One ancient tradition that I absolutely love and follow religiously is the use of sambrani smoke. Sambrani in English is benzoin resin. You can use sambrani to dry your hair as well as your baby’s hair and the smoke of sambrani is the best olden technique to prevent from mosquitoes. When I say sambrani, I don’t refer to paal sambrani as computer sambrani.
The use of sambrani tobacco, also known as benzoin resin is one of the famous traditions that many people religiously follow. The Lighting Sambrani Cup is an ancient tradition which is followed in India for many years as it has health and spiritual benefits.
The use of sambrani has been in the culture for many years, and moreover, you can find the sambrani holder in every South Indian home which is more than 100 years old. To light the sambrani smoke, coal is collected in the sambrani holder and sambrani powder is sprayed on the top.
It is also known as benzoin resin in English, loban in Hindi, and the Tamil name is Sambrani. It is commonly used in the home for prayers, and you can find it in temples, offices, meditation centers, and festivals.
What is Sambrani?
Sambrani is a balsamic resin comes from many trees of the Styracaceae family. The resin is dried and powdered after that sold in markets in the form of powder or blocks. The use of sambrani has been in the traditional culture for many years.
Most countries use sambrani, especially in Arab countries they use it directly. And in few countries, they use it as incense. You can use it instead of shaving sandalwood as a base for making incense cones.
It is produced in many countries of Asia like Java, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Sumatra. The trees themselves do not provide any resin, they are made after deep incisions in the bark.
Farmers who grow benzoin trees normally choose a location in the forest near existing benzoin trees. They select seedlings from the tree that produces the best resin, and when the tree reaches the age of eight, they begin to give out resin. It has been extracted for almost 60 years!
What are Different Types of Sambrani?
There are two types of sambrani commonly available, one is “Benzoin Gum Siam” which comes from Styrax Tonkinensis and the other one is “Benzoin Gum Sumatra” which comes from Styrax Benzoin. Both are available in today’s market. In the local market, there are two types of sambrani available, one is called paal sambrani and another one is computer sambrani.
1. Benzoin Gum Siam
Siam is externally reddish yellow on the outside and milky white on the inside. It has a pleasant aroma with a distinctive note of vanilla, so it is used to taste artificial vanilla and chocolate products. It is used in pharmaceuticals and perfumes. It is available in four different grades ranging from largely shaped resin to almost fine powder.
2. Benzoin Gum Sumatra
It is reddish to greyish brown in color and comes with a strong styrax-like odor which is completely different from siam. It is also available in different grades and is mainly used in soaps and detergents to give fragrances.
Incense Benefits of Sambrani [Benzoin Resin]
Every once in a week, take an oil bath, play divine music, lighten the sambrani and let your hair dry with benzoin smoke. Let me give a detailed note of the benefits of sambrani to you guys…..
1] Sambrani Makes You Calm
Most of the people buy sambrani due to its fragrance and divine feel, while discussing about fragrance one thing to note is our product vary when compared to the normal incense sticks. The sambrani smell takes you to heaven and somehow fills you with serenity and joy. Ayurveda, too, advises the use of sambrani, which calms the nerves and creates tranquility, thus preparing the person for prayer.
2] Sambrani Benefits for Hair
Many years later, women used candles to dry their hair. They light a candle, and place a straw basket on top of it. Steam escapes from the holes of the straw basket. If you keep your wet hair close to the basket, it will dry out very quickly and give a wonderful fragrant scent to your hair. If you have long and thick hair, then you will get a headache while using shampoo and hair wash during the winter months. But you don’t want to worry about it if you use sambrani to dry your hair. Try to follow this tradition, at least once.
3] Sambrani Benefits for Babies
Some may have a doubt on whether the sambrani smoke is good for babies or not… Honestly the herbal sambrani pack is highly recommended for even new born babies as it prevents the kid from cough, cold or other skin disorders. After the baby takes a bath, sambrani is lit and brought to the room. Be careful while flowing the smoke near babies as it will build up their lungs. No good day ends without Sambrani, Sambrani is always burnt during our rituals and prayers.
4] Sambrani for Mosquitoes
Every Friday morning I usually light the sambrani and take it to each room of my home. This tradition cleans the wards off mosquitoes and the whole place. The person who is most perfect with Siddha medicines, I recommend using neem leaves and kungiliyam powder with sambrani around your house. This will be very effective in preventing mosquitoes.
Is sambrani and Loban the Same?
Benzoin is commonly called Sambrani and Loban in India. So, Sambrani and Loban both are the same. Loban is derived from the Arabic word Luban, which is a generic term for frankincense type incense, e.g., fragrant wood resin. Sambrani was developed by the traditional Indian medical system known as Ayurveda. In northern India, loban is widely used to refer, gum benzoin, while in the southern parts of India it is known as sambrani.
How is Sambrani Collected?
The resin is collected from the tapped portions of the tree. First the base of the tree is tapped and the resin is collected and then the resin is collected by climbing 2 meters above where the farmer has tapped already, and this process is repeated. To collect resin, the bark of the tree is cleaned with a scraper to prevent it from mixing with contaminants when the resin comes out.
Then 5 small wounds are made at a depth of 2 cm on all four sides of the tree. The resin bark flows down and out. It is usually collected during the rainy season or when it is cold in the early morning, so the resin will not melt when collecting.
How to Use Sambrani?
To get the sambrani smoke, first transfer the charcoal into the sambrani holder then sprinkle a little of sambrani powder so that it starts to emit smoke. If you do not have a hot coal, you can burn the coconut shell in the gas stove and take it to the sambrani holder.
Once the smoke has stopped, put some more sambrani powder. Keep it under the fan from time to time to prevent it from losing heat. After learning about Sambrani, my next question will be on different forms of Sambrani available in the market and how to use it.
Different forms of Sambrani & Its Usage
Sambrani is a solid material. The traditional method of using sambrani is, breaking them into small pieces and then sprinkle it on the burning or red hot charcoal. But nowadays, sambrani is available in different forms for people’s convenience and instant usage.
- Sambrani Crystals and Powder
This is the basic and most commonly known form of Sambrani. Solid sambrani/ Loban is broken down into smaller crystals, which can then be applied as mentioned in the traditional methods above. When burning small pieces, it sometimes takes time to start ignition, so to improve it, sambrani gums were broken and finely powdered. It is also widely available in the market.
Method to use: Heat the charcoal pieces until red hot and transfer to a sambrani stand. Sprinkle sambrani powder or crystals on top of it. In a few minutes, aroma will come from it and fill the entire surroundings.
- Computer Sambrani
It is one of the interesting types of sambrani. Most people get confused by its name. It is not a gum benzoin type of sambrani.
Oh wait, this is not a Sambrani type, but why does it have the word Sambrani in its name? Yes! After discovering the difficulty in using traditional sambrani, there are some alternative products that have come to the market to produce fragrance.
Instead of charcoal cubes and charcoal powder with some other ingredients was used in the form of cylinders or cones (dhoops). Since it is not a traditional sambrani, the word ‘computer’ was added before it. Computer sambrani was very famous and many brands have started manufacturing computer sambrani both hand made and machine-made.
Method to use: Unlike traditional methods, using computer sambrani is very easy. Just light a computer sambrani dhoop and the fragrance will fill your surroundings.
- Sambrani Cups
The last type but the most popular one is the sambrani cups. It is the easiest form of sambrani that you can find in every house nowadays. Sambrani cups were introduced to deal with the problem associated with the traditional method. The red hot heated charcoal blocks are replaced with charcoal cups and fine sambrani crystals are transferred inside the cup. It is the best invention right !
Method to use: When compared to the above two types, this one is very simple. Just light a cup. It’s done. The fragrance starts to fill your surroundings.
WONDERFUL HEALTH BENEFITS OF BENZOIN ESSENTIAL OIL
The benzoin essential oil has some properties like deodorant, antidepressant, relaxant, carminative, disinfectant, cordial, and disinfectant. It can also act as a diuretic, antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, and anesthetic.
Modern research has found many benefits of using benzoin oil. Among them, I’ve listed some of the essential benefits of benzoin oil.
1] Helps to Improve Circulation
Benzoin essential oil lifts spirits and mood. That’s why it is widely used in religious functions in most parts of the world, especially in the southern parts of India. It can be used in incense sticks and other similar products, which, when burned, emits smoke with the distinctive aroma of benzoin oil.
Molecules of these oil components, along with the inhaled smoke, enter your nostrils and are found by our olfactory receptors, and their effects spread to your brain, thus stimulating the nerve center. It can provide a warm feeling, stimulate heartbeat and improve circulation. These properties of benzoin oil were discovered long ago and used to create the mood of celebration in a crowd.
2] Can Relieve Anxiety
Benzoin essential oil can be a stimulant and an antidepressant, and on the other hand, it can be relaxing and sedative. It relieves anxiety, tension, and stress by normalizing the nervous system. That’s why, in case of depression, it can give a sense of an improved mood and help to calm people down in case of anxiety and depression. It can also have calming effects. Therefore, it should not be used when students want to study overnight, especially during exams.
3] May Prevent Infections
It can protect open wounds from infection. This property has been known for many years and the phenomena of such use have been traced from the remains of many ancient civilizations around the world.
4] Can Prevent Sepsis
Benzoin essential oil can be a good disinfectant and antiseptic. Ingredients such as benzoic acid, benzaldehyde, and benzyl are highly effective disinfectants, bactericides, fungicides, and antivirals. Even the extent to which its smoke spreads when burning can be disinfected. When applied externally to wounds, it can prevent the development of sepsis.
5] Can Improve Digestion
Benzoin essential oil contains carminative and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to eliminate gases from the stomach and intestines and remove inflammation of the intestines. It is again caused by its soothing effects. It relaxes the muscles in the abdomen and helps to expel gases. Thus it helps to regulate digestion and improves appetite.
6] Can Eliminate Bad Odor
As it is rich in aroma, benzoin oil can be used as a deodorant extensively. Its smoke can create a nice aroma to your room and drive away odor. By adding this oil in your bathing water or applying it to your body, you can kill the body odor as well as the germs. Benzoin oil is the cyclic hydrocarbon and like the other cyclic organic compounds, it is also nature aromatic.
7] Beneficial for Skincare
As it comes with astringent properties, it can elevate muscles and skin. You can mix them with water and use it as a mouthwash, to tighten the gums. This astringent property is very helpful in lifting the face and reducing wrinkles on the skin.
Read also: 10 Best Herbs for Skin: The Full Review
8] Treatment for Cough
Being disinfectant and warm in nature, the benzoin oil acts as a good expectorant. It helps to clear cough from the respiratory system, which includes the bronchi, trachea, and lungs, and gives rid of congestion. Thus it makes breathing easier. Its calming properties help to relax and induce sleep in patients who are unable to sleep due to severe congestion such as cough and runny nose. That’s why it is also used in balms, abrasives, and evaporators.
9] May Facilitate Urination
Its diuretic properties can help to facilitate and promote urination, both in quantity and in frequency. It also helps to remove toxic substances from the blood through urination. Urination also reduces blood pressure, weight loss, and improves digestion.
Read also: 10 Best Herbs to Cure Urinary Problems
10] May Soothe Inflammation
As it contains anti-inflammatory properties, benzoin oil can soothe inflammation in case of rashes, measles, eruption, and others. It is also used to soothe inflammations in the digestive system caused by the excessive ingestion of spicy food.
11] May Relieve Arthritis
In benzoin oil, these are two most commonly used properties. Because both the components are easily absorbed by the pores of the skin and can provide relief from rheumatism and arthritis when used externally. Due to this, it is used in many gout ointments.
It also prevents and heals skin cracking, sores and stimulates enzyme secretions, and hormones like insulin from pancreas, etc. It reduces the blood sugar level and regulates metabolic functions.
You can blend the benzoin essential oil with Frankincense, rose, orange, coriander, bergamot, lavender, sandalwood oils, Myrrh, juniper, petit grain, and lemon.
Benzoin Resin Side Effects
If you are allergic to smoke, then don’t use sambrani smoke and do not place the smoke near the babies. I Personally suggest to buy the good quality Sambrani pack in the market which may prevent from side-effects.
- Once you open a sambrani pocket, store it in an airtight box.
- Sambrani holders are available everywhere, so buy it with a long handle, otherwise, it will be difficult to keep.
- Sambrani holders are usually made of brass.
- Light the sambrani at least once a week and fill the whole house with smoke. This will repel mosquitoes and create a divine scent throughout the house.
- Sambrani smoke is very good even for headaches.
The appropriate dosage of benzoin is based on many factors like the user’s health, age, and other conditions. Now, there is not enough scientific information to define the correct range of benzoin dosage. You should remember that all-natural products are not always safe, and the dosage is very essential. You should follow the relevant directions given in the product labels and consult with your healthcare provider or other physicians before using them.