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Ingredients of Japanese Incense

A highly skilled artisan makes the most exclusive incense by hand. The density of incense is critical to bring forth the ideal burning temperature for each scent. Nearly 400 sticks are laid down on a flat board and cut with a bamboo knife while they are still soft. The artful blending of carefully selected natural ingredients makes Japanese incense unique and exclusive.

The finest ingredients are purchased by master blenders and then skillfully crafted to perfection in meticulously clean facilities. All of the ingredients are finely ground and carefully mixed with a powdered natural binding material, Tabu-ko. Six to fifty kinds of herbs and spices are precisely blended with pure water, quickly shaped, and dried very slowly.

Important: The information in this site is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for a health care professional's consultation.

Sandalwood
Roots and heartwood of an evergreen tree that's grows in India (Mysore), China, and Indonesia: One of the oldest incense materials, Sandalwood has been in use for at least 4,000 years. It calms the mind, enhances mental clarity, and aids in the opening of the Third Eye.
Aloes Wood
By far the most prized of all incenses. It is highly valued for its refined and aged aroma, and comes in different grades. Only the undisturbed forests of Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and India produce this miracle of nature. Aloes wood is used medicinally for nervous disorders, obsessive behavior, and exhaustion. It is held to be a very powerful aphrodisiac in many cultures.

It is highly psychoactive and is effective in bringing us into a closer communication with our Spiritual side. Many religious groups prize it as an incense for meditation.
Kyara
One of the 6 kinds of Jin-koh (Aloeswood); Kyara is the most prized of all. Currently Kyara is more valuable per ounce than gold! Kyara is described as "A gentle and dignified smell with a touch of bitterness. The fragrance is like an aristocrat in its elegance and gracefulness."
Clove
Flower buds from a small evergreen tree native to the Molluques Islands in E. Indonesia. Clove is one of the primary five ingredients in Buddhist incense and is extremely stimulating.
Spikenard
The heady oil from these dried rhizomes and roots is what Mary Magdalene lavishly poured over the feet of Jesus. Spikenard has been used to treat nervous indigestion, headache, heart palpitations, epilepsy, hysteria and asthma. It has also been used for thousands of years for meditation and to relieve emotional tension and insomnia.
Borneol Camphor
Derived from the camphor tree (Dryobalanops aromatica), it is a crystalline substance with a characteristic scent.   A very important ingredient in Japanese Incense formulas. It appears to clear the nasal pathways and clear the mind. It also said to aid against infections of the digestive tract.

Borneol is one of the primary five ingredients in Buddhist incense and represents one of the five Buddha families.
Star Anise
A small tree native to southwestern China produces a fruit that ripens into the shape of a star. Star Anise may be the least studied of all incense ingredients. Like common anise, it tastes a lot like licorice, which has led them to be used to flavor candies and foods. In Asia, sometimes people eat star anise after meals to freshen their breath and aid digestion.

One of the phytochemicals, 1,8 Cineole is both a stimulant and a sedative. Another, Limonene,is now being considered as possibly anti-Alzheimeran. This suggests an ability to improve awareness and alertness. It is know to enhance relaxation, sleep patterns, emotional balance and even a sense of humor. It relieves stress from overwork and is said to be an aphrodisiac.
Benzoin
The sweet, balsamic resin, called  "almond tears" from a unique  tree found in tropical Thailand and Sumatra. It yields a warm, mild scent. Benzoin was once called "Friar's balsam" because it soothes coughs and relieves lung congestion. It is also used to treat poor circulation and increases skin elasticity. Benzoin has been used for those who feel anxious, emotionally blocked, lonely or exhausted. It is said to create a "safe space" for oneself.
Cinnamon Bark
From Southern China and Indonesia comes one of the oldest spices known to man. The bark of the tree is harvested and pounded and the result is Cinnamon. It has a warm spicy aroma and a sweet flavor. Cinnamon has similar properties to clove though differs in the ability to eliminate melancholy. Cinnamon is said to provoke pleasant memory.
Tabu-no-ki (Makko)
Cultivated mainly in Southeast Asia from Kyushu to China, Taiwan, Thailand the trees grow. The bark of the tree is ground up and added to the incense mixture as a binding agent. It does not affect the pure natural scents of the other ingredients.