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Exploring your questions about Natural Incense!

Last update: 4/8/2024
Image via @subtle_bodies by @bebbagram

What is Natural Incense?

At JAU, we love to preach the benefits of Natural Incense, as seen in our brands Tribe Earth and Subtle Bodies. As the term suggests, Natural Incense is crafted using natural ingredients; whole plants, herbs, tree resins, gums, or wood powders give the incense its pure burn and distinctively organic scent as opposed to perfume-like scent. The beauty of Natural Incense lies in its exclusion of synthetic materials like artificial fragrances and burning accelerants.

Subtle Bodies exploring aromatic resin at Joshua Tree, California.

Is Natural Incense Single Origin?

While "Single Origin" is commonly associated with coffee culture, one of our brands Subtle Bodies embodies this concept in the incense world.

Similar to coffee roasters sourcing beans from specific regions, creators Tommy and Courtney ventured through jungles and forests to find sustainable sources for their single origin style incense.

Each Subtle Bodies scent, from the original Australian Sandalwood to the newest Peruvian Palo Santo, tells a unique story of a single forest in its smoke, allowing consumers to explore and appreciate the distinct flavours and characteristics of each scent.

Not all Natural Incense brands are single origin however it is always a benefit as it means the incense brand prioritises transparency and sustainability in their sourcing practices and this often results in a more authentic and meaningful incense experience.

How is Natural Incense Made?

Natural Incense is typically not produced through mass production or machinery that could compromise its authenticity. Instead, it is often handcrafted or made using traditional methods to maintain the purity of its ingredients.

For example, Tribe Earth's unconventional incense planks are hand-made by Gary and Kim, who personally gather plant matter and fragrant wood ingredients from local forests. Each plank is carefully crafted into dough, shaped, cut, and then dehydrated, resulting in a raw smokey scent that blends the fragrant nature of incense with the tactile qualities reminiscent of Palo Santo. Tribe Earth encapsulates natural incense to the core and so I love using it when I go outdoors and camping!

The gruesome looking image is actually harvested native Australian Marri Gum! Kim and Gary will use this to create the popular Bushwalk Incense plank.

Tribe Earth's newest Palo Santo incense gives out a spicy smoke trail!

Is Incense bad for you?

Many people ask ‘can incense smoke be harmful?’ and in reality like everything in life, moderation in all things is the best policy. Smoke from burning incense, like any type of smoke, can potentially have negative health effects if inhaled in excess. If you have the windows closed and you are burning sticks of incense frequently in a low ventilated space then it can be seen as harmful.

However you can circumvent these risks very easily!

Start by opening the windows for better airflow. If you find yourself using incense a half stick at a time I would suggest switching to low smoke incense such as the delicate smoke of Subtle Bodies. But most importantly, I recommend choosing Natural Incense brands. These are made from natural, plant-based ingredients without the addition of harmful chemicals decreasing the amount of air pollutants released in the smoke.

Our recommendation

Subtle Bodies - Taiwanese Hinoki

Subtle Bodies Hinoki comes from a sustainable plantation situated in the mountain highlands of Taiwan. This prized wood is celebrated as a construction material, and for its beneficial health properties. It has a fresh, yet deep woody scent which is familiar and clean - perfect for instilling a sense of calm and relaxation.

25 sticks / Burn time approximately 35 minutes per stick

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Tribe Earth - Dreamtime

Dreamtime is made from a mixture of Western Australian Sandalwood as the base wood, and Western Australian Balga tree along with various other Western Australian plant resins. Balga trees have been used traditionally in Australia for ceremonies and medicine with medicinal benefits such as relieving blocked noses and breathing passages.

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