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Making Herbal Incense

Making Herbal Incense

I can only imagine mankind’s earliest use of incense. Was it the same day that fire was discovered, or was it the day after? Since that starting, the fragrant smoke of historical fires has risen in rhythm with the sun, the moon, and the tides: the heartbeats of life on earth.

The burning of candy gums, resins, woods, and plants has taken hundreds of beautiful, various cultural forms, many of which persist today. Historical Egyptians burned offerings to the sun god, Ra, on his each day trek throughout the heavens. Frequent references to the use of incense in the Old Testament suggest that the Jews have used it since very early times. Trendy Hindus burn camphor and incense before the image of Krishna. The Greeks burned candy incenses to make sacrifice and prayer more settle forable to the gods. Little use of incense is evident in Islamic traditions, and incense was unknown in early Buddhism, opposed as it was to exterior dogma. Nonetheless, public and private use of incense has now turn out to be widespread amongst Tibetan, Japanese, and Chinese Buddhists. By the fourteenth century, it had turn into a part of many of the established Christian rituals, and is still used for such ceremonies as high mass, processions, and funerals. Fashionable pagan and neopagan practices also contain highly developed ritual uses of incense. In Native American religion, sage, candy grass, yerba santa, uva-ursi, cedar, and tobacco are burned ceremonially for purifying oneself and one’s environment, for sending up prayers to the Nice Spirit, and for connecting with one’s spirit helpers—the unseen forces that help humans.

Besides its place in ceremony and religion, incense is usually used simply to evoke a temper or create an atmo­sphere for shopping, leisure, romance, or dwelling relaxation. It’s a mental stimulant that can bathe peculiar events and actions in a particular glow.

Incense makes use of many botanical products which can't be liquefied or distilled into a perfume. Tree barks and saps, gums, resins, roots, flowers, fragrant leaves, and needles will be mixed in myriad ways to create a rising, temper-enhancing bouquet of fragrant smoke. The botanical ingredients may be purchased, grown, or gathered from the wild.

Incense can take many types, from simple, loose ingredients to be thrown on glowing coals to ornately shaped cones, cylinders, sticks, or coils. All are fun to make and revel inable to use. All except loose incense consist of 4 fundamental ingredients: an fragrant substance or mixture, a burnable base, a bonding agent, and a liquid to alter the bonding agent right into a glue. Coloring agents might be added as well.

Aromatic. Any herb, spice, or botanical powder that offers off a pleasingly scented smoke when burning. These include many sorts of wood (reminiscent of sandalwood and juniper) and bark (comparable to cinnamon) as well as some leaves. The smoke from burning herbs smells different from the contemporary or dried herb itself. To test the fragrance of herb smoke, drop a small amount of the dried herb on a scorching piece of charcoal. I have never heard of an herb whose smoke was toxic, although sure mushrooms can produce narcotic fumes. Essential oils also can be substituted for the aromatic plant material; once more, test on scorching charcoal.

Base. A substance that burns readily with either a pleasant aroma or no aroma at all. The bottom aids within the burning of the fragrant and infrequently enhances or tempers the scent. The most popular bases are powders derived from woody plants: sandalwood, cassia, vetiver, willow, evergreen needles, and charcoal. You can make the wood powders yourself by processing sawdust in your blender for two minutes on high speed. Talc or clay is sometimes added to sluggish the rate of burning, however I don’t advocate talc because it may possibly cause respiratory irritation. Potassium nitrate (saltpeter, available at drugstores) may be added to a base to ignite it more quickly and evenly.

Bonding agent. A resin or gum that holds the fragrant and base together. Bonding agents that burn well without giving off poisonous smoke and are readily available embrace agar, karaya, gum arabic, and tragacanth. Of these, trag­acanth is the binder most frequently really helpful, and I find that it’s the best to work with and offers the very best results for formed incense.

Liquid. Water is easiest and most cost-effective, although artistic incense makers is probably not happy when there are a lot more attention-grabbing liquids to use: wine, brandy, herb waters, olive oil, and tinctures, to mention just a few. I haven't observed a significant difference in either the odor or the burnability of the incense.

Coloring agents. The simplest way to color incense is with food coloring, however plants may also supply natural colours: for instance, red sandalwood for red, willow for brown, safflower for yellow, and charcoal for black.

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