I’m an incense junkie. I admit it. I have my preferences–hand made, more woods and resins, Tibetan–but nothing sets the mood or helps me channel energy better than incense. You can make your own; there are many kits, recipes, and formulas. Or, you can buy it. There are many different dealers, and your favorite shop, online, or off, probably carries it. In fact, I discovered one of my favorite incenses (Nag Champa, Super Hit) at a gas station when we were on vacation. I loved it’s nag champa base mixed with sandalwood and rich resins.
As far as incense types, I prefer stick or cone incense. It’s easy. I have my burner, and I can plunk in a stick, light it, and instant incense. When it’s done burning it goes out on its own, so there’s not a lot of worry. Cone incense works much the same way, where the cone is placed in a heat-proof burner and left to burn. Many burners combine cone and stick so you don’t even need to worry about special equipment. A solid bowl full of sand works well, too.
You can also purchase resin or herbal incenses which require a charcoal tablet to be lit. The resin (or herbs) are placed on the charcoal and as it burns, it heats the incense to release the fragrance.
If you have allergies, or have sensitive people in your house, you do need to be careful. I have allergies, and I find the overly floral incenses really bother me. That’s why I stick to sandalwood, pine, and other wood/resin-type incenses. Additionally, the manufacturer matters. Some of the India incenses, like Hem, are really strong and overpowering. So once I find a brand of incense, or someone who makes it by hand, I tend to be pretty loyal.
Like people, our pets can also be sensitive. Birds, with their very tender respiratory systems are vulnerable to incense smoke (or any kind of smoke). In fact, at one time, Glade scented candles were implicated in bird death, and I won’t use Febreze or other “fresheners” because of their chemical compound. When they’re sprayed into the air, then they can enter the systems of birds (and people) easier. So, always use incense in a well-ventilated room, and make sure to keep it away from pets. Some even questioned it around their lizards. I had a cat who ended up with kitty emphysema from cigarette smoke, so I follow some general precautions when I burn incense, which help me anyway because of my allergies. I try to crack open a window or make sure there’s a fan to disperse any smoke away. I use kinds which won’t bother me, and I only use cone or stick, because they can be easily doused if it gets too strong. And, I only burn one stick at a time and generally only once a week or so. Now, this does mean I have to watch my “habit” because when I’m writing or doing something creative, I do like to have incense or candles going, but I can also work without them, and I’d rather be extra careful than have something happen.
Really, if you’re concerned about allergies, know your source. Buy handmade as much as possible where you can talk to the person who made the incense. And, be careful. There’s a good chance with the varieties of incense out there, you can find one that will work for you.
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