Burning incense is an ancient practice. It dates back to the Neolithic period in China and prehistoric Egypt. Incense was used for pragmatic and ceremonial reasons. Many different cultures worldwide incorporated incense burning in their rituals and ceremonies. The incense for ritual in the old temple of Jerusalem is described in The Book of Exodus. It is called ktoret and includes frankincense, onyacha, and galbanum.
Any dry plant matter can be used for making incense: flowers, bark, resin or leaves. Different plants have different properties and can be chosen for different kinds of incense. Sage, for example, is believed to ward off evil therefore ‘sage smudging’ is used before many shamanic rituals.
The dry plant matter is ground to a powder and mixed together. Then a liquid is added: water, hydrosol, infusion, in order to glue it together and enable shaping the incense. Essential oils can be added in order to enhance the aroma and the therapeutic properties of the incense.
Mix dried ground herbs: 1 cup cinnamon, 1 cup sage and half a cup of frankincense (bark and resin mixed)
Make a herbal infusion: lavender verbena tea, allowed to steep for 20 min.
Add essential oil: 7 drops lavender, 5 drops sage and 5 drops verbena.
Slowly add the infusion to dry mixture mixing until you reach the consistency of wet sand.
Shape into cone shapes.
Allow drying for 24 hours and store in an airtight container.
There are literally endless variations on this basic recipe. Different plant matter, different essential oils, adding hydrosols, varied infusions. Go wild.
One suggestion is mosquito repellant citronella incense: use dried lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon geranium, and lemon balm. Make an infusion using the same plants and add citronella oil.