Incense Sticks, most commonly known as Agarbatti are aromatic material which releases sweet fragrant smoke when ignited. Incense sticks are a part of the traditions of many countries like China, Japan, Tibet, and India. Each region has its own recipe and crafting method. Incense sticks have found its importance in aesthetic ceremonies, aromatherapy and meditation. It is additionally used as simple deodorant or insect repellent.
The word incense is derived from a Latin word incendere, which connotes ‘burn.’ Common saying suggests the use of incense back to ancient Egypt, where priests commonly used it for the fumigation of tombs and funeral.
Types of Incense Includes
⦁ Direct Burning Incense: Direct burning incense is lighted once and fanned out after a while. The glowing ember burns the material slowly and releases the pleasant fragrance. Common example of direct burning incense is agarbatti, which is long thin cylindrical stick supported by a regular wooden stick.
⦁ Indirect Burning Incense: Indirect burning incense includes loose fragrant resin which requires a separate source of heat constantly to keep the material burning.
Major incenses under both the types includes Stick Incense with Bamboo Core, Cylinder Incense Stick, Joss Sticks, Hand-Dipped Incense Sticks, Dhoop, Masala Sticks, Cone Incenses, Coil Incenses, Powder Incenses
Essential oils and plant materials are used in the making of incense. The aromatic materials used for making incense are typically plant-based and can include a variety of resins, barks, seeds, roots, and flowers. In India more than 100 aroma are available and specific aromatic plants and materials used includes Amber, Jasmine, Forest Champa, Rose, Sandalwood, Cinnamon, lavender, Frankincense, Patchouli, Citrus and mogra.
The raw materials are powdered and then mixed together with a binder to form a paste, which, for direct burning incense, is then cut and dried into pellets. Incense of the Athonite Orthodox Christian tradition is made by powdering frankincense or fir resin, mixing it with essential oils. Floral fragrances are the most common, but citrus such as lemon is not uncommon. The incense mixture is then rolled out into a slab approximately 1 cm thick and left until the slab has firmed. It is then cut into small cubes, coated with clay powder to prevent adhesion, and allowed to fully harden and dry. In Greece this rolled incense resin is called ‘Moskolibano’, and generally comes in either a pink or green colour denoting the fragrance, with pink being rose and green being jasmine.
Traditionally, the bamboo core of cored stick incense is prepared by hand from Phyllostachys heterocycla cv. pubescens since this species produces thick wood and easily burns to ashes in the incense stick. In a process known as “splitting the foot of the incense stick”, the bamboo is trimmed to length, soaked, peeled, and split in halves until the thin sticks of bamboo have square cross-sections of less than 3mm. This process has been largely replaced by machines in modern incense production.
The burning of Incense can act as a doorway to spirituality, formal or informal, recognized religion or secular. Using incense for meditation decreases stress. Different types of incense – frankincense, sandalwood, and sage – have the power to cleanse negative energy, ease tension, and elevate your meditative state. Many incense sticks have antibacterial properties and they aid in killing germs in the air. Therefore, they keep the home environment healthy and fresh with their disinfectant properties.
– Posted By Manav Jain