What are Incense Cones?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2019
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Incense cones are compositions of aromatic, biotic materials that release fragrance when burned. They burn relatively quickly after being lit, and release more smoke and fragrance as the tip burns down and the ember reaches the base. The possible combinations for incense cones are virtually endless. People today burn incense cones for relaxation and to create a pleasing environment in their home or office. Incense is also frequently used in Hindu and Buddhist religious ceremonies, and elsewhere for its therapeutic properties.

Incense is believed to have been developed centuries ago in Egypt, and eventually spread to Greece, Rome, and India. Indian incense contains a unique blend of scents. It can be divided into two types: masala, which is made from dry ingredients and typically has a much longer burning time; and charcoal, which is an unscented stick that is dipped in perfumed oils, giving it a shorter burning time. Incense cones were developed by the Japanese and made their debut at the World’s Fair in the late 1800s.

Some common incense scents come from essential oils, flowers, leaves, roots, seeds and fruits, gums and resins. Less expensive artificial scents can also be created through chemical processes.

Incense cones are fairly inexpensive and often can be purchased in bulk either online or at a flea market. It is also possible to find incense in stores as it becomes a more popular item.


Many people also enjoy making their own incense and trying new scent combinations. It is possible to create your own incense cones without much difficulty. Incense can come from just one scent, or from a combination of two or more. Once you have chosen your desired ingredients in powdered form, a binding agent is needed to keep them together.

Makko, a type of incense powder derived from the bark of a tree from Southeast Asia, works well as a binding agent because it is water soluble which will allow the material to be shaped into a cone. Makko also works as a burning agent. The amount of makko needed may vary, depending on the combustibility of the other ingredients you have chosen.

Mix your ingredients with makko and warm water, shape the paste into incense cones and allow it to dry for one week to ten days. It will likely take some trial and error before your incense cones achieve the desired scent.

Incense cones are a pleasing addition to any home and often provide a fragrance more distinctive and longer-lasting than a scented candle.



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