Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 21:36:56 -0700
From: Puanani DeLara <nanilara1 at>
Subject: Incense making-how to *long*

Hello Everyone,

I decided to post this, I hope I do not make anyone mad, I am very sorry if I do, but the response was over whelming and I couldn't keep up with the email requests. So here are the recipes I have for making incense, if you have any questions please feel free to email me.



There are two kinds of incense combustible and non combustible. I mostly use the non combustible type but I have been experimenting with the combustible type. Most herbs will smell different when burned then they do fresh, I would suggest they you sample different herbs by burning a tiny amount of dried herb/flower/etc. and smelling the smoke that they emit, this way you will have an idea of what you would like. Don't do to many in any one period because your nose will go dead just like when to many oils are smelled at one time.

Non-Combustible Incense

For all methods you will need charcoal, not the kind that is used in cooking!! The charcoal is a small disk about ½ high it usually goes by the brand name 3 kings and is carried in most health food stores, or wherever you purchase your supplies.

Method 1
This is the simplest method there is.
Fine powdered botanical(s) of your choice
If you have more then one ingredient mix them well and let sit in an airtight container for about 1 ½ weeks so that the scents can marry. When ready light your charcoal and wait till there is a fine layer of ash on top then take a pinch or two of your mix and place directly on the coal and enjoy.
Method 2
Fine powdered botanical(s)*1
Tragacanth glue (Tragacanth Gum Glue)
scented oil
Take approx 1 tsp tragacanth and mix in a glass about 8oz warm water, mix until all the gum in dissolved. let this mix sit until it starts to thicken then cover with a wet cloth and set aside(I usually let mine sit for about 2 days) Tragacanth will absorb tremendous amounts of water.
Mix the chosen botanical(s) well add enough tragacanth glue to create a semi thick paste, add your scented oil a drop at a time until you like the smell, mixing well after each drop. Form little cones or blocks from this mix and place on a tin foil covered cookie sheet . Place the Cookie sheet in a warm shaded area to dry. Depending on the thickness of your blocks it can take a few hours to several days. (I put mine in the oven with just the pilot light on and the door ajar and they are usually ready in about 3-4 hours). store in an airtight container out of the sun. To burn just light your charcoal and place a block on the coal.
Method 3
This is a neat way because involves recycling!!
When you strip the leaves from herbs set aside the stems for incense!!
Take about 2 thumbs worth of stems and tightly tie them in a bundle using 100% cotton string, make a knot at each crisscross as you wind the string around the bundle of stems. Let this dry in an airy spot. To burn just light one end of the bundle and wait till it is burning fairly well then blow out and let smolder. Place this in a fire proof tray or dish at an angle and enjoy. One of my favorites to do this with is Rosemary, I hang this herb upside down to dry leaves and all, when it is dry I strip off the leaves for later use and bundle the stems I really like the spicy smoke they emit.

Combustible Incense

This is the type that you light and it burns on its own with out the use of charcoal. I am still in the experiment stage of this, but what i have gotten to burn smells really nice. The problem that I am having is the amount of potassium nitrate to add I have the base down but when I add the potassium nitrate I either get an incense that emits great smoke but flash burns very quick of an incense that starts out smelling great but then doesn't continue to burn.

Method 1
Wood Dust*
scented oil/waters/wine
tragacanth glue
Potassium Nitrate
Mix the wood dust and botanical(s), mix in the tragacanth glue until you have a thick past, add your scented oil a few drops until you have the strength you like, (if it gets to runny add more glue and botanical) mixing a few pinches of potassium nitrate. Mix this very well ! form blocks or cones, place on foil lined cookie sheet and place in a shaded spot to dry or an oven with just the pilot light and door ajar. I have been letting 1 block dry first keeping the rest in a tightly covered jar. When the one block is dry I light it to see how it burns if it is too fast I add more of everything except Potassium nitrate if to slow or not at all I add potassium nitrate a pinch or two at a time.
Method 2
Tragacanth glue
6 parts charcoal (not the cooking type)
1 part benzoin
2 parts sandalwood powder
1 part powered orris root
6 drops oil
2-4 parts mixed botanical*2
1 large pinch potassium nitrate
mix dry ingredients well
add gums/ resins and mix again
add oil and mix
add glue until a paste is formed
Dry as above

Always store the finished product in airtight containers out of the light.

*1 botanical = any dried herb, flower, root, bark, gums, resins or combination thereof.
*2 botanical = any dried herb, flower, root or bark or combination there of

Puanani L. DeLara
email nanilara1 at

Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 00:09:35 MST
From: Michael Moore <hrbmoore.RT66.COM>
Subject: Re: Incense distibutor?

> Any one want to email me the address to a company that has a retail catalog for selling unscented incense cones and sticks?


These folks are OLD pros, have been selling bulk incense for decades, have unscented cones, dhoop and sticks by weight or count, as well as their own brand of charcoal rounds by the box or case.

I believe they only sell wholesale, but have been known to let things slide under fuzzy circumstances, such as messing around with stuff in pursuit of something you like and WANT to market. Otherwise, get a friendly retailer to order FOR you. I bought stuff from them for 15 years as a retailer...used to have fun dissolving Pinyon, Ponderosa, Birch, Blue Spruce, Juniper, Elephant Tree, and Brittle Bush gums I collected and impregnated the sticks and cones with the resin, picking native and buying commercial Copals in Mexico, adding a little Siberian Fir oil here, Cinnamon Leaf Oil there...back-of-the-store bathtub alchemy. It's fun...and saleable. Just keep logs of what you do so that you can REPEAT it again if it works.

(got this from the resource file from my web site...I need to update it soon, along with my class lists...I always seem to have time to scan some old fascinating 19th century book or edit some photos for the site, never seem to spend enough time trying to pay the fact the number MAY be 415-622-9124...I noticed I have BOTH numbers in the file...oh well.

Michael Moore (
All the SWSBM teaching and clinical manuals, JPEGs of Medicinal Plant
photographs and class announcements can be obtained at this site.