Whether it’s a holiday in India, a ceremony in a church or a visit to your local holistic shop (e.g. us) then you’ve definitely smelt incense before. Taken from the Latin word Incendere, which means burning, incense is used to define all the woods, gums, plants and resins that release a scent when burnt. Because of this, incense can take many different shapes and smells.
Incense has been around for thousands of years, dating back to Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. It is commonly used in sacred rituals in all religions and cultures and is found in many temples and churches – it’s mentioned in the Bible as one of the gifts offered to Jesus. There is even an old legend that a Queen lost her kingdom after an attack, and that during her escape she asked God for a gift to console her for the loss of her children and lands. So with every one of her tears, trees with fragrant gums began to grow.
There’s so many different scents of incense with all different properties, so you are bound to find something to create the mood you desire – whether you want to be relaxed or energised or cleansed. So how does this work? Well it’s all down to the smell receptors in the nose, which send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system. This is the part of the brain that controls emotions!
At Quest, we have two main brands of incense: Stamford and Satya. We’re often asked what the difference is, and it’s all down to how it’s made. The Stamford incense is dipped – a stick is put into a liquid form of incense. The Satya is hand rolled – a powder form of incense is clumped around a stick. Both use natural ingredients, the only difference is that Stamford uses essential oils whereas Satya uses resin, herbs and spices.
So now you know you what incense is, lets tell you how it works! It’s simple – all you need is an incense holder, an incense stick and a lighter or match. Place the stick in the hole of your incense holder and light the end so that it’s alight. Once it’s established, blow out the flame so the stick is a burning ember. And there you go – keep your stick away from drafts and let the aroma fill your space!
So now you’re an expert in incense, all that’s left is to pick a scent! Go for whatever you fancy. The thing with incense is that you don’t really know what it smells like until you burn it. We will link some of the popular ones below, so try them out and you may find your new favourite too!