Pagan News and Views Since 1998

Combustible Incense RECIPE: Root Beer

Why? Because if I'm burning incense for a ritual that I would not burn for enjoyment, I feel like I did it wrong.

Also, I really like to burn things.


1 tablespoon sassafras, finely powdered

1/4 teaspoon ginger root, finely powdered

2 drops almond oil

2 drops cherry oil

4 drops spearmint oil

Enough water to shape.

Mix everything but the water in a small container. Slowly add water a little at a time and mash with fingertips till it the texture resembles playdough or modeling clay. Hand roll into sticks about the size of commercial incense sticks. Sassafras drys very fast, so continue adding water when ever the dough becomes too stiff.

Or use the type of syringe for getting cough syrup down the throats of small children to extrude.

Or look up making mehndi cones for applying henna paste, and use one like a pastry bag to extrude.

Dry for about 5-6 hours on wood cutting board or mesh screen, then light and enjoy. Leave overnight before storing to ensure sticks are fully dry.

As with all incense, keep unused sticks in a cool, dry place away from direct light.

All the oils used in this mix are Lorann Candy Flavoring oils. They can be found at Walmart. If using different oils there may be potency variations. Not all essential oils are food grade, so mind exposure to children if different oils are used. The dry sticks do smell like candy even before they're lit.

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Comment by Sophia Luna on November 21, 2015 at 6:21pm

I have made loose non-combustible incense but never the combustible kind in cone or stick form. I usually light a small piece of charcoal and place the herbs/resins on top. When making the stick and cone variety of incense, do you need to use something like saltpeter to help it ignite and stay lit?

Comment by nox lumen on January 11, 2016 at 5:41am

NO! Saltpeter has no place in ANY recipe I'm working with. Mind you, not all of my test blends actually work. Some smell great, but won't stay lit. Some don't smell the way I hoped, but burn well enough. None of them contain saltpeter.

However ALL of them need something to keep them lit. In this recipe, that's that's sass. Sassafras comes from a tree, and like many tree parts, even the roots are pretty good for staying lit. Where your coal will keep your mix smoldering in a non-combustible mix, the sassafras acts in much the same way in this recipe.

Now since I'm not even going to ask my pharmacist for saltpeter I can only guess, but I think it's mainly used to keep non-combustible mixes burning without taking the time to experiment with changes to the recipe. Makko powder can be used in the same way, but it's another ingredient I don't have and am not sure I want. If you're dead set on keeping your non-combustible formula without changes, these can be of use to protect the integrity of a long used ritual blend, but I'm only working with non-combustible recipes for fragrance inspiration so I have room to build my blends out of things I have or can find easily.

If I share a recipe, I have already tested it to make sure it smells nice and keeps burning, so it will work fine as is. The only reason to change one is personal preference, not lack of function.


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