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Julien
25-11-2007, 06:19
Okay, so I wasn't sure where to post this, but I figured this was the best place...

I have a question about incense. I have EXTREMELY sensitive sinuses, and have found that certain scents as well as whatever the scent is coming from (i.e., candle, incense stick, etc.) really really bother me. BUT... Others don't.

So those of you who use incense a lot -- do you find that some brands/types of incense are problematic for visitors/clients/etc., while others aren't?

And, any insights into which brands/types of incense aren't problematic?

See, I really like burning incense -- before my sinuses went haywire, I did like to keep some in the house. However, nowadays I really need to take some care with it. I'm willing to try things, but I would love to hear if anyone has found particular scents/brands/types that seem to be kinder to sinuses than others???

Thank you.
Julien

avalonian
25-11-2007, 06:45
I find that any incense of the brand "Maroma" is very gentle and non-invasive, maybe because they give off very little smoke. Maybe you need to make a list of which ones you have a problem with and try to find what they have in common? Process of elimination etc etc.

Julien
25-11-2007, 07:14
Avalonian,

Thank you very much for the recommendation.

It's really the smoke most of the time, though certain scents clearly cause a problem as well. I seem to be all right with cinnamon, sandalwood, or other tree scents. But some of the others are tortuous.

Also, if the smoke is dark gray or if there's a lot of it, I have a problem (whether we're talking about incense or anything else -- smoky candles are hell, too). And, I really have been hesitant to do a lot of process of elimination because the "costs" (i.e., sinus headache that lasts several days) are very high if I stumble across the wrong thing.

I don't know the brand you just mentioned, but I'll look for it in my favorite esoteric store and see how it goes. :) Less smoke is important, I know.

Thanks.
Julien

.traveller.
25-11-2007, 07:33
I too have problems finding scents that don't give me headaches.

You might try Baieido's "EN SEI" line, it is expensive but wonderful scents and I didn't have a reaction to it. It is stick incense.

I've got white copal resin on my oil burner and that is going well. Some smoke, nice clean scent, no headache. My eyes are itchy, but they were like that before I lit the incense.

thorhammer
25-11-2007, 08:15
Julien, try going back to basics and putting incense resins and powders on a burning charcoal disc. It's a pain in the butt and you have to be careful not to set fire to anything, but the quality of smoke you get is so different to that of "joss" sticks. It's almost . . . smooth! I love "real" incense like this, but it's not the sort of thing you can just light and forget, like you can with a stick or cone. You have to kind of blend things, sometimes grind them or crush them, and constantly put bits on the disc - but I'm here to tell you, it's worth it. Frankincense is easily available, as is dragon's blood powder (a tree resin, btw), and sandalwood chips. Cinnamon bark would be something to try!

HTH,

\m/ Ka

avalonian
25-11-2007, 08:26
Julien

If it's any help, the pack says "Maroma Auroville India" (coincidentally, the one I have here is Cinnamon!). If you can't find it, let me know and I'll ask my favourite shop (esoteric, naturally) where they get it from.

Julien
25-11-2007, 10:13
Thank you -- all three of you. You've given me some ideas, and I'll look into getting the brands and/or following thorhammer's thoughts. I really, really appreciate the help.

Julien

HearthCricket
25-11-2007, 10:40
I am a little late coming into this, but I find I have the same similarities in responding to candles/incense as you do. I now only use 100% soy candles for burning as the other bothers me and leaves that horrible soot all over your house. You don't realize it until you have burnt things for a few years and have white walls and then move to paint and wonder where all the "ghosts" or "shadows" came from. Imagine what we are breathing in. Ugh!

I have really cut down on my incense usage because it does give off a lot of smoke, I often find myself coughing from it and I don't like the way it has permeated my curtains, tablecloth, rugs, etc. I may like it, but I don't particularly want that scent around all the time. Now I only keep Nag Champa (the purer kind that comes in the red, white and blue box) and rarely burn anything else. In fact, some sticks smell so stronly, you don't even have to light them for scents. Just put a few out in a bowl without lighting them and you will be surprised at how quickly it scents a room or two up!

BodhiSeed
25-11-2007, 12:54
Now I only keep Nag Champa (the purer kind that comes in the red, white and blue box) and rarely burn anything else. In fact, some sticks smell so stronly, you don't even have to light them for scents. Just put a few out in a bowl without lighting them and you will be surprised at how quickly it scents a room or two up!

I'm also a Nag Champa fan (of the red, white and blue box from India) because I'm so sensitive to scents. I like to leave mine out in a vase to "air out" for a few weeks before I use them. It does scent the air like HC said, and those that have been left out seem to have a nicer fragrance. I also cut my sticks in half, so they don't burn quite as long (my meditation room is very small).
Here's the brand I use and a website I've bought from before:
http://www.bytheplanet.com/LineItems.cfm?brand=11150&productline=SAI%20BAB%20&SubCategory=497D

Bodhran

Julien
25-11-2007, 12:58
Thank you HC and Bodhran -- I just checked out the website, and this looks to be a good resource. I live out in the middle of no where, and the nearest city is about 2 hours away. Usually my favorite little shop here in town can get me anything I want, but Internet resources are truly necessary.

Julien

The crowned one
25-11-2007, 13:07
Essential oils may be the route for you or natural resins and shaved barks.

HearthCricket
25-11-2007, 13:40
I'm also a Nag Champa fan (of the red, white and blue box from India) because I'm so sensitive to scents. I like to leave mine out in a vase to "air out" for a few weeks before I use them. It does scent the air like HC said, and those that have been left out seem to have a nicer fragrance. I also cut my sticks in half, so they don't burn quite as long (my meditation room is very small).
Bodhran

I find I only burn 1/2 or even 1/3rd at a time. I simply take the incense (still in holder) and bring to the kitchen sink. There I dump the ashes and tap the lit end of the stick into the sink until it breaks off. I make sure the incense end is wet so it won't burn until I am ready! I soak the broken off end and leave in sink until it is completely cool before tossing away. I put the rest of the unburnt stick back into the holder until I decide to use it again. Sounds complicated, but really isn't and takes all of about 45 seconds to complete! Plus, you end up with a lovely scent, saves your incense and you are not overpower or feel like you have sit there and baby sit until the stick completely burns out. Hope that helps, too!

Julien
25-11-2007, 13:48
All these comments are tremendously helpful. :)

Briar Rose
25-11-2007, 14:12
There is actually a very light smokeless incense.
Ka-fuh, Hinoki

Bamboo is the best!

Elnor
26-11-2007, 07:02
Julien:
This is a type of incense I use for when I'm meditating, and for when clients come for a reading; it's called Morning Star.

http://www.santosha.com/morning-star-incense.html

The sticks are smaller than normal, (and even though it seems more expensive than others, there are lots more in a box).

They are a very mild incense, but have lovely scents... I've never yet have it bother a client, and it's not overwhelming even if it's nearby when I do a meditation. The jasmine one is a very nice light one, and I also use Green Tea and Cedar both quite a lot.
I do recommend these very highly!

elnor

Julien
26-11-2007, 07:50
Options! How lovely! I get to go shopping this week in my favorite stores!!! Whoo-hooo!!!

Thanks everyone. I'm going to make a list of all the brands you've suggested and head out later in the week to see what I can find. I really appreciate the help on this -- especially in the winter when fresh flowers are hard to come by, incense in the house would be quite nice. :)

Julien

elvenstar
26-11-2007, 07:58
I second the morning star recommendation! They are Japanese, very light and don't choke me at all, I am very sensitive to incense and will sometimes feel like I'm suffocating if there's a heavier one lit indoors.

I like Nag Champa but it's a bit too much for me indoors, the morning star ones are perfect. You can easily break them in smaller bits and they come with their own little holder in the box. I especially like Green Tea, very light and good for cleansing too, Vanilla is discreet and also very light. My favourite ones are Cedarwood and Amber. :)

Sphinxmoth
15-12-2007, 01:59
I am coming to this thread very VERY late, but-

I notice you are Smack in the Middle. I am in Colorado. I know our weather is not likely to be much the same, but winter here in the high desert is very very DRY. Humidity in the fall and winter is often in single digit numbers, or in the teens.

My husband also has problematic sinuses, and is, moreover, extremely sensitive to chemicals and odors and such.

That being said, he is also fond of burning scented candles (Crystal Journey candles are hands-down our favorites), and these last couple of winters he has taken to putting a big old pot of water on the back of the stove to simmer. He throws in a big handful of dried lavender flowers (got in bulk at the natural foods market). The lavender has a light, astringent smell, the humidity makes a big difference to everyone's sinuses, and putting some humidity in the air makes the house feel warmer, carries warm air around better than a dry atmosphere does.

There are other things, I am sure, you could add to simmering water to go into the air- eucalyptus leaves come to mind- to help "clear the air" and keep your sinuses happy, and add a generally good atmosphere to your rooms.

Also- just as a note of interest. More than once the pot of water has simmered down to gone, and the lavender has scorched in the bottom of the pan. (Don't use a non-stick pan if this is EVER likely to happen), and the smell of burnt, scorched lavender is extremely nice (or we find it to be, anyway), having overtones of cinnamon. Lavender might be a good thing to burn on a charcoal disk, I don't know, I have never tried.

But scented hot water is a nice clean alternative to incense smoke in a room, and I thought I would mention it.

ravenest
15-12-2007, 10:46
One has to remember that 'burning' incense releases a lot more than the incense itself. Many stick incenses are made from cow dung as the main medium and that can be quiet acrid and affect the sinus.

Even a pure incense on a charcoal block is releasing all sorts of substances (even the block by itself can do this depending on what it is impregnated with, particularly during the ignition stage, some fizz and burn with great 'fumigation').

You could consider an oil burner. This works by suppling gentle constant heat to the bowl on top which should be full of water (hence never gets over 100 deg C.). Use a pure essential oil, that way the most refined and volatile part of the oil (holding the delicate scent) is evaporated off out of the water and the other 'grosser' ingredients are left behind - unless one neglects to top the water up and it all evaporates and then the gross substances left behind will begin to evaporate as well.