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Incense India Online
Incense India Online:: Compositions
Throughout history, a wide variety of materials have been used in making incense. Historically there has been a preference for using locally available ingredients. For example, Sandalwood is used by the indigenous peoples of India. This was a preference and ancient trading in incense materials from one area to another comprised a major part of commerce along the Silk Road and other trade routes, one notably called the Incense Route.

The same could be said for the techniques used to make incense. Local knowledge and tools were extremely influential on the style, but methods were also influenced by migrations of foreigners, among them clergy and physicians who were both familiar with incense arts.

Natural solid aromatics
The following fragrance materials can be employed in either direct or indirect burning incense. They are commonly used in religious ceremonies, and many of them are considered quite valuable. Essential oils or other extracted fractions of these materials may also be isolated and used to make incense. The resulting incense is sometimes considered to lack the aromatic complexity or authenticity of incense made from raw materials not infused or fortified with extracts.

Woods and barks

  •  Agarwood
  •  Cassia
  •  Cedar
  •  Cypress
  •  Juniper
  •  Sandalwood

Seeds and fruits

  •  Coriander
  •  Harmala
  •  Juniper
  •  Nutmeg
  •  Star anise
  •  Vanilla

Resins and gums

  •  Bdellium
  •  Benzoin
  •  Camphor
  •  Copal
  •  Dragon’s blood
  •  Elemi
  •  Frankincense
  •  Galbanum
  •  Guggul
  •  Labdanum
  •  Myrrh
  •  Opoponax
  •  Storax
  •  Sandarac
  •  Tolu balsam

Leaves

  •  Balsam
  •  Bay
  •  Patchouli
  •  Sage
  •  Tea

Roots and rhizomes

  •  Calamus
  •  Couch Grass
  •  Galangal
  •  Orris
  •  Spikenard
  •  Vetiver

Flowers and buds

  •  Clove
  •  Lavender
  •  Rose
  •  Saffron

Animal-derived materials

  •  Ambergris
  •  Musk
  •  Operculum

Liquid aromatics
Many essential oils and artificial fragrances are used for scenting incense. Incense deriving its aroma primarily from essential oils is usually cheaper than that made from unextracted raw materials. Even cheaper are artificial fragrances used in incense, which are derived from chemical synthesis. Liquid aromatics are usually added to a base formed from charcoal powder.

Essential oils

  •  Cedar
  •  Jasmine
  •  Patchouli
  •  Rose
  •  Sandalwood
  •  Ylang-ylang

Artificial scents

  •  Cannabis
  •  Cestrum nocturnum
  •  Garden strawberry
  •  Lily of the Valley
  •  Opium
  •  Watermelon

Ingredients widely used in Indian Incense
Indian incense-making involves a wide variety of ingredients. In accordance with Ayurvedic principles, all the ingredients that go into incense-making are categorized into five elements:

1. Ether (fruits)


Examples: Star anise

2. Water (stems and branches)

Examples: Sandalwood, Aloes wood, Cedar wood, Cassia, Frankincense, Myrrh, Borneol

3. Earth (roots)

Examples: Turmeric, Vetiver, Ginger, Costus root, Valerian, Indian Spikenard

4. Fire (flowers)

Examples: Clove

5. Air (leaves)

Examples: Patchouli