The three wise men visited Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, and brought three special gifts for the young Messiah. The three gifts were frankincense, myrrh, as well as Gold. Of these three gifts, gold was the least valuable. The other two gifts were used to make incense. Therefore, you can note that incense was very important in the world at that time. In the modern era, perfumes dominate the fragrance industry and the production of incense is smaller compared to perfumes. However, it is important to know that incense is the ancestor of perfumes and other products that have an appealing smell. So, what is incense made of?
The source of incense is tree resins, coupled with certain seeds, barks, roots, as well as flowers. All these products are aromatic. In different religions, especially the ancient ones, the gods are associated with the environment, which led the believers to identify the fragrant plants to be a way of driving demons away and encouraging the gods to come to earth.
Incense was also used to eradicate bad odors. In the current fashion trends, you will find that most designers will use certain scents, evoking their clothes’ spirits.
The most common types of incense are western incense and eastern incense.
The western incense still plays a big role in Catholic churches. The gum resins available in tree barks are the main sources of this type of incense. The Christmas tree has a sticky gum, which is a resin whose scent will evoke the holiday spirit. The tree produces the gum in order to seal any cuts on the bark, in turn preventing any infections. When there is dry climate, the resin will quickly become hard and harvested with ease using a knife. When sprinkled on coal that is burning, the resins will release a fragrance.
The eastern incense, on the other hand, comes from certain plants, such as patchouli, vetiver, agarwood, as well as sandalwood. They are ground with a mortar and pestle, after which water is added making it a paste. A bit of Potassium Nitrate is added to the paste to allow it to burn in a uniform manner. The paste is then processed and sold in different forms, such as the incense stick in India. The Chinese, however, prefer to extrude the incense mix using a sieve, which results in curled or straight strands, similar to noodles. These strands are dried and burned. When incense is burnt, it will release essential oils into the dry resin.
Incense design is solely based on fragrance. The makers of incense will monitor the trends in fragrance from samples obtained from houses, fashions, as well as customer interests. They will also note the fragrances found in detergents, air fresheners, as well as fabric softeners.
When a possible fragrance comes to play, the manufacturer will make batches, and customers and employees get samples to burn and test.
No by-products come from the manufacture of incense. The primary waste product is dust, which is contained through vacuuming and perfect ventilation. The employees do not face any safety hazards, although people with allergies might be at considerable risk.