”
    My bank account can show an ongoing cause and effect cycle here:)

  6. ibn said,

    May 21, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Mike, you are right about fungi and shrooms being not that far apart ! As usual you bring a fresh, reasoned, erudite and syncretic view of things to the world.

    Mark, i didn’t mean to imply that the study is trash. In fact, i haven’t read it yet. But i *do* know from personal experience that some incenses are definitely psychoactive. Lighting
    a stick of something so-so can definitely give me a headache real fast ! And on the other hand, a little Sho kaku can certainly introduce a habituation whose withdrawal symptoms can only be cured by more Sho kaku !

  7. Mike said,

    May 21, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Sorry, missed your last post!

  8. Mike said,

    May 21, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Mark – Actually that comment was made by Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. So the analogy would be more like saying a story was bad because the anthologist made an error. Either that or I’m getting tired. 🙂

  9. Mark said,

    May 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Also, ‘mushroom’ and ‘fungus’ are the same word in many languages. Actually, on second reading, the comment is in a quote from the editor of the journal that published the article–still not from anyone on the study team and thus not an indication of the quality of their work. I know having worked with a lot of Europeans in lab settings that ‘mushroom’ and ‘fungus’ get thrown around interchangeably. I don’t know what Weissmann’s origin is, but the comment, while perhaps clumsy-sounding, is not as egregious as you might think.

  10. Mark said,

    May 21, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Ibn, the mushroom comment is in a blurb from a blog written about the study; not in the article itself, which is published in a refereed scientific journal and is the result of a randomly assigned experimental design with control. Your confusion is like saying that the book is trash because someone made a mistake in writing the review.

  11. Mike said,

    May 21, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Ibn, that’s actually mentioned in the comments below in the first link and not only would I agree that it was probably a conflation of LSD and psilocybin, but that a fungus and mushroom aren’t really all that far apart. Besides I don’t think mushrooms or LSD had anything to do with the mechanics of the experiment itself.

  12. ibn said,

    May 21, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    You should take with a grain of salt any article containing such wildly inaccurate claims as ‘LSD comes from mushrooms’. LSD is manufactured from an alkaloid naturally present in the ergot fungus, LSA is found in morning glory seeds and the psychoactive compound psilocybin is found in some mushrooms, particularly those of the psilocybe family.

    Next thing you know someone is going to be associating enhanced sexuality with incense use !

  13. Mike said,

    May 21, 2008 at 9:37 am

    LOL Mark, maybe soon.

    I wondered the same thing about aloeswood Ross, I wonder if the relevant scientists will be turning to it next. But yeah, works for me too.

    I mean you could take a look at its use in Western esoteric rituals as well, many of which are designed to increase exaltation and pointed focus to a certain goal. Frankincense is often classified under the Sun, something generally symbolic of the positive and uplifting.

  14. Ross said,

    May 21, 2008 at 8:56 am

    There has been much research done on AloeswoodAgarwood in Japan about the same sorts of characteristics. As soon as I get to the computer that has those book marks I’ll post some. Kyara, of course, having a much higher “dose” of the active ingredients, does a much better job of calming and foucusing ones perceptions. Same thing with Sandalwood, which is why they have been used so long, especilly by Eastern teaching in meditations.
    And on a personal note… it works for me 🙂


  15. Mark said,

    May 21, 2008 at 8:47 am

    HA! Brilliant!

    Now if we can just find a variety of frankincense that also blocks appetite receptors, we’ll have an anti-depressant, weight-loss stick!

  16. Mike said,

    May 21, 2008 at 7:59 am

    I got this really scary flash two years into the future of the DEA rounding up all stores of frankincense, with the Catholic church having to go declare it a sacrament like peyote. 🙂

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