Sandalwood incense sticks are typically made from a combination of natural ingredients with its main ingredient being, off course, sandalwood powder. Sandalwood powder is taken from a tree of the same name and its particularly found in India. The bark is ground and the dust is added to an adhesive (non toxic) so that it binds and becomes combustible.
There are various forms of incenses. Some are found in the form of sticks, cones, powder and coils. The main purpose is to burn the core ingredient and allow it to smolder then by releasing a fragrant scent.
In ancient times, incense powder was used to increase the hospitality of one’s home. The home was usually subject to poor ventilation and increase bacteria count in the air. Sandalwood incense was a way to disinfect the stale air in an enclosed place. It was also found that the aroma of sandalwood made a difference in the psychological frame of those around.
Sandalwood incense has ben around for at least 5000 years. It was found in Indus Valley Civilizations, In the Chinese dynasties and the Arabian peninsula. Even Japan has evidence of using sandalwood incense. What was not always evident was what the purpose was to do it and how it started.
Hypothesis on the matter pointed to the possibility of it beginning when wood was used as fuel to heat or provide warmth and was noticed to release a fragrance that was unlike the regular smoke that came from other timbers. This led to the use of sandalwood in spiritual settings and since Hinduism was the religion that sprouted from the Indus Valley and Buddhism as well, the use of sandalwood incense migrated worldwide as the religion spread and the people migrated.
The migration of the sandalwood also shaped the landscape of southern India, when the recent spike in demand has eroded the trees off the forests and jungles, to a point that has caused concern among environmentalists who predict the extinction of the tree. It is not a bad thing to fell a tree, it is however unwise to not replant it.
As the years pass it is a well known fact that the demand for the peaceful scent of the sandalwood incense sticks are ever increasing. The benefits from a holistic and spiritual perspective are well documented and well received and this has been a good thing as the tree has found its purpose among man. We hope that man soon returns the favor and finds his place on earth as the protector of nature and rescue this species from the brink of extinction.