It appears that monks first brought incense to China . It was during the Tang Dynasty, however, that incense became commonly used, and not restricted to medical or religious uses. Further on during the Ming Dynasty the incense stick was developed in China . It was during this period that incense was developed in Japan in the form of a cone.
I am told that the incense is made by combining aromatic ingredients and a source of heat. The aromatic ingredients are ground into powder. Aroma is released when the powder is ignited. A neutral material is used to bind together the powdered ingredients and then formed into the shape of the sticks, or in other shapes. The neutral material is said to have a second purpose, which is to make the incense burn evenly and slowly.
Incense is used today to help us relax. The lavender incense is popular as it is said to produce a calming and balancing effect in us. Another is sandalwood incense, growing in popularity for it exotic yet mild fragrance. There are many incense that are made with blended notes, which are made from more than one substance, giving us more exciting ways to explore the fragrances. Enjoy!