The Meaning of Incense

Incense is an aromatic material which is typically burned to release an aroma. The term ‘incense’ relates to the fragrant material itself, instead of the aroma which it produces. Incense has a long history within many cultures and has a plethora of uses including aesthetics, aromatherapy, meditation, and religious ceremonies.

Traditionally it was also used to mask the scents of everyday life or to keep away insects.

An incense stick is typically composed of a variety of aromatic materials. These can include things such as odoriferous resins, aromatic wood, honey, fruit pastes and essential oils. Incense can take a variety of forms depending on the studied geographical location. Although these were traditionally hand-rolled, many companies use semi-automatic machines to cut down on costs. This does not typically compromise on quality.

The most common types of incense are incense sticks and cones, but there are other styles as well.

There are also two separate categories of incense. These include indirect-burning and direct-burning. A direct-burning incense, for example, would include incense sticks. These stay lit on their own and do not require a constant heat source. Indirect burning incense is most commonly burned on charcoal, although other methods exist as well.

The word incense originates from the Latin term ‘incendere which means “to burn”.

The commonly used term ‘agarbatti‘ also means incense stick.

Incense Definition From

  1. An aromatic gum or other substance producing a sweet odor when burned, used in religious ceremonies, to enhance a mood, etc.
  2. The perfume or smoke arising from such a substance when burned.
  3. Any pleasant perfume or fragrance.

This article was last revised on 02/28/2020.

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