What is Incense?
In its simplest definition, incense is any plant matter that is burned for its aromatic, spiritual, ceremonial, religious or aesthetic properties. Incense comes in a variety of forms including incense sticks, incense cones and coils, raw plant materials, and charcoal disks to activate raw plant materials or resin incense.
Incense is lit with a flame, allowing it to catch fire, and then the flame is quickly blown out, leaving a smouldering ember that slowly burns down and releases the aromatic fragrance. Today, burning incense goes beyond the spiritual and ceremonial, as it’s now commonly used in our homes, yoga studios and wellness centres.
The History of Incense
The burning of materials for their aromatic qualities goes back thousands of years, to Ancient Egypt, Arabia, China, Japan, and the Mediterranean Region where the trade of incense and spices played a significant role economically between the East and the West.
Incense was thought to serve a variety of purposes, including therapeutic, ceremonial, religious, meditative, spiritual, and aesthetic. Common materials used then included Frankincense, Myrrh, and Sandalwood, as well as herbal materials like Rose and Sage.
Incense in a stick form goes back hundreds of years and was created to burn more sophisticated blends of aromatic materials. The creation of incense sticks brought incense to an even broader market with a burn that was easier, faster, and less expensive than ever before. The incense stick format also allowed for the creation of a wider variety of incense fragrances.
Types of Incense
Today Incense is taking many forms for different purposes such as Jumbo Sticks, Incense Cones and Backflow Cones to name some of the more commonly known, let’s take a look at them in a little more detail:
- Incense Sticks
Incense sticks use a range of base materials, including wood or bamboo, which acts as a binder for the aromatic materials rolled around the stick, and fuels the incense stick to burn with a slow ember and fragrance release. Hand rolled incense sticks come in a range of fragrances including Rose, Nag Champa, Jasmine and Frankincense. Incense sticks are burnt using a Stick Incense Holder such as a Wooden Incense Box, Ceramic Incense Holder, or the Blossom Incense Holder.
- Incense Cones
Incense Cones are made from combustible materials and aromatic oils, that are shaped together into a cone. The tip of the incense cone is lit and then extinguished to release the fragrance via a slow ember. Incense cones are burnt using Cone Incense Holders such as a Brass Incense Burner, Wooden Incense Box, or Stone Incense Burner.
- Incense Coils
Incense Coils are similar to Incense Sticks but come in a spiral shape. Once lit and then the flame extinguished, they provide a slow burn and release of fragrance.
- Loose Plant Materials & Floral Blends
Incense also comes in the form of loose plant materials, including sage, herbs, leaves, and flowers collected to create a fragrant blend. These loose incense smudge blends release their fragrance by activating Charcoal Disks underneath, sending heat upwards into the loose-leaf blend to slowly release its fragrance. You simply hold your Charcoal Disk with some tongs, light the Charcoal Disk from the bottom and then place it on a heatproof surface or dish, such as a Brass Incense Burner or, Stone Incense Burner.
Benefits of Incense
There are numerous benefits to using incense. Here’s a look at some of the most commonly known benefits of burning incense in your home:
- To clear negative energy – burning incense is a great way to clear negative energy in your space right before you’re about to start a new project, meditate, do some yoga, or perform a ritual.
- To relax and unwind – curl up on the sofa with a book or listen to some music; soak in a bath with some gorgeous bath salts and replace candles with incense. The soft fragrance of incense enhances this relaxing time. Choose your favourite fragrance for relaxation, such as Frankincense.
- To Meditate – Incense is widely thought to deepen your attention, heighten your senses, and uplift emotions when practising meditation. Sandalwood and Lotus scents are popular with meditation.
- To reduce stress and anxiety – choose a relaxing incense blend like Sandalwood or, Lavender to encourage your mind to stop racing and practise deep breathing to settle your stress levels and heart rate.
- For Spirituality – It has long been recognised that the burning of incense can act as a doorway to spirituality.
- To Aid sleep – Burning incense can assist with insomnia. Lavender is thought to aid sleep, along with Chamomile. Having Incense burning while you’re falling asleep can help you unwind and relax and is also safer than using a candle.
- To Boost Your Sex Drive – Certain scents, such as Jasmine, Vanilla or Rose, have a reputation for being natural aphrodisiacs. The mind is powerful and is readily activated by these scents. Try them out next time you want to get in the mood.
- To Connect to Memories – We all have smells that remind us of a positive memory in our past and make us feel sentimental. Burning incense emits fragrance which triggers our sense of smell, and in turn, evokes memories in the brain.
- To Start a New Routine – Lighting incense as you wind down for bed or get ready in the morning can start and end your day in a positive way.
- To Practise Mindfulness – Stimulating the senses is a great way to be present and engage in the present moment. Simply light your favourite incense and tune into the scent fully.
- Because You Enjoy It! – The most obvious reason of all – is there any better reason, than because you enjoy it?! Incense is all about joy and positive energy and celebrating our desires. Choose a scent you love and enjoy the beauty of the moment.
Do’s & Don’t of Using Incense
1. Always open a window during or after burning.
2. Burn one stick at a time to minimise the smoke.
3. Select all-natural incense that has been sustainably cultivated.
Our Vibrant Souls Incense Products are all sourced directly from a primary manufacturer in India. They are hand-rolled to promote the use of local labour and industry. Each is derived from natural pure extracts, fine scented oils, and held together by sandalwood oil and a number of other fragrant gums, as a chemical-free alternative. This method decreases the burn rate to ensure our incense lasts longer.
1. Leave incense unattended.
2. Use incense with synthetic or artificial properties.
3. Burn incense if you have a pre-existing respiratory condition.
Learn More About Supporting Wellness With Products from Vibrant Souls
Vibrant Soul’s collection of smudging products, candles, incense sticks, and energizing products and accessories is designed to help you disperse negative energy from your life, purify your surroundings, and support overall well-being.
By using one of our stunning products, you can help cleanse the old, remove blocked energy, and purify your mind, body, and spirit. For personalised product recommendations, we invite you to reach out to our caring team. We would be honoured to help you feel more balanced, self-empowered, and uplifted.