23 June 2011
Smells But No Bells
Since time immemorial, incense has been used for religious purposes and to cleanse the air in homes as well as in places of worship. Much of the incense is based on fragrant gums like frankincense and myrrh and come from Arabia and India. When you go to India, places like Bangalore almost seem infused with the rich smells of sandalwood.
At Steenbergs, you can get the practical benefit of incense sticks from India that come in a huge range of flavours. I particularly like frankincense and sandalwood, but you can have more exotic aromas like patchouli and ylang-ylang. I burn them every so often to cleanse the house and burn them over our fish shaped incense stick holders.
But what I really like are the incense burners and the charcoal that comes in handy 10 briquette packs that are remarkably good value. These charcoal circles can be made hot over a candle or a gas flame to get to a burning temperature, then placed into the beautiful clay burners - we have the Mysore shape. You can then drizzle over some pieces of frankincense for a sweet, turpentine-like smoke or myrrh for a bittersweet flavour. Or you can mix them together into an aromatic base, where I use a ratio of 2:1 of frankincense to myrrh. Then perhaps you can make a truly cleansing aroma by breaking some cinnamon or sandalwood bark over these resins to add another flavour to the whole.
For more recipes of do-it-yourself incense mixes, you could do worse than go to http://incensemaking.com/incense-recipes.htm or http://www.scentsofearth.com/how_to_make_incense.htm .