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How to Burn Frankincense

Updated February 21, 2017

Frankincense is an aromatic resin that comes from various trees and shrubs in Africa and Arabia. There are two different methods you can use to burn frankincense. You can use self-igniting charcoal discs, available at candle shops or craft and hobby stores. Or you can simply burn the frankincense on an aluminium pan. Both of these methods work well, so use the one that's most practical for you.

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  1. Fill a small heatproof container with sand. Special incense holders can be purchased for this purpose, or you can use a seashell, small bowl, or anything that can tolerate heat without breaking.

  2. Place a self-igniting charcoal disc in the centre of the container. Light it with a match or lighter. Simply touch the flame to the disc and it will catch fire. Wait for the flames to burn out and the disc to begin glowing red.

  3. Sprinkle the frankincense on top of the disc and fan it a little with your hands to start it smoking. Don't smother the charcoal, or it will go out. Instead, use only a small amount of frankincense in the centre of the disc. More can be added as this burns away, if necessary.

  4. Heat a small aluminium pan on the stove top over low heat to burn frankincense using the pan method. Wait for about 10 to 15 minutes, to make sure the pan is nice and hot.

  5. Sprinkle the frankincense into the heated pan and it will begin to burn almost instantly. Start with a small amount, and add more as necessary. Do not leave the pan unattended at any time.

  6. Tip

    When lighting a self-igniting charcoal disc, it will spark and sizzle as it begins to burn. Don't be alarmed. This is normal. Simply wait until it is glowing red and no longer sparking to add the frankincense. A thin aluminium pie plate or even a piece of aluminium foil can be used to burn frankincense on the stove, or use any other aluminium pan you have around the house.


    Do not use a coated non-stick pan to burn frankincense on the stove. When heated dry, these pans can release toxic fumes. Use only aluminium, if you prefer this method.

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Things You'll Need

  • Small heatproof container
  • Sand
  • Self-igniting charcoal discs
  • Matches or lighter
  • Powdered frankincense
  • Small aluminium pan

About the Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including

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