THE CARCINOGENIC INCENSE

by , on
November 29, 2009
IncenseBorderI just found this article online, and I am completely upset: really, even incense is not safe anymore? What’s next? Is there anything left?

I do love my incense. Being blessed with a husband who comes from the land of incense sticks, I do frequently go to Indian stores (to buy weird stuff that I cannot pronounce but use in food all day long) and I do get some incense (agarbatti, as it seems to be called) all the time. I cannot say that I use it daily at home, but I do use it a lot and with great pleasure. At least I did. Before I read the aforementioned article.

I do have to confess that not just once I wondered how exactly are these incense sticks made and what’s in the Moon incense that I like so much. I kind of thought that maybe it is safer to buy the traditional Rose, Sandalwood and Jasmine, that have a better chance of not having added chemicals in the form of artificial fragrance. But I refused to think farther than that.

I also enjoy the reed diffusers that are very popular these days, but I am aware that I need to use my own natural oils with those, instead of the dubious fragrances they come with.

Now, usually I apply this theory to everything: if it has been used for centuries, it is safe, if it’s a modern thing, beware, beware, run. But what if the incense production process has been changed dramatically in the modern times? I mean, India now has to produce it not only for their own temples, but for all the hippies in the world, and there are quite a few of us.

Now I am determined to find out which incense sticks are more natural and safe. This article mentions the “dipped incense” which is usually ladened with chemicals. So that’s to be avoided, whatever it is.

From another source I become aware that most incense sticks are handmade and this industry is a major employer of women in India. Well, that is a big plus in my book. But still, I am more worried about the chemicals. Even the health of this women will suffer if they handle chemicals all day, right?

Well, my research, although not very deep, I have to confess, shows that most incense sticks contain chemical fragrances. Aha. But are some that don’t? Natural incense, please!

I have found the Lucky Mojo Incense which is “made with traditional herbs and roots and with botanical oils instead of synthetic fragrances”.

Another place, which looks very good to me, is Diabetes Balance: Natural Ayurveda and Herbs. They sell Calming, Cooling, Purifying and Warming incense. I am going to order a few of those, because they are quite cheap, right? Only $1.95.

Mountain Rose Herbs, which is a great company that many people rely on for their natural herbs and oils, sells a good variety of natural incense sticks, both the Indian fragranced from Surya (Rose, Saffron, Jasmine and others) and the more North American inspired from Pacific Northwest Incense with aromas like Douglas Fir, Cedar and White Sage.

Another interesting place I’ve found is BlueStar Incense, started by somebody just like us, lover of incense and interested in natural alternatives.

The internet is also an wonderful source of tutorials on making your own, if you are so inclined. I liked this one.

Happy burning!

P.S. I am just editing this to mention that now that I’ve been looking, I noticed that in every natural store there will be a selection of natural incense available. So it is not that hard to find, after all.

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