What is Incense?

The name “incense” comes from the Latin term that means “to light” or “to burn”. It is a mixture of perfumed ambers that come from plants. In addition to that, the amber is mixed with essential oils, bringing the well-known incense that generates a perfumed smoke when lighted.

Originally the product was done with a particular tree sap that grows in Africa and Arabia, but over the years imitations with other resins and vegetable compounds appeared. Even though it is possible to fabricate and buy new cheaper versions, it can be contaminated and only serve the purpose of generating aromas. True beneficial properties only happen when incense is created in the original versions.

Burning Incense

For centuries, incense has been used with different purposes. Religious purposes were the main use, as it was considered a direct communication path with divinity. Egyptians and other important civilizations around the world burned natural resins to invoke deities and spiritual upliftment. Traditionally it was burned in ceremonies and rituals to praise the Gods and Goddesses. Now a days the Catholic church still uses it in special events on the liturgy.

The sacred use of incense like palo santo wood has long lived beyond religion. People use it to reduce depression, cultivate more inner awareness, meditate, bring harmony to homes, and promote a peaceful state. There are many people who believe in the metaphysical properties of incense and use it to release negative energy, protect their homes, attract success, etc. Also, there are people that use it simply for aesthetic purposes and to have a perfumed ambiance in a space or home for a relaxing environment.

Today the are many different incenses in the market according to the way they are used. There are some that are used in direct combustion. They are lit up and stay in a special incense container. The incense slowly burns and the aromatic smoke releases over time.This type of incense is usually found as a spiral, a hollow reed or a thin stick.

The indirect combustion incense is added directly to coals in order to let it burn more intensely; it is burned adding the resin directly to the fire and it is usually sold as powder or granulated resin with charcoal burners.

What ingredients are used to enrich incense resins?

Normally essential oils are used to enrich natural resins. The most common ones are sandalwood, musk, amber, benjuí, anise, patchouli, alcanfor, liquorish, and cinnamon. These are the most common ones to produce incense but the recipe can vary and it is very important to take into consideration the  particular effect depending on the chosen components.

For example, if the resin contains musk it will create a relaxing odor, it will empower libido and will power. If it contains cinnamon, it will help with appetite and improve mental concentration. If it contains sandalwood, it will stimulate good mood and the ability to have a good night’s sleep.

This is why it is advised to contemplate what you want to improve and then look for an incense that has the proper essential oils for your purpose.

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