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The Aromahead Blog - Aromatherapy Education and Resources

Make Opopanax and Copal Resin Incense

by Andrea Butje on January 23, 2017

I love using materials from the natural world to scent my home.

There are so many fun ways to do this! You can diffuse essential oils and make room sprays. You can burn incense sticks or cones.

You can also make resin incense blends to sprinkle over charcoal.

Chunky aromatic resins, like Frankincense and Copal, make gorgeous loose incense that fills a room with rich aroma.

Have you ever made resin incense? It’s easy, fun, and there is something a little exotic about it, too!

I’d like to share a blend I made with Copal and Opopanax, which I like to burn on bamboo charcoal. Bamboo charcoal isn’t made with lighter fluid (sometimes called saltpeter), so it doesn’t spark when you touch a flame to it and it takes a bit longer to light. It’s worth it because it’s not made with toxic ingredients! So when you smell your incense, you’re only smelling natural plant materials.

Here’s the incense blend—it’s so simple and the aroma is beautiful:

Opopanax Copal Resin Incense

  • 1 oz (28 gm) Copal resin
  • 1 oz (28 gm) Opopanax resin

You can make resin incense in any container you’d like to keep it in. I like to use a beautiful bowl, so I can display it next to my incense burner. Just measure your resins with a kitchen scale and combine them in your bowl. You can stir them up gently with a spoon . . . or with your fingers! With loose incense, there’s no worries about touching the ingredients with your hands.

You can find the ingredients at these links:

Copal Resin

Opopanax Resin

Bamboo Charcoal

To burn your loose resin incense:

  • Hold a piece of bamboo charcoal with a pair of tweezers and use a lighter to touch a flame to it. I suggest using a lighter instead of a match, because the bamboo charcoal can take a little time to ignite. You’ll know it’s lit when you can blow gently on the charcoal and see the edges where your flame touched glow red.
  • Set your charcoal in your incense burner. (This should be made of something that can handle high heat. Mine is ceramic.)
  • Sprinkle some of your Opopanax Copal Resin Incense over the charcoal. It doesn’t have to be perfectly centered. Any piece of resin touching the charcoal will burn.

Enjoy your incense . . . and impress your guests when they learn you blended it!


Why does incense play such a key role in so many medicinal and spiritual traditions around the world?

How does incense work to help us access deeper levels of wisdom and healing?

Can you tap into these properties of incense and enhance your essential oil practice?

I can answer the last question for you . . . YES! When you understand how to use incense and how to “listen” to it, you can bring new dimensions to your Aromatherapy practice. My friend Eric, owner of the Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine, can answer the first 2 questions and so much more!

The “Listening to Incense” Home Study Course is offered by the Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine. It can teach you how to use incense in traditional and modern ways, so you can bring nuance and wisdom to your Aromatherapy practice. You’ll have the opportunity to experience for yourself why so many people love incense, and how it can put us in touch with your own roots, your own wisdom, and your ability to connect with the world in meaningful ways. Learn more about the course!

Andrea Butje is an internationally-recognized Aromatherapist who has changed the educational paradigm through her inspired approach to teaching essential oils and Aromatherapy Certification. Check out her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy, at Aromatics International!

Topics: handmade incense, Recipes and Blends, how to make incense, natural incense

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