Quick Guide On Incense

Incense comes from the Latin word " incensum " meaning ignite or burn.

It is a preparation of aromatic vegetable resins, to which is added essential oils, either animal or vegetable. Therefore, when it burns, aromatic smoke is released.

Incense has been used for religious, therapeutic and aesthetic purposes. By releasing this aromatic smoke, the senses are activated and the mood of those who smell it changes.

But the use of incense varies depending on the culture and what you want to achieve through them. For example, indirect burning of incense with an incense holder can be better for your health.

For example, China and Japan use incense as an integral part of the worship of their gods. In Mesoamerican civilizations besides using them as offerings to their deities, they used it for therapies against mental and spiritual evils.

We can also find them in Buddhism, the Catholic Church, and others.

In times of plague and many deaths, it was used to disinfect the place, the stench of disease and death.

Today the incense is used in perfumery, for relaxation, in aromatherapy, ceremonies, in aesthetics, purification, prayer, meditation, even insect repellent (it has touched me!) And now there is a new concept that is the olfactory marketing.

In ancient times the incense was extracted from specific trees. It was extracted from the bark as the rubber is obtained. But with the purpose of increasing the fragrance and producing a denser smoke, mixtures of resins, woods, leaves, roots, essential oils or vegetable gums were added.

There are different ways of producing incense, but the most precious one is the one made by hand, this incense is from Nepal and Tibet.

It has a wood, brown, reddish color (not black), it is made exclusively from mixtures of different  woods and medicinal herbs of the Himalayas  and its format is usually in the form of a cone or stick, they do not usually carry a strip of central bamboo (the rest of incenses are made on a central bamboo stick that serves as a final support), and its aroma can linger in the environment for days.

Types of Incense

There is a wide variety of incenses but they are generalized into two types: Direct burning and Indirect burning.

1. Direct Burn

The direct burn is those that burn or ignite through a flame and are also known as "incense fuel" since it is made with a flammable base that joins with the ingredients of the incense mixture.

Once ignited, the flame is turned off by fanning it so that the incense begins to burn and release the aromatic smoke on a regular basis until the incense is completely consumed.

This type of incense is made with aromatic materials or with ground fragrances and is joined with a binder-type fuel. These are usually then placed on an incense burner.

2. Indirect Burning

The incense of indirect burning is also known as "non - combustible incense" because it requires an external heat source to operate, and which alone can not keep burning.

This external heat source can be charcoal or hot ash. This is usually then placed in an incense holder that is heated so that the incense naturally evaporates.