Aroma is not the only criterion by which incense is chosen. The composition and purpose of use play a decisive role in the choice. Coming to the store for incense, it is easy to get confused because the choice is huge. But do not rush to take the first ones that come across. The motley variety of boxes is just the outer side of the matter. First of all, you should decide what you need incense sticks for.
For yoga, meditation, and relaxation, a Nepalese or Tibetan incense burner is suitable. s a rule, these stemless sticks (without a “rod” inside) are handmade, and only natural mixtures of herbs are used in their manufacture. The main note when they burn is woody, with various shades of herbs and spices.
Remember that you will not be able to understand what the aroma will be like just by smelling an unlit stick. In addition, natural incense will never smell like a rose, even if the word “rose” is written on them. Their composition will undoubtedly include rose petals or extracts, but the aroma will rather resemble “a rose that burns”.
How to choose good incense?
Pay attention to the color of the aroma sticks or aromatic mixture. If manufacturers used only essential oils, their color will range from light yellow to dark brown. Black or colored aroma sticks will most likely contain dyes. If you still want to buy black incense, ask the seller about what is included in their composition – natural substances such as charcoal, or artificial colors and resins.
Shine a strong lamp on the incense stick, or rub it between your palms to smell the scent. Many buyers light aroma sticks and sniff the smoke, but this is wrong. In order to capture the fragrance, you need to evaporate essential oils, not burn them.
Buy aroma sticks only from well-established companies (for example, HEM or Satya). Beware of incense sticks with big slogans on the labels that immediately promise you peace, love, chakra healing, or sexual success. This is nothing more than a marketing ploy made by manufacturers in order to sell you their product.
Characteristics and aromas
What characteristics should you pay attention to first of all when choosing a good incense?
- The quality of a fragrance that includes clarity, strength, consistency of opening, and unobtrusiveness
- Incense stick burning time (moderate)
- Expiry date (the fresher the better)
And now a little about aromas and their classification:
- Stimulants – increase concentration, improve memory, eliminate depression, and give vigor and efficiency. These include aromas of cedar, lemongrass, lemon, fennel, mandarin, orange, patchouli, cinnamon, rosemary, rhododendron, magnolia, camphor, and sandalwood.
- Adaptogens – normalize the functioning of the nervous system, and increase sociability. Mint, lavender, savory, laurel, jasmine, rose, myrrh, oregano, almond.
- Calming – is used for mental and physical overwork, stress, and depression. Chamomile, geranium, neroli, lemon balm, sandalwood, vanilla, tea tree, incense, lotus, orchid, marjoram.
- Protecting from the effects of negative energies: jasmine, lemon balm, almond, sage, carnation, rose, opium, rosemary, juniper, frankincense, and lemon.
- Warming – in cold weather it is recommended to use: eucalyptus, almonds, cinnamon, geranium, camphor, rose, and aphrodisia.
- Cooling – in the warm season: sandalwood, incense, hyacinth, violet, magnolia, lemon, bergamot, and lavender.
Types of incense depending on the base:
- Based on herbs and wood of wooden trees
- Sticks – with a base, with a thin twig inside (India), and baseless (Nepal, Tibet, China)
- Cones – for faster fumigation, the intensity of burning increases exponentially.
- Spirals – burns in a spiral, and create an energy pillar to signal the deities.
- Powders – poured in a slide, or in the form of a symbol
Sang is a 100% natural powder of resinous plants and herbs. It is poured in a slide and, quickly, decisively, fills the air with a strong aroma. It is used less frequently, mainly for religious rituals by Buddhists, Hindu Christians, and other Hare Krishnas.
Indian ritual incense is used, for example, when using ayahuasca. They are baseless pressed mixtures of dry substances. Mostly composed of Copal (resin of the Burserae tree), but variations can also be found where Palo Santo is the main component. Most often produced in Latin America.
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