Incense Glossary

Agar - Agarwood, also known as aloeswood, is the resinous heartwood from Aquilaria trees, large evergreens native to southeast Asia. The trees occasionally become infected with mold and begin to produce an aromatic resin in response to this attack. As the infection grows, it results in a very rich, dark resin within the heartwood. Aloes was the "original" incense, so frequently the word "agar" is used to mean simply "incense".

Agarbatti (sometimes Agarbathi) - Incense sticks.

Attar - a fragrant essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers.

Batti (sometimes Bathi) - Sticks.

Benzoin (also Loban) - Balsamic resin of the Styrax benzoin, or Benjamin tree.

Champak (also Champaka or Champa) - Balsamic resin of the Michelia champaca tree. It is native to India and has fragrant orange-yellow flowers.

Chandan - Sandalwood.

Dhoop - A special kind of incense, frequently burned in temples. The incense ingredients are made into a paste and formed into rolls, also called "pastels" or "logs" which can sometimes be quite large.

Durbar - A characteristic, traditional incense recipe in which the paste of ingredients, which contains no fragrance-producing ingredients, is rolled around the stick and then dipped in a fragrance-producing oil.

Frankincense - An aromatic gum resin obtained from African and Asian trees of the genus Boswellia.

Gugul or Guggul or Gugal - Balsamic resin of the Commiphora wightii bush, a flowering a shrub or small tree in the family Burseraceae. The guggul plant may be found from northern Africa to central Asia, but is most common in northern India. It is burned to drive away evil spirits as well as remove the evil eye from the home and its family members.

Halmadi - Balsamic resin of the Ailanthus malabarica tree.

Kesar - Saffron.

Kasturi - Musk.

Khus (sometimes Ruh Khus or Khus-khus) - The aromatic root of the Andropogon muricatus grass, also called Vetivert.

Koh - Incense.

Makko - Charred coconut husk, used as a scent-free carrier for many types of incense.

Masala - A characteristic, traditional incense recipe in which the paste of ingredients contains the material that produces the fragrance. There are usually no essential oils used, the fragrance being produced, rather, by herbs, spices, woods and so forth that are incorporated into the paste before being rolled around the stick.

Mattipal - The Sacred Fig (Ficus religiosa), a species of banyan fig native to Sri Lanka, Nepal and India, southwest China and Indochina east to Vietnam. It is known by a wide range of local names, such as Bo or pou (from the Sinhalese bo), Bodhi (in Thai Language), Pipal (peepal, peepul, pippala, pimpal, etc.), arali or Ashvastha tree.

Mogra (also Mugra) - Jasmine.

Nagarmotha - Cyperus Scariosus, also known as Cypriol. It is a plant of the Cyperaceae family that grows wild in the Madhya Pradesh region of India, and is highly-prized for it's roots, which are used in aromatherapy, as a perfume, and for many other purposes.

Neroli - Bitter orange, Citrus aurantium.

Olibanum - Frankincense.

Oud (also Oude or Oudh) - Aloeswood

Simpoi - A characteristic Tibetan-style incense stick, primarily based on Deodar Cedar, which is not rolled around a central bamboo stick, as are most Indian-style incenses.

Sugandha - Incense.

 

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