Ancient Chinese Incense Recipes: Lychee Incense Powder

Ancient Chinese often dried the peels of their eaten fruits, put them in a censer, and burned them as incense to release the fragrance from the scent glands in the peels.

Lychee Incense Powder is made by drying the peels of lychees and grinding them into a powder.

This article will provide a detailed introduction to making and using lychee Incense powder.


What is Lychee?

Lychee, also known as litchi, is a small tropical fruit that is native to Southeast Asia and has been a favorite fruit of the Cantonese since ancient times.

The fruit is usually eaten fresh, but can also be canned or dried. Lychee is an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants, and may also have anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective qualities.

The fruit is typically eaten by peeling off the rough exterior and biting into the juicy flesh.

Lychee is a popular ingredient in many Asian desserts and drinks and is often used to flavor ice cream, sorbet, and tea.

Overall, lychee is a delicious and nutritious fruit that is enjoyed around the world for its unique flavor and health benefits.

Lychee Incense in Chinese History

 In ancient Chinese literature, there are records of lychee Incense. The famous Chinese poet Bai Juyi (白居易)once wrote the poem, “嚼疑天上味,嗅异世间香”, expressing the complexity of lychee fragrance.

There are also records of lychee Incense recipes in many traditional Chinese Incense Books, such as “Chen’s Fragrance Recipe,” 《陈氏香谱》which uses sandalwood, lychee, spikenard, and orange peel as ingredients.

What Does Lychee Incense Smell Like?

The smell of lychee incense is hard to describe.

At first smell, it has a rose fragrance, with a hint of plum fragrance, and a sweet fruity fragrance.

Lychee incense powder is not suitable for direct burning but is suitable for use as an ingredient combination with another fragrant plant. If directly ignited, it has a charcoal-like smell.

How to make Lychee Incense Powder

  1. Wash the peeled lychee shells with clean water, remove any remaining fruit flesh and juice, and dry them as much as possible. The fresher the lychee shells, the better
  2. Soak the lychee shells in Chinese yellow rice wine or Chinese spirit (no more than 15% alcohol), otherwise, it will destroy the original aroma of lychee.
  3. Soak it for two days.
  4. After soaking for two days, put the lychee shells in a pan and cook on low heat until the liquor evaporates completely.
  5. When there is still some moisture on the lychee shells, remove them and place them on a tray to dry.
  6. Grind the dried lychee shells into powder using a blender.
  7. Store the powder in a container.

How to Use Lychee Incense Powder

Lychee incense powder can’t not burn directly, your should burn it with an electric incense heater.

For incense make from fresh flowers and fruits, it is recommended to use low-temperature burning, as high temperature may result in a burnt taste.

The temperature control for lychee incense powder can be adjusted to 90-130 degrees. For the first batch, it is recommended to set at 90 degrees, using only 0.5g at a time.

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