Incense sticks, how to use them and useful information on the natural composition. Differences between sticks and incense in grains.
When it comes toincense sticksit is really difficult to find quality products. Many of the products we find on the market ismade in chine, enriched with artificial fragrances. On the contrary, iincense stickstraditionalthey are handmade and prepared (with raw materials natural) by Indian women. What we callincense sticksin fact, it is none other thanIndian incense.
Incense sticks, what are they
In India, iincense sticksthey count on an ancient tradition. If in the West it was customary to burn incense in grains, mainly using resinous incense or given by dried aromatic leaves, in India since ancient times the incense was worked and placed on bamboo boards to be burned, covered with masala a powder made from naturally derived dried fragrant ingredients such as essential oils, powdered aromatic leaves, powdered barks, tree resins and so on. The malasa was made to adhere to the wooden support with the same resins as the trees that made glue, or, in rare cases, with animal dung.
Masala was given by leaves, barks, frankincense, myrrh, amber, essential oils… and the most used glue was gum arabic.
Today, in India, inatural incense sticksthey are made with thin bamboo sticks or woodworking scraps (pressed sawdust) and masala given by natural scented essential oils, leaves, frankincense and other traditional ingredients. The most used glue is the resin extracted from the litsea glutinosa plant. So, let's say, among the producers there are still those who, in part, preserve the tradition ofnatural Indian incense with a healthy production chain.
Unfortunately, however, more and more factories have abandoned the traditional production process by introducing artificial solvents and perfumes in order to increase production. In this regard, it is important to pay close attention to the time of purchase.
What essences are used for the production of incense sticks?
Those who still manage to guarantee the production of hand incense sticks, with natural ingredients, generally use such fragrances:
- Nag champa
- Lotus flower
- Jasmine flower
- Henna flower
- Cedar wood (attention, not citrus but a woody tree strongly aromatic for its bark)
- Costus root
- Indian Nardo
- Star anise
- Resinous incense
Arabian gum today is used as a binding agent in those sticks in which the glue must not alter the fragrance of the masala used. In fact, Arabian rubber is a neutral binder.
Dhoops incense sticks
Many manufacturers proposeextruded incense, free from bamboo sticks or other base wood. This extruded incense is called dhoops and they are richer in masala as they lack a woody base that produces smoke without releasing perfume.
Natural incense sticks
Where to buy natural incense sticks? Among the various products on the market we point out oneHandmade. On Amazon, 100 assorted handmade incense sticks are priced at 12.77 euros. For all information on the product, I refer you to a"This Amazon page".
Incense sticks can also be found in exotic stores. Regardless of the product you choose, as stated, at the time of purchase it is important to understand the provenance of the product. Exclude any a prioriincense stickmade in China or of dubious origin.
Choose handmade incense sticks. In India, the production of incense sticks employs around 200,000 women. A family can produce up to 4,000 sticks per day.
Incense sticks, how they burn
You should have special perforated burners but, if you have a large ash pan, you can use that!
Difference between sticks and grain incense
While the sticks are covered with a mixture of natural aromatic substances of various origins (leaves, bark, resins, essential oils ...) theincense in grains is given exclusively byresinous incenseharvested from particular plants. For all information: incense plant.