If you bought sage for a recipe and don't know what to do with the leftovers, or have a garden overflowing with herbs, herbal incense sticks are a perfect way to preserve them — and they make an aromatic gift for a friend or a way to bring a calming herbal scent indoors.
Dried Herb Incense: Watch the Video
What Is Dried Herb Incense?
Dried herbs have been burned across the ages and many cultures for purposes of scenting, cleansing, and religious practice. Perhaps most visible in current culture as of late is the Native American practice of using dried herbs to "smudge" or ritually cleanse a space.
Here, we offer dried herbs as a practical way to bring in the smells of the outdoors and naturally scent your home. It's a small luxury to have the smell of sage in your kitchen — especially when you have another smell to banish (fried fish, begone!).
How To Make Dried Herb Incense
What You Need
Fresh sage leaves
Other herbs or flowers like lavender, roses, thyme, rosemary, or eucalyptus (optional)
- Make a bouquet of sage: Use about 8 to 10 sage leaves to make a small bouquet, keeping all of the stems together. You can also incorporate any other long-stemmed herbs or flowers you have on hand. Pretty much any flower or herb that dries well, or even small cuttings from pine or cedar trees, will work. If you're using other herbs or flowers, bundle these first, then wrap the sage leaves around the outside of the other stems.
- Cut a piece of cotton twine: Measure and cut a piece of cotton twine about eight times as long as your bundle.
- Tie the bundle: Gather the ends together and tie a knot with the twine about 1/2 inch up from the stem-end of the bundle. Leave the twine long on one side, with a short tail (about 2 inches) on the other side.
- Wrap the twine around the bundle: Start wrapping the long end of the twine around the bundle. Keep the wrapping pretty tight, like you're making a cigar, because the twine will loosen as the herbs dry and shrink up a bit.
- Wind the twine the other way: When you reach the end, wind the twine back the other direction, crisscrossing the twine already on the bundle.
- Tie off the twine at the end of the bundle: Wrap any extra twine around the base and tuck the ends under the wrapping. This creates a nice handle when you're ready to light the incense.
- Air-dry the herb bundle: Find a cool, dry spot to hang the herbs and let the bundle air-dry for 2 to 3 weeks. Make sure the bundle is completely dry before burning.
- How to use: When the herbal incense is ready, hold the handle end and light the other end until you get a flame going. Blow out the fire and let the herbs smolder. Place the dried herbs in a small heat-proof bowl or dish and enjoy bringing the scents of the outdoors inside.
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