Monday, April 20, 2009

Joss Sticks and Wild Cinnamon

Joss Sticks are a very big part of Asian life.
They come in all sizes ranging from bamboo thin, sticks, to huge thick sticks which burn for months in temples.
They are used in daily prayers as well as Ghost festivals and funerals.

The name Joss comes from a household deity god named Joss.
They are not all made the same. Some have clay and perfumes in them which are not good for the health.

I came across one family joss stick business in Singapore, which went public with this art because no one wanted to continue it in the family. They called it a dying art.

They made joss sticks out of wild cinnamon saw dust. But they did even more.

They would add water to the wild cinnamon saw dust and then kneed it like dough.
It became exactly like dough, on which they then used a rolling pin, to roll out into a nice thin piece, and then proceeded to make statues of anything you liked from Chinese warriors on horses, different deities, animals etc....
The products, when dry, go back to the original wood state.

They then shellac it and you take it home.
I have a few pieces in boxes I still have to dig out but I found this wild cinnamon wood art to be quite extraordinary.
The cinnamon saw dust had natural glue in it which allowed it to be used in this manner.

We took some home to make Christmas decorations for our tree. It was fun to do.

Cinnamon has a wide variety of uses including medicinal. The red cinnamon is very good and many Chinese drink it in tea mixed with honey or apply it as a paste onto the skin.

2 tsp of honey to one tsp of cinnamon is used as medicinal aids to cure heart disease, arthritis,colds, hair loss, bladder infections, tooth ache, upset stomach, gas ,cholesterol, weight loss, skin infections, pimples, cancer, bad breath, fatigue, immune system, infertility.
Hot water is always used to combat thirst out there, as opposed to cold and hot water also dilutes fats in your system, so they are flushed out.

Nature provides us with soo many interesting things to discover . Trained, old people, carry these old arts holding answers to many secrets doctors are still ignorant of.

It is too bad the young do not value the teachings of their old ancestors.
The info should be carried on throughout time as it can be useful one day to know.

In the meantime I am glad to have learned this wonderful art of wild cinnamon statue making and search to find more info about this wild cinnamon tree, to make saw dust out of.
The old people in Singapore, are quite upset with their kids, in that they began using knives and forks as opposed to chop sticks.

They constantly pointed at foreigners, saying we had more respect for their traditions than their own kids did.
I just love chop sticks because it makes you eat food one piece at a time, so you enjoy it a lot more.
Plus its fun to be able to hold food in a different way.


Dr.John said...

I never got the knack of using chop sticks. I think making things out of sawdust would be fun.

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

Hey Dr. John, I can show you. My grandad was Chinese. May he rest in peace. I grew up in the Chinese restaurant and laundry. I can't imagine eating Chinese food with a fork (smile)

Ms. Lady's Life, you are such an interesting "woman" You have kept me waiting to see what's next. I'm learning about "life" through your eyes and something that I already know but don't practice... there's more to life than work.

Thanks for another interest fact and you're so right, nature has so much to offer us. I plan to discover some of it this summer. When I discover something (I didn't) know, I'm going to share it with you (LOL)

Love, peace and blessings!

A Lady's Life said...

Dr. John. Free Spirit is right. There is nothing to it.You hold the bottom one with your thumb and ring finger and the top chopstick is placed between your fore finger and middle finger and these two fingers move to hold the food against the bottom chop stick.

You are too kind Free spirit. But the trick is to go slow and ask people questions. The locals show you a lot more things than a tourist guide will and this is what you really want to know.


Nessa said...

Did I find the right place? Did you comment on my Reincarnation post? I think you mistyped your blog address. I love cinnamon, inhaling the scent for mental clarity.

McCall said...

This is so interesting thanks for sharing!!!!

A Lady's Life said...

Thanks for visiting. :)