Since ages incense has been used for creating aromatic, fragrant spaces. Incense has always been deeply intertwined with religious ceremonies as well as the practice of medicine.The first reported healing practices, recorded in ancient Egypt, exposed patients to the smoke of incense for healing.
Many natural incense ingredients have almost no aroma until they are heated. Notably,Red sanders powder and Aloes wood as well as many other resins have little or no aroma until they are smoldered over the incense fire.
Incense and Herbalism go hand-in-hand, and the oldest sources we have regarding herbalism and incense is the Indian Vedas - Athar-vaveda and the Rigveda. The first phase of Ayurveda deals with the subject in a more magical and religious approach to healing.
Based on the 'Five elements' and their relationship with Ayurveda plants and common incense ingredients are also divided into five classes:
1. Ether (Fruits)
2. Water (Stems & Branches)
Red sanders, Sandalwood, Aloeswood, Cedarwood, Cassia, Frankincense, Myrrh, Borneol
3. Earth (Roots)
Turmeric, Vetivert, Ginger, Costus Root, Valerian, Spikenard
4. Fire (flower)
5. Air (leaves)
Incense is composed of aromatic biotic materials. It releases fragrant smoke when burned. The term incense refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces.
Many religious ceremonies and spiritual purificatory rites employ incense, a practice that persists to this day. Incense is also used in medicine and for its aesthetic value. The forms taken by incense have changed with advances in technology, differences in the underlying culture, and diversity in the reasons for burning it.
Red sandalwood makes a good base wood for incense making.