How To Use Herbal Incense

Despite its pleasant and relaxing effects, herbal incense can be dangerous.

When dealing with flames, there is always the possibility (however slight) of getting burned or starting a fire.

Herbal Incense comes in several forms, like herbal incense sticks, blocks, coils, cones, and powder. This article will teach you the safety precautions and how to learn how to use and burn loose herbal incense products properly, and vary with each form. Hobbyists who make their own herbal incense favor powdered herbal incense (also known as noncombustible or loose incense), mainly because it is easier and quicker to makes than sticks or cones. It is also potentially more dangerous. Consequently, this article will focus on the proper, safe way to burn loose herbal incense.


Burning Loose Herbal Incense

Burning Herbal Incense Sticks. Loose, powdered herbal incense can’t be lit directly-hence the term “noncombustible” herbal incense.

To burn it, loose herbal incense in sprinkled over glowing hot charcoal.
Done the right way, using the right tools, this is perfectly safe.
Done the wrong way, it’s a house fire waiting to happen.



Burning briquettes release poisonous carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, toxic gas.What ever you do, DON’T use the charcoal briquettes intended for barbeques!

Burned outdoors in a grill, briquettes are perfectly safe. In an enclosed room, however, carbon monoxide can build up and cause brain damage or even death.
Instead, use special charcoal disks designed for burning indoors. You can find these charcoal disks in hobby shops, some health food stores, or online.



A censer is a bowl designed for burning loose herbal incense.

If possible, buy a censer for burning loose herbal incense.
If you can’t afford one, you can use a kitchen bowl-just make sure it meets the following specifications:
A. Ceramic or Stone:
Plastic melts.
Wood burns.
Metal heats up very quickly and can burn you.
B. Wide and Deep:
If the bowl too narrow, the heat from the charcoal can heat the sides up enough to cause burns. If the bowl is too shallow, flammable items can get blown or knocked into the coal, or burning herbs and ash can drift out and ignite something nearby. Select a bowl at least six inches wide, and deep enough for the sides to a few inches above the burning coal.
C. Flat-bottomed:
Find a bowl that can’t easily be knocked over. As a general rule of thumb, the wider and flatter the bottom is, the more stable the bowl will be.



Censers are safest when they have a lid.

This prevents flammable objects (not to mention pets or children) from accidentally getting into the bowl with the burning coal.True censors usually have a carved lid with several gaps in the design, to let air in and the fragrant smoke out. If you don’t have a real censor, place something over the bowl that will let smoke out but prevent foreign objects from getting in.
Wire screens work best, but in a pinch a kitchen colander will work, too.



Don’t burn the charcoal directly on the bottom of the bowl.

The intense, localized heat can cause the ceramics to crack. Instead, fill the bowl a quarter to a third full of sand. This will absorb and distribute the heat from the charcoal. If you don’t have sand, you can use salt-just be aware that it might affect the aroma of the herbal incense.



Finally, place your censer or bowl on a wide, flat surface at about waist height, and clear anything flammable from the immediate area.

Don’t place it on the floor-it’s too easy to forget it’s there and trip over or it (or, worse, step on it and the hot coal). If you have pets or young children, you might want to place the censer at chest or even head height, well out of their reach. Remember, herbal incense use is for persons 18 years and older only, and is not for human consumption.