Types Of Incense - Alast Incense - عود الست

Types Of Incense

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Incense is available in various forms and degrees of processing. They can generally be separated into "direct-burning" and "indirect-burning" types. Preference for one form or another varies with culture, tradition, and personal taste. The two differ in their composition due to the former's requirement for even, stable, and sustained burning.


Indirect-burning incense, also called "non-combustible incense", is an aromatic material or combination of materials, such as resins, that does not contain combustible material and so requires a separate heat source. Finer forms tend to burn more rapidly, while coarsely ground or whole chunks may be consumed very gradually, having less surface area. Heat is traditionally provided by charcoal or glowing embers. In the West, the best known incense materials of this type are the resins frankincense and myrrh,[citation needed] likely due to their numerous mentions in the Bible.[original research?] Frankincense means "pure incense", though in common usage refers specifically to the resin of the boswellia tree.

Whole: The incense material is burned directly in raw form on top of coal embers.
Powdered or granulated: Incense broken into smaller pieces burns quickly and provides brief but intense odor.
Paste: Powdered or granulated incense material is mixed with a sticky incombustible binder, such as dried fruit, honey, or a soft resin and then formed to balls or small pastilles. These may then be allowed to mature in a controlled environment where the fragrances can commingle and unite. Much Arabian incense, also called "Bukhoor" or "Bakhoor", is of this type, and Japan has a history of kneaded incense, called nerikō or awasekō, made using this method. Within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition, raw frankincense is ground into a fine powder and then mixed with various sweet-smelling essential oils.


Direct-burning incense, also called "combustible incense", is lit directly by a flame. The glowing ember on the incense will continue to smoulder and burn the rest of the incense without further application of external heat or flame. Direct-burning incense is either extruded, pressed into forms, or coated onto a supporting material. This class of incense is made from a moldable substrate of fragrant finely ground (or liquid) incense materials and odourless binder. The composition must be adjusted to provide fragrance in the proper concentration and to ensure even burning. The following types are commonly encountered, though direct-burning incense can take nearly any form, whether for expedience or whimsy.

Burning incense stick and its smoke Coil: Extruded and shaped into a coil without a core, coil incense can burn for an extended period, from hours to days, and is commonly produced and used in Chinese cultures.

Cone: Incense in this form burns relatively quickly. Incense cones were invented in Japan in the 1800s.
Cored stick: A supporting core of bamboo is coated with a thick layer of incense material that burns away with the core. Higher-quality variations have fragrant sandalwood cores. This type of incense is commonly produced in India and China. When used in Chinese folk religion, these are sometimes known as "joss sticks".
Solid stick: With no supporting core, solid sticks of incense are easily broken for portion control. This is the most commonly produced form of incense in Japan and Tibet.
Powder: The loose incense powder used for making indirect burning incense is sometimes burned without further processing. Powder incense is typically packed into long trails on top of wood ash using a stencil and burned in special censers or incense clocks.
Paper: Paper infused with incense, folded accordion style, is lit and blown out. Examples include Carta d'Armenia and Papier d'Arménie.
Rope: The incense powder is rolled into paper sheets, which are then rolled into ropes, twisted tightly, then doubled over and twisted again, yielding a two-strand rope. The larger end is the bight, and may be stood vertically, in a shallow dish of sand or pebbles. The smaller (pointed) end is lit. This type of incense is easily transported and stays fresh for extremely long periods. It has been used for centuries in Tibet and Nepal.
Moxa tablets, which are disks of powdered mugwort used in Traditional Chinese medicine for moxibustion, are not incenses; the treatment is by heat rather than fragrance.

Joss sticks in the Temple of Literature, Hanoi in Hanoi, Vietnam Incense sticks may be termed joss sticks, especially in parts of East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia.[22] Among ethnic Chinese and Chinese-influenced communities these are traditionally burned at temples, before the threshold of a home or business, before an image of a religious divinity or local spirit, or in shrines, large and small, found at the main entrance of every village. Here the earth god is propitiated in the hope of bringing wealth and health to the village. They can also be burned in front of a door or open window as an offering to heaven, or the devas. The word "joss" is derived from the Latin deus (god) via the Portuguese deos through the Javanese dejos, through Chinese pidgin English.