Burning incense is a practice that promotes wellness, relaxation and meditation. It can purify the air and create a positive atmosphere in your home or office.
It can be difficult to find quality natural incense made without synthetic ingredients. This is because many companies do not disclose their ingredients.
1. Fragrance Oils
If you see the words “parfum” or “fragrance” in the ingredients list for a product, it’s most likely synthetic. These chemicals are created in labs and never have to be disclosed to you!
Fragrance oils are often a blend of natural and synthetic aromatic compounds. They are less expensive and can produce a much wider range of scents than essential oils.
They are also less volatile. This means that they will evaporate more slowly and last longer than essential oils.
Originally, people burned incense for its purifying effects, but now many use it to enhance moods, improve sleep and concentration, and encourage mindfulness or spiritual experiences. If you want to reap the benefits of incense, choose organically grown and sustainably harvested ingredients like herbs, flowers, roots, barks and resins. The smoke produced by these plants is believed to elevate spirits and inspire creativity. The smoke also helps to cleanse the air and reduce allergens and pollutants.
2. DPG – Dipropylene Glycol
If you want to avoid any chemical fragrances, look for incense that is labelled as “pure” or made from all natural ingredients. This means it’s free of artificial fragrances, chemicals, colours and preservatives.
Traditionally, pure incense is crafted artisanally with a wide range of natural botanicals including flowers, bark, roots, resins, herbs and spices. It is sifted and mixed then rolled by hand in small batches. It is slow burning and emits very little smoke compared to synthetic incense.
Rather than dipped sticks, all-natural incense is often sold in the form of cones. These are made with fragrant powders and adhesives that are attached to a wooden stick or bamboo stick. These powders are often made of all-natural woods, oils, resins, frankincense and myrrh. They can be purchased online or made at home using all-natural ingredients. The natural ingredients can be dipped into either essential or synthetic fragrances. DPG is a high-quality liquid solvent used to dilute fragrances and to help them bind to incense sticks and cones.
Many incense companies use synthetic fragrances to create their products, but you can find natural scents that are much better for you and the environment. Look for natural ingredients, such as herbs, resins, and oils. Choosing these options will help to purify the air, provide calming aromatherapy, and enhance meditation or yoga practices.
Unlike most organic compounds, alcohols contain one or more hydroxyl (-OH) groups covalently bound to a carbon atom. This makes them very reactive and able to take part in a variety of chemical reactions.
The main ingredient used to make natural incense is makko, a finely ground bark from the makko tree that has been steamed and dried. Its woody aroma is complimentary to other incense ingredients, and it burns cleanly without releasing pollutants into the atmosphere. It’s an excellent base for incense that requires a fuel and oxidizer mixture. It also helps to keep the oils in the blend from suffocating the other ingredients and burning too quickly.
The chemicals that are emitted from burning incense create toxic air pollutants that are harmful to health. These pollutants include particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and irritants. Inhaling these pollutants can lead to bronchial constriction, allergic reactions and even respiratory failure.
When choosing incense you want to go with natural options and low smoke brands. Look for ingredients such as resins, bark and herbs. These will be the healthier options and will help to keep your home smelling good without the heavy smoke.
Traditionally, incense is made by grinding powdered incense materials with an incombustible binder to form small pastilles. Many Arabian incense, such as bukhoor and frankincense, is of this type, as is Japanese neriko or awaseko incense. Alternatively, whole resins or woods may be kneaded together to make incense sticks. This process is used for much of the sage, rose, and sandalwood incense found in religious houses and homes. It is also commonly used in a practice called “smudging,” which involves the burning of roots and herbs to clear negative energy.