How to Make Incense Without Makko

Makko powder

The incense-making process is deemed difficult by many but it is not as complicated as people think. All you need to know is the basic ingredients needed. After proper mixing of the components, you can choose to give the end project any form you might want.

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The basic ingredients that are required are a base, a binder, an aromatic component, and water. The base is the combustible form that burns in the combusting forms of incense. The binder is used to glue components of the incense together and bring out the shape that you desire. The aromatic component is the source of the scent while water is used to activate the binder.

So where does makko fall among these four basic ingredients? What is its use exactly in incense making? Can I make incense without makko? In this article, we will help you understand how to make incense without makko. We will also talk about the several alternatives available.

What is Makko?

Makko is incense powder that is derived from the bark of a tree called tabu no ki. This incense powder comes in four different levels depending on its quality. The highest level of makko has the least smell compared to the lower ones.

What makes makko unique compared to the rest of the ingredients is its ability to burn completely and evenly and also its water-soluble binding properties. In other words, it is both a binder and a base.

Makko, therefore, simplifies incense making since it is a two-in-one ingredient. This is why it is prominent in many incense-making recipes.

However, other substances can be used to substitute makko powder based on their different uses. But remember to consider the substitute’s scent. Some are stronger and some are too mild. It should be a fragrance that serves to complement the entire blend.

Makko Powder Substitute

In case makko powder is not available near you or it is too pricy for you to afford, no worries – there are many substances that can be used in place of makko.

The most convenient substitute is Joss powder because it has a two-in-one property, similar to makko. Joss powder is obtained from the bark of a tree called litsea glutinosa.

Like Makko, Joss powder is a preferred incense binder. It also serves perfectly as a base that helps the incense burn better. It also has no scent hence does not affect the overall desired fragrance. In addition, Joss powder is affordable and blends perfectly for many incense recipes.

The other substitutes for makko powder are either bases or binders.

Base Substitutes of Makko

These are the substances that can burn appropriately and evenly. They require the addition of a binder since they do not have the double property in makko or Joss powder. If you want to make incense without makko, try the following alternatives.

  • Sandalwood Powder

Although lacking binding properties, this powder is great for burning properties. Any type of sandalwood could be used as a substitute with a mixture of gum binder to get both the base and binding properties in your incense.

  • Powdered Charcoal

Charcoal can be used to burn and release the fragrance in the incense. Normally, the base is used to replace charcoal or any other separate source of heat. However, if the base is withdrawn, then charcoal can be used instead.

  • Cedarwood

The different types of cedarwood are used as bases and they add a strong fragrance to the resulting incense.

Binder Substitutes of Makko powder

  • Laha Powder

It has water-soluble binding properties which are great in shaping the incense dough. It also has less smell and hence does not interfere with the desired scent.

  • Marshmallow Root

It is obtained from the marshmallow plant. Though it is regarded to be a herb more than wood, it is used as a binder in basic incense recipes.

Also, read: How to make Lotion Candles DIY


Do you know how to make incense without makko? Makko powder is excellent in incense making but many other powders work just as well. They might even produce better outcomes in terms of scent.

They may be superior in regards to cost, availability, and the sustenance of the scent while the incense burns. Try out these powders –all readily available – and you may end up appreciating them more.

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