Make Incense with Essential Oils

Incensed

Image courtesy of Erin Crouse at flickr.com

Incense is a complex thing. Some people use it daily and some people find it too “hippie.” I was intrigued by the meditative concept of it but turned off when the smoke gave me a headache. That was until I found a natural way of making incense. Another benefit to homemade incense is that it can be adapted to your scent preferences and desired outcomes.

There are several forms of incense, but I will describe the honey method because I find that adding honey gives the incense a component of sweetness. Also, it is somewhat easier because the ingredients don’t need to be as finely ground. Note: woods can be purchased in powdered form to make the process easier.

Honey Incense
*Freeze any gummy resins for 30 minutes or more to allow for easier grinding.
*Roughly measure dry ingredients in their whole form and then grind each separately. The result should be coarse granules like sea salt. Herbs and flowers can be ground in a coffee grinder, while resins must be ground in a mortar and pestle.
*Combine the ground and measured ingredients in a mortar and pestle and grind together.
*Place mixture into a bowl. Slowly drizzle in small amounts of honey until the mixture just comes together. Knead to fully combine.
*Add essential oils and knead again.
*Pinch off pea-sized pieces and roll into pellets.
*Dry the pellets by placing on a board covered with wax paper. Place the board inside a large paper bag and close the end of the bag. Turn pellets twice daily to help dry evenly.
*When pellets are dry enough to be handled, place them in a sealed unglazed ceramic or glass jar in a single layer for at least 48 hours. Do not stack pellets on top of each other or they will stick together.
*Aging the pellets for several days or weeks will create a more complex aroma.

For this quiet time of winter I offer you a blend:
Stillness
2 parts Labdanum (Cistus villosus var. creticus)
3 parts Rose Petals (Rosa spp.)
1 part Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
1 part Sandalwood (Santalum album)
Prepare in the method described above, replacing any of the ingredients with essential oils. For a quicker option, make an essential oil blend of the above recipe and use in a diffuser.

The Stillness incense blend encourages relaxation and meditation, so enjoy it throughout the holiday season.