The History of Incense
February 22nd, 2016 by Keesy
Humans have enjoyed burning incense for centuries, whether it be in a relaxing home atmosphere or as part of a ritual of worship. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Babylonians were all avid users of incense, but the concept of burning certain materials for olfactory delight far predates these civilizations. The practice likely began when an early human unwittingly tossed a bundle of spicy cedar or fragrant lavender onto his bonfire, and upon noticing the pleasant aroma began to purposefully seek out these majestically fragrant plants. Subsequently, civilizations improved on this concept, with the Egyptians being some of the first people to extract essential oils from certain plants and coat wood with the oils, thus creating an early version of incense as we know it.
Burning Incense Stick
There are two different types of incense: Indirect burning and Direct burning.
Indirect burning, or non combustible incense, is typically loose leaves, flowers, powder or paste. It requires a separate heat source to burn; typically charcoals or hot embers are used. Paste incense is the most aromatic, and burns the longest due to its high moisture content. It is made by mixing powder with essential oils and is then kneaded into a moist yet combustible material, rolled out to dry, and then cut into small cubes. Lastly, it is put into a controlled environment and allowed to mature, until the assorted scents and flavors have mingled well enough to put off a satisfactory aroma.
Direct burning, or combustible incense, is the type most widely used in Western cultures, and requires only a quick flame from a lighter to burn. The end of the cone or stick is lit and from there burns on its own. Direct burning incense is made by mixing powdered incense and essential oils with finely ground wood or charcoal and is held together with a binder, usually a type of gum. Its functions are endless: as a tool in worship or spiritual rituals, aromatherapy, energy cleansing, or simply for pure enjoyment.
Smokin’ J’s house brand incense is an example of direct burning incense, available in both stick and cone styles . It is hand dipped in Washington state and uses water processed essential oils from flowers, leaves, roots, resins and barks. The oils are mixed with a fine wood powder and then dipped onto wooden sticks. Smokin’ J’s also offers essential oils in a body applicator bottle, with Patchouli, Dragon’s Blood, Lavender, Elixir #6 and Honeysuckle available. None of these oils are tested on animals. Some of the more popular incense scents include Honeysuckle, Cosmic, and Once Upon A Time. Below is a list of what you can expect from each scent. Whether your intended purpose is for spiritual aid or just for relaxation and heavenly smells, the variety of aromas the 12 featured scents offers will be sure to bring joy and satisfaction.
Elixir #6: An exotically musky scent with a hint of vanilla.
Evergreen: A perfect imitation of Washington forests, rich and robust pine promoting a meditative calm.
Cosmic: An energetic blend of spicy and musky brings harmony and wholeness to your day.
Honeysuckle: A light and refreshing floral nectar that gives positive energy and sensory dreams.
Lavender: A sultry embodiment of traditional lavender, this scent will help you unwind and balance your emotions, as well as bring clarity of thought.
Momentum: An energetic and musky scent with a strong splash of citrus, brings courage and hardiness.
Ocean: Crisp and light, reminiscent of beachside breezes, dispels negative emotions and replaces them with wisdom and health.
Once Upon A Time: An invigorating citrus that banishes negative energies and attracts love and protection.
Patchouli Champa: Patchouli and Nag Champa bring out each other’s best in this blend
Sandalwood: A bold and spicy traditional scent, this will assist with awareness of universal energies.
Soft Rain: Subtle, earthy and bold, a soothing, satisfying scent, relieves restlessness and dispels anger.
Stardust: A fabulously fruity kick mingled with a slight muskiness that lends clarity of mind.