What is Nag Champa?
Nag Champa incense has an earthy, floral scent and a staple of Indian spirituality and culture. This enticing incense is renowned for its unique fragrance and is comprised of three key ingredients; sandalwood, halmaddi and the champaca flower.
Nag Champa is a traditional type of incense that gained immense popularity when it was introduced to the West from India and Nepal in the 1960’s. Nag Champa is considered to be one of the most popular incense scents and many Indian incense brands use Nag Champa as a base for their sticks. A typical Nag Champa features a sandalwood base with Nag Champa flower and halmaddi. Variations on this base blend include other aromatics such as resins, gums, florals and essential oils.
The History of Nag Champa
In India, Nag Champa was originally used as a perfume and fragrant oil. Champaca flowers were used as natural perfume for skin and hair. The champaca flower (Magnolia champaca) is a member of the magnolia family and is native to India. Originally nag champ was created by Indian monks in several distinct recipes and today there are many different types of Nag Champa incense from a range of manufacturers. Some Nag Champas are sweeter, spicer or woodier depending on the blend and unique aromatic composition. Nag Champa is also used as a fragrance oil but today is most famous in incense stick form.
In terms of the spiritual aspect of Nag Champa, the incense is often associated with Buddhism and Hinduism as its scent creates a mood conducive to meditation and other spiritual practices. As with many incenses, Nag Champa is also used to cleanse out negative energies and traditionally Nag Champa flowers were used as offerings for Indian deities.
What is Nag Champa Incense Made Of?
Nag Champa is traditionally made of sandalwood, Nag Champa flower, halmaddi and other powders, gums and aromatics. There are a number of flowers in India that are known as champas. Magnolia champaca, plumeria rubra and musua ferrea. All three flowers are used in various incense blends, but the Magnolia champaca is mostly used to produce a classic Nag Champa incense. Evergreen resins such as pine and cedar are also common ingredients as well as vanilla and other spices.
The scent of typical nag champ is sweet, earthy and warm. Halmaddi and sandalwood add a grounding woodiness to the scent that compliments the florals of the champaca flower. The Champaca flower is quite similar to magnlolia with fragrance notes of peach, orange blossom and tea leaves.
The champaca flower is a beautiful golden color, similar to magnolia and comes from the flowering tree of the Magnoliaceae family. These trees can be found across India. Sandalwood is another key ingredient in any nag champa, offering a smooth woody base to carry the delivate florals. Sandalwood works perfectly with other scents and essential oils and its commonly used to blend floral and amber fragrances together.
And lastly, Halmaddi is a tree resin that works to bind all scents together. In essence, it is similar to frankincense and myrrh and works as an excellent binding agent for incense sticks. As the Halmaddi tree reduces in supply, this sacered resin is becoming rarer which make sauthentic Nag Champa incense even more special.
Recommended Nag Champa Incenses
Perhaps the most famous Nag Champa incense is made by Satya. These sticks are loved by many and very affordable, however the world of Indian incense has many more Nag Champas to try in addition to this well-known Satya classic. Unsurprisingly, the quality of ingredients are reflected in the price. Many cheaper nag champa sticks mimic the scent of authentic Nag Champa and are not made with traditional ingredients. We sell a great variety of Nag Champas. For a classic Nag Champa scent, we recommend Nag Champa Gold by Temple of Incense. This is the same formula as the famous Happy Hari stick, a smooth sweet and slightly salty Nag Champa with beautiful sparkling gold decoration. Other recommendations are The Mother’s India range which are all based on a traditional Nag Champa blend.