"Incense smoke against a black sky"
Credit: Vanessa Pike-Russell (cc)

Incense isn't expensive, but if you giggle maniacally when you're able to crack yet another empowering DIY code to add to your personal apothecary's I-can-make-that menu, read on. Learning how to make your own incense will empower your DIY heart.


Powdered Incense

Rather than work with resins, which usually break blender blades if they're not frozen first (and even then, mortar and pestle are preferable), we're going to focus on bases formulated from wood powders (preferably recovered from green manufacturers only to ensure the wood is processed from felled wood or wood removed to prevent brush fires and the like).

You should have a hand crank grinder to work with when you're powdering your wood if you don't purchase it in pre-powdered form. Arrange your powder in one part wood powder to two parts herbs. If powdered incense is all you need, burn it on charcoal as needed (but be sure the charcoal isn't treated with toxic saltpeter). When you're learning how to make your own incense, pre-powdered is probably tbe best way to go.


Forming Cones or Sticks

If you're looking for an incense cone or stick, mix makko, also called Tabu (a combustible bark from the Asian Tabunoki tree), with your powdered incense. A good measurement is one part makko to three to four parts powdered incense with a teensy bit of water to make it malleable. Shape your incense bits as desired, and allow them to dry out (away from the sun, in this case) for at least two weeks. If they burn too slow, add a little more makko to the next batch. Too fast? Use less in future formulations.

Alternatively, agave syrup coupled with dried and powdered fruit like prunes or raisins can be used in place of resins to make powdered incense pliable and adhesive. Drying times will need to be factored in before burning, however, and usually take 3 to 4 weeks at least. Burning the finished incense is recommended to be done on a makko base.


Burning Your Incense For Holistic Benefits

Herbs have holistic properties that still act therapeutically when burned. Play around with different combinations when you're learning how to make your own incense, and take notes of their therapeutic effects. The following can be obtained fairly easily:

Jasmine is a mood stabilizer and emotion-brightening depression remedy that additionally aids fatigue and possesses aphrodisiac effects.

Myrrh's properties are purifying. It also heightens sensory perception and assists with grounding.

Pine is an anti-bacterial with expectorant qualities.

Rosemary is an aid for mental focusing and clearing space of negative energies.

Sandalwood is a helpful sleep aid and inducer of serenity.

Clove can clear the air space of parasites that are still too miniscule to easily meet the eye.

Thyme clears the mental space and can eradicate illness in the air.

White Sage is a purifier that banishes negative energy on all levels of physical and subtle body.