Incense is aromatic biotic material that releases fragrant smoke when burned. The term is used for either the material or the aroma. Incense is used for aesthetic reasons, aromatherapy, meditation, and ceremony. It may also be used as a simple deodorant or insect repellent.
Incense is composed of aromatic plant materials, often combined with essential oils. The forms taken by incense differ with the underlying culture, and have changed with advances in technology and increasing number of uses.
Incense can generally be separated into two main types: “indirect-burning” and “direct-burning”. Indirect-burning incense (or “non-combustible incense”) is not capable of burning on its own, and requires a separate heat source. Direct-burning incense (or “combustible incense”) is lit directly by a flame and then fanned or blown out, leaving a glowing ember that smoulders and releases a smoky fragrance. Direct-burning incense is either a paste formed around a bamboo stick, or a paste that is extruded into a stick or cone shape.
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