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Are Incense Sticks any good?

by Ger Handy on July 12, 2021

Hi All,

Thanks again to all of you who read last week's blog on Aroma Diffusers and Oils. We had a great response and we hope you found the blog interesting and helpful. Remember, if you have any queries, you can email us anytime on info@serenitygiftware.com or find us on Facebook & Instagram.

This week we are going to take a look at Incense and see what value, if any, it has in our daily lives. We will also give an update on the house and check in on the twins. So lets look first at where it all began for incense.

Where & when did we start using incense?

The word Incense comes from the Latin phrase 'to burn' and evidence was uncovered to show that the Egyptians were using Incense in their religious ceremonies almost 4500 years ago. It is assumed by historians that the burning of incense at that time was a way of cleansing the air of odour's and creating a mood for prayer and reflection. This practice continues today with many of the Christian, Hindu and Buddhist religions including incense burning in their ceremonies. 

So what's it made of?

Incense materials haven't changed much over the years. There's usually 3 main parts to a piece of ready to burn incense

  • the fragrance material.
  • the burning material.
  • the binding material.

The fragranced material is the main part of the incense and it's from here that incense gets it smell. These materials tend to be natural woods, barks, seeds, roots and plants. Essential oils are also used to increase and enhance the scent. In recent years some manufacturers have started using synthetic material like perfumes instead of essential oils. These synthetic ones are not as good and we would always recommend using a naturally produced Incense where possible.

The burning and binding materials are then added and the incense is formed into usually a stick or cone shape. Traditionally this was a slow handmade process and while it is still the way it is made in many parts of India today most manufacturers have improved their production techniques. These modern techniques have allowed for greater production and has also increased the varieties of incense for us to enjoy. 

What does it do?

Incense is used in many different ways and for several different purposes but mainly it is burned to cleanse the air of odours and create a calming spiritual and meditative mood.

When to use Incense.

As it's a very simple product to use Incense can be used quite easily in several different ways. In it’s earliest days incense was only ever used in religious ceremonies but it eventually evolved to become a common home fragrance product. It is also commonly used in meditation, yoga practice and in some cases to aid sleep.

Fragrances.

Nag Champa is recognised by many to be the number one fragrance of Incense and it has always been our top selling Incense here in the shop. It finds its origins in India and it is made with resin from the native Indian Ailanthus tree with flowers from the Champa family. To these flowers, pictured below (Magnoli Champaca, Frangipani and Plumeria) most manufactures will add other ingredients such as sandalwood to make their version of the renowned Nag Champa.

Magnolia Champaca Flower

Some of these 'manufacturers' are monks from Hindu and Buddhist monasteries who guard their ingredients list with immense pride and all claim to have the best incense!

Nag Champa is the original and probably still the best and most popular incense. There is however a large selection of other fragrances and blends available. We usually stock about 20 different types and our top 5 selling Incense stick packets are:

  1. Nag Champa
  2. Lavender
  3. Stress Relief (A blend of lavender, Orange blossom & thyme)
  4. Sandalwood
  5. White Sage

 What do they burn in church ceremonies?

For the most part in modern day Christian ceremonies, you'll find Frankincense is burned but on occasion Myrrh will be used instead. Frankincense & Myrrh are both harvested from trees primarily grown in Africa and both were highly sought after in ancient times. It wasn't easy to get your hands on some back then and it is one of the reasons it was seen as a worthy gift to give at the birth Jesus Christ.

In Buddhist temples Incense sticks are lit and burned to help individuals pray and meditate. These are referred to as Joss Sticks and are usually a handmade incense on a bamboo stick. Below is a photo of Incense burning outside a temple creating a reflective mood for those on their way to prayer.

How to use.

So now for the fun part, how to burn incense. All our boxes of Incense contain 20 individual Incense sticks each with a burning time of approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Burning Incense Sticks is very simple, just make sure to extinguish the flame to allow the stick to smoulder. See the photos below.

 

 

 

Always make sure to burn incense in a safe way by ensuring the room is well ventilated and never use unattended.

To answer our question at the beginning of the blog, yes Incense sticks are good as they offer a quick way to fragrance your home, ridding it of odours and creating a calming & reflective mood. 

TIP: Get yourself an Ash Catcher. It will collect the ash as it falls and has a hole to prop the Incense stick.

Ordering & Delivery.

If you would like to try some incense visit the ‘Home Fragrance’ section here on our website to check out the full collection of Incense sticks available.

We will include a Free Ash Catcher with every order online or instore of 3 or more packets of Incense Sticks while stocks last. 

New home update.

Our home is progressing well and we still hope to be well moved in before the new arrivals make an appearance. Their appearance is a much-discussed topic with a due date of the end of October probably unlikely. After the latest visit to the consultant the end of September is probably more realistic, I am told.

The tiler and painters will be on in the next few weeks so we are working to make sure all is ready for them. Lots of talk about colour and textures at the minute so I am trying to steer clear and leave it to those best qualified. 

We all love the cedar detail around the front door. Think it softens the entrance and we hope to use some inside the house as well. The bathrooms are the main focus this week and we have finally decided on what bath to go with. The free-standing oval was the eventual winner and it should arrive end of next week all going to plan. 

Twins.

I am starting to think that these are the most scanned babies in Ireland! Three scans in the last 10 days to make sure everything continues as it should. Thankfully I can report that all is going according to plan.

It seems they are lying in the womb facing one another, probably having the chats and planning what hardship to cause when they arrive. We are just up against 25 weeks so the time is ticking away fast.

It's time now I'm told to get the buggy, car seats and all things needed for transportation ordered. We had a quick look online and the one that I'm told we need will cost more than I spent on my first car! 

Ok, that's it for this week. Next week we will look at fragrance candles and how to get the most from yours.

Thanks again for reading. Feel free to comment!

Take care,

Ger.

2 comments
by Susan Jordan on July 13, 2021

Great info on the incense sticks .. will definitely try them .. you’re a mind of information Ger…. love the front door and the cedar is fabulous!! So the twins are coming earlier than ye thought ?? Fantastic news !! Regards to lovely Lisa and Louise.

by Susan Jordan on July 13, 2021

Great info on the incense sticks .. will definitely try them .. you’re a mind of information Ger…. love the front door and the cedar is fabulous!! So the twins are coming earlier than ye thought ?? Fantastic news !! Regards to lovely Lisa and Louise.

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