Incense is composed of aromatic plant materials, often combined with essential oils. The forms taken by incense differ with the underlying culture, and have changed with advances in technology and increasing diversity in the reasons for burning it. It can generally be separated into two main types: “indirect-burning” and “direct-burning”. Indirect-burning incense (or “non-combustible incense”) is not capable of burning on its own, and requires a separate heat source. This can include plant materials such as sage, or powder or granules either used on its own or mixed with a sticky and incombustible binder, such as dried fruit, honey, or a soft resin and then formed to balls or small pastilles. Direct-burning incense (or “combustible incense”) is lit directly by a flame and then fanned or blown out, leaving a glowing ember that smoulders and releases fragrance. Direct-burning incense is either a paste formed around a bamboo stick, or a paste that is extruded into a stick or cone shape. The word incense comes from Latin for incendere meaning “to burn”. A variety of materials have been used in making incense. Historically there has been a preference for using locally available ingredients. For example, sage and cedar were used by the indigenous peoples of North America. Trading in incense materials comprised a major part of commerce along the Silk Road and other trade routes, one notably called the Incense Route

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Using Incense Sticks
Using Incense Cones
Using Oil Burners
Using Gums & Resins