Incense Glossary

Agar - Agarwood, also known as aloeswood or oudh, 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 (also Olibanum or al-Luban) - An aromatic gum resin obtained from African and Asian trees of the genus Boswellia. The English word frankincense is derived from the Old French expression franc encens, meaning "high-quality incense". The word franc in Old French meant "noble" or "pure".

Gugul or Guggul or Gugal (also called Myrrh) - 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.


and, yes, that means that "Frankincense and Myrrh" were probably called "al-luban and gugal" during the time which all folks in the western hemisphere associate with those fragrances... 😉


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.

Myrrh - Gugul.

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, Oodh, or Oudh) - Aloeswood

Patchouli - (Pogostemon cablin) is a species of plant from the family Lamiaceae, commonly called the "mint" or "deadnettle" family. The plant grows as a bushy herb, with erect stems reaching around 75 centimetres (2.5 ft) in height and bearing small, pale pink-white flowers. It is native to tropical regions of Asia.

Petitgrain (also called petit grain, and petitgrain bigarade) is an essential oil that is extracted from the leaves and green twigs of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium ssp. amara), and is used in perfumery and aromatherapy as a fresh-scented essential oil.

Sandalwood - (also Chandan) is a class of woods from trees in the genus Santalum. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and, unlike many other aromatic woods, they retain their fragrance for decades. Sandalwood oil is extracted from the woods for use. Both the wood and the oil produce a distinctive fragrance that has been highly valued for centuries. Consequently, species of these slow-growing trees have suffered overharvesting in past centuries.

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.


© 2018 by Hybrid Elephant - All rights reserved.