I usually start feeling sick if someone is burning cloying bitter incense in an unventilated room. I presume it is mostly due to high wood content in the incense sticks. Traditional frankincense has a nice odour in moderation but it holds too overpowering religious connotation to me.
I do like pleasant earthy scents reminding me in wintertime that there is life somewhere and it is going to be summer again filled with odours of blossoms, trees and dirt. I really need some familiar smells around me during those cold and dim months.
I decided to make a burner without using charcoal and I don´t have a proper candle incense burner. I love burning incense while I do meditation or rituals like like cleansing the rooms from stagnant energies.
I´m not going to use traditional resin from olibanum tree(Boswellia) or myrrh(Commiphora), which both grow in USDA Zones 10 upwards. I live in temperate climate, so instead I picked some resin from local conifers, Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). Basically any resin can be used if you know for sure it is not poisonous.
Resin from conifers has been an important medicine in Estonian healing tradition.It was used to treat wounds, fever and respiratory diseases. Antibacterial pitch was also used by ancient people as original chewing gum keeping their teeth in good condition.