Burning incense is an ancient art that has been practiced across the world for many thousands of years. Long before our ability to extract the essential oils from plants, burning the whole dried plant would have been the earliest form of aromatherapy.
Incense burning was common place in hospitals, places of worship and the home to promote health, clean the air, enhance meditation and spiritual practices, in celebration or remembrance or to cultivate a sense of protection and grounding.
Incense comes in many forms and our loose incense blends combine a mixture of resin, bark, leaves, flowers and cones that we have grown or sustainably foraged from around Cambridgeshire.
We have had many questions about how to use our incense blends so we wanted to provide some more information in this post.
Our favourite way to burn our loose incense blends is using a mesh burner like this one for everyday use. Ours is from Ayurveda 101
You can also add a pinch of loose incense to a charcoal disk in a burner for ceremonial use outdoors or in a well ventilated area
There are other ways to enjoy loose incense too. For a very gentle fragrance, the dry blend can be added to a standard incense burner (non mesh, above a tealight candle) which will release the oils from the plants and emit a gentle calming scent.
Alternatively, you do not need to burn the blend at all to enjoy the plant energies. You can carry your tin with you for a grounding tool that can be breathed in to calm and relax you throughout the day.
Smoulder sticks are bundles of herbs bound together and dried for the purpose of burning. Burning herbs is one of the earliest forms of aromatherapy and has been practiced for thousands of years. You may be familiar with the term smudge stick or smudging, which refers to a specific Indigenous American sacred smoke ceremony. Most cultures across the world have burned herbs and dried plants at some point in their history.
All of our smoulder sticks are intuitively handcrafted with a blend of homegrown organic herbs & wild foraged plants local or naturalised in the UK, each with their own unique qualities.
As the herbs burn and smoulder an aromatic smoke is released containing many of the beneficial compounds and energies of the plant. The element of fire also symbolises energy, transformation and clearing of unwanted energies.
We do not add any fragrance to our sticks. They are intended for the enjoyment of the natural plant properties rather than as fragrant incense. Plants will all burn differently and getting to know your stick can be a mindful experience!
How to use
Hold the end of your stick just above a candle until it smoulders or catches alight. Depending on the plants in your stick it can react very variably. It may produce flames especially on the first light which is normal but always use gently with care and attention and a fireproof dish underneath to catch any falling embers. Once lit, after the few seconds, blow the flame out as you would a candle allowing your stick to smoulder away and release aromatic smoke into your space. Place your smouldering stick in a heatproof dish or bowl.
Working with plants in this way can enhance a meditation or relaxation process. Observing the smoke as you breathe deeply and relax, allowing the plants to support your intentions and clear what no longer serves you. You may also wish to move your smoulder stick around your space to bring the cleansing smoke to particular areas of your room/home.
Different plants burn at different rates. Sometimes your stick will extinguish by itself. You can light it again if you would like to continue enjoying the smoke.
When you are ready to extinguish your stick, hold the smouldering end against the heat proof bowl or dish until fully out, a layer of sand in your dish makes this easier too.
Always use your stick in a well ventilated area and with a heatproof bowl or dish to collect any embers that will fall from your stick.
Please be aware that plants are powerful and not all are recommended for use during pregnancy or breast feeding, if you have certain health conditions or around pets. Please always check the full blend list and consult a specialist before use. If you experience any adverse reactions, discontinue immediately.
Some people choose not to burn their sticks at all. If you prefer, you can hang yours above your bed or place on your altar to enjoy the energy of the plants or use in mindful pratices.
How to care for your smoulder stick
You should be able to use your stick over many occasions. The herbs burn best when there is some air between them. You may find as you get closer to where the stick has been tied that it doesn’t smoulder as well. When this happens snip the next twine tie off and continue burning your stick.
If the end of the stick becomes too charred, it may not light as easily, in which case you can clear some of the blackened bits by pressing down against your fireproof dish or even snipping the ends if necessary.
Keeping your stick dry and out of direct sunlight will preserve its qualities for longer.
If you have any further questions we are always happy to hear for you.
We recently put out a question over on our Instagram page asking what people would like from a smoulder stick. The most common answer we received was around support for anxiety, stress and depression.
Last month, we created a beautiful smoulder stick after a harvest of our flowering marjoram along with other herbs in our garden – lemon balm, bay, thyme and lemon verbena. Each of these herbs is known to positively impact our nervous system, calming the body and relaxing the mind. We teamed these herbs with foraged plants known to benefit our mental health. We only made 6 which sold quickly but after finding some beautiful wild pink marjoram last week, we decided to make a new batch.
Marjoram is an uplifting herb to work with. In ancient Greece it was named ‘joy of the mountains’ and was combined with thyme and burned to help ease grief and sadness. It is a nervine that helps tension headaches and insomnia, although is not recommended during pregnancy. We also added oatstraw to our new batch of sticks that calms and strengthens the nervous system.
We now have 5 new Mindful Magick smoulder sticks. With potent plants known to help calm the central nervous system, reduce symptoms of stress and help uplift our spirits. These sticks emit an aromatic smoke when burned and can be used in mindfulness and meditation practices. If you would prefer not to burn your stick, you can hang it above your bed or place on your altar to enjoy the energy of the plants. You can find out more information about each plant used in this stick and their benefits in our Etsy listing.