So What is Bakhoor?
Bukhoor (Arabic spelling: بخور), or Bakhour, is the Arabic name given to wood chips or chipped bricks soaked in pure fragrant oils.
The wood chips can also be called & known as ‘Oud‘ which is translated ‘Wood‘ in English.
It is a very popular Arab tradition and still hugely practiced in the vast Arab world today.
The word Bukhoor can be used to describe scented the chipped wood or the scented chipped bricks that can look very much like
tiny crystals that smell gorgeously amazing and popular for their very long lasting fragrance.
How & When is Bakhour Used?
These scented wood chips or bricks are placed on a conveniently small circled coal plate that should have been already ignited & burnt to a grey colour,
before applying the bakhoor to it. The bukhoor is usually burned in a mabkhara, a traditional incense burner (censer).
It is customary in many Arab countries to pass bukhoor amongst the guests in the majlis(Arabic مجلس, meaning congregation).
This is done as a gesture of hospitality.
Saudi women walk around the house holding the burner to scatter the smoke in every room.
They also wave their abayas and clothing above the smoke so that it picks up the amazingly very long lasting scent.
Other Saudi women use Oud and Bakhoor as body perfume by applying ‘dehan‘ a ‘spreadable form’ on their hair.
They put some of the dehan on the tip of their fingers and run it through their wet hair, or they just wave themselves,
their clothes & hair over & around the smoke coming out of the Bakhoor burner.
It then perfumes the home, clothing & upholstery such as curtains, Sofas & carpets, with a rich thick scented smoke that is very long lasting.
This procedure is commonly practiced in many Arab homes, on special occasions like weddings, the special day of Jumma Friday, or when expecting guests.
It is also popular to use bukhoor when wanting to eliminate stubborn odors like Tobacco, pet smells or cooking smells, fried foods or especially after having cooked something as strong smelling as fish.
Having said that though, Bukhoor is not completely alien to the rest of the world.
Christians are frequently seen using bukhoor & burning it in the same method as the Arabs do, during church services and at Christian homes as well, for blessing.
Imam Bukhari reported that Oud is known to be an excellent scent for strengthening the body and the mind. According to him,
the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Treat yourselves with Indian incense (Oud Al-Hindi) for it has healing for seven diseases; it is to be sniffed by one having throat problems and put in the mouth for one suffering from pleurisy.”
Specific types of Oud inhaled in certain quantities, is also used to traditionally treat asthma, chest congestion, colic, nausea, kidney problems,
thyroid cancer, lung tumors, and post childbirth. It is also a general tonic in China, India and Japan.