Quick status update: I’m currently up and about yay! I’m no more looking or moving about like Quasimodo/the elephant man, there is still swelling but not excruciating. On day 21 of liquid fasting and still not hungry, I thought about sweet/high oil foods a couple of times but that was when I was feeling irritable. I had had a nagging cough too but from this review you’ll see why its gone and as this is now the morning after I can confirm it’s still gone. 🙂
Mum accidentally saw these in the 99p Stores today (similar to Pound Shop and Poundland but better seasonal items in my opinion). Poignantly I started this review coughing non-stop and now I’m not plus I feel a bit better in general… Plus having done a little research I’ve found that the functional properties of burning frankincense are indeed to create peace and calm.
These come with what look like a cutsie/pretty handmade incense holders with ready made holes. This one has 7 holes in a little octagon shape and though small it’s sturdy enough and made of wood. If you ever bought/saw anything from the former sister company to Lush – a cosmetics brand B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful (B Never for short) I’d day that the decoration style for the burner is similar to how their packaging used to look i.e. beading, glitter, little mirrors etc very bohemian/gypsy or the one word fits all ‘ethnic’. My holder is decorated in Red beads and glitter, little diagonal mirrors and Gold beading around the holder spaces (see photos for details).
The sticks themselves are Purple, even the bases that you hold have been painted purple to match which is an interesting touch that I haven’t noticed anywhere else. The sticks come in various widths so whilst some fit perfectly others are spiky thin whilst some are quite thick and either need to pushed in to the holes with a bit of force or placed in between thick ones so as not to fall. If worried about the thin ones you can easily stick a tiny piece of modeling clay, blu tack or something similar just to bolster it. I always place incense on a plate anyway just in case.
===Abit about frankincense===
Frankincense is a resin that comes from various trees and shrubs mostly native to Africa and Arabia. It’s an ancient plant source material dating back at least 3000-4000 years, it is known for it’s ritual and mystical purposes typically or famously in religious ceremonies and protect against the evil eye. More commonly it has a wide variety of uses including cosmetics e.g. tooth cleansers, body scents, kohl eyeliner and nowadays notably in face creams. It’s also a mosquito and sand fly repellent and has been used for mecidinal purposes. Many use it of course or yoga, meditation and prayer. Primarily it comes as an essential oil and in resin form.
It’s properties are:
Anti-septic, disinfectant, astringent, carminative, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, vulnerary.
I generally know it to be toning, firming, cleansing/clearing and regenerating (funny fact – it was a ingredient in ancient Egyptian embalming) but having done some reading there are a long list of features summarized above but to expound a bit includes helping with coughing, phlegm and congestion, being a sedative, general pain relief, digestive/urination aid, menstrual pain aid and apparently increases one’s ability to absorb nutrients. Wow, though I’m not surprised.
Typically of incense as the powder burns away it turns ashen both in colour and texture – what it does next varies from brand to brand. I found with these ones the ash neatly dries and falls off the stick revealing the wood underneath. I quite like that because it has a ‘charming’ look but I have found other brands where the ash holds on and slows the burning which can be helpful though can also make the smell uneven and can stop the burning. Whether you decide to use a plate, larger holder, salver or something to catch the ashes is upto you but if decide not to and to clean up later make sure you place them on a surface that is not likely to burn or stain like a kitchen countertop.
They are approx 10in/25.5cm in length.
As per the first photo I put a ‘fat’ one and a ‘skinny’ one in the holder and started them at the same time and they both burned down together:
18.28pm – 19.20pm = 52minutes.
I put the rest in at different times but they took roughly 45min-1hour.
Is that a good thing? In comparison to many cheap brands that’s pretty long, there are some which go on and on but it can also be a few minutes so these are decent length and of course the smell lingers for quite some time unless you open any windows/ventilation.
I’d say two are enough to fill a medium-large size room and more if you want the smell to waft into other rooms by leaving the doors open.
===The smell and effects===
There are so very many varieties of incense though some people always think of it as one smell but if the quality is right and if only a few ingredients or a few key ingredients are used the scents are distinctive.
The smell on this is actually quite subtle, not the Frankincense I’m used to which is quite heady and sweet and I have to breathe in deeply to recognize the scent (though mum is finding it sweet and fresh) but that is actually quite clever… The whole point of this particular variety I now believe is to calm and soothe and to begin with I was breathing shallow and had my shoulders hunched and could just smell ‘smoke’ but then I purposely took a long, deep breath, relaxed my shoulders and then I smelled it – a hint of Frankincense. It is quite an exotic yet woody/burning smell which may be why it smelled of smoke to begin with but as I kept breathing deeply and slowly I did appreciate it more and calmed. I hadn’t even felt stressed, anxious, nervous etc beforehand but obviously my breathing and posture said otherwise and that is typical of copious amounts of people nowadays who don’t breathe properly anymore by default of their living/working conditions. That said I’d say it is an acquired smell, perhaps one for people who like campfires but not a floral, charming or sensually exotic smell. It also has a bit of an edge, akin to a campfire but not as strong so it does make the eyes water a bit. Ok it doesn’t help that I’m standing right next to them but as I’ve walked into the other rooms that campfire smell and effect/touch is still there – so not one for those who are sensitive or whose eyes/noses will simply run – or if you’re not wearing waterproof makeup!
Interestingly enough I have a cough and was coughing alot, it’s a dry involuntary cough so it’s basically like coughing for the sake of it as a reflex with little choice and I couldn’t talk much because of that. Hence I put these on to clear out the place of old smells and such and so far I’ve ‘mini-coughed’ a couple of times and that’s it; basically once I started breathing deeply and inhaling I stopped and I’m able to speak fluently.
Instructions on the packet
Insert incense stick into the holder attached.
Ignite the tip of the incense stick.
When glowing, gently blow it out.
Always place incense stick in the holder provided.
Keep out of reach of children and pets and flammable material.
Do not leave the incense stick unattended and make sure it is places on a fire proof surface. Do not ingest (don’t eat it, you are technically consuming it though by breathing and it going through the hair/skin/eyes etc). Non toxic (I hope).
These are cheap sticks and so I’m not at all confident as to what went into the fragrance (and so what I was breathing in), the paint or if the wood is sustainable or what type or wood the sticks are and I don’t know if they are fairtrade. But I was in an area which does not have much of a Black/Asian community (in which I usually buy spices and oils in native quality and much cheaper in larger sizes than supermarket prices with their tiny bottles and packets) and I couldn’t see any in the artisan shops so this was an impulse buy and turned out to be just what I needed, I was lucky to find them without expecting to.
The vanilla version would probably have more wide appeal but I am grateful these came my way and moreover to those who helped cultivate and make them and I truly hope they did so kindly to the earth and themselves/were treated properly.