Finding the best incense to burn depends on your purpose for burning incense. Here’s why people like certain flavors: frankincense, sandalwood, sage, and more.
Burning different types of incense can lift moods, ease tension, cleanse negative energy, and even shoo insects away.
Experts reveal how specific flavors and types of incense affect moods and spaces.
“My favorite incense flavors are the more traditional scents: Frankincense, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Amber, Cedar, and Sage,” says Daniel Wyker, President of Between Heaven & Earth Mfg, Makers of Ascent and Ganesha’s Garden Incense. “I also love the many temple masala blends from India, especially some of the durbars and champas. In fact my most favorite incense of all time is a champa incense that my sister bought for me at a small temple in India 12 years ago. I have been searching for it ever since, and it has inspired my quest to produce scents that move people.”
Here, Dan and other “incense experts” reveal their favorite flavors of incense to burn, plus the specific effects of different types of incense. Pictured is a set of six different types of incense, some of which are discussed here: Nag Champa, Sunrise, Sandalwood, Midnight, Patchouli, and Celestial by Satya.
What Are the Best Types of Incense to Burn? Scents and Effects
“Incense sticks are a traditional part of our religious rituals,” says freelance writer Vidya Sury, creator of Going A-Musing. “In my home, we burn incense sticks (or joss sticks) of different fragrances. Our favorite flavors of incense are frankincense, sandalwood, roses, lavender, Michelia Champaka and jasmine. In fact, we make pot pourri from champaka petals.”
Frankincense for centering and purifying
“We use pieces of frankincense on hot coals,” says Vidya. “We cover the burning frankincense with a large bamboo basket and spread babies’ clothes on the basket to dry, so the smoke permeates the clothes. After a bath, there’s frankincense in the room to soothe the baby with its gentle wisps of smoke. We dry our long freshly washed hair, holding it over the smoke of frankincense.”
“Sometimes, if the atmosphere of the house feels ‘heavy,’” says deTraci Regula, author of The Mysteries of Isis: Her Worship & Magick. “I will use a purifying incense – usually Frankincense and/or Myrrh, both of which have ancient origins and are believed to purify and sanctify a space. The Fred Soll company has a pure resin stick incense which combines them both, and that’s my preference.”
Dan adds: “Frankincense is the original incense; in fact that’s where the word incense comes from. The effects of burning Frankincense are uplifting, centering and purifying with a warm sweet aroma. It’s one of the best scents for creating a meditative space.”
Both Frankincense and Myrrh are flavors of incense that have been burned throughout the ages.
Sandalwood for grounding and relaxing
“Sandalwood has been used in incense for at least 4000 years for good reason,” says Dan. “Its effects are both grounding and euphoric promoting a sense of well being and relaxation with a woody, sweet and exotic scent that wraps you in peace and harmony.”
Many people use incense to relieve stress and tension. The scent of burning incense doesn’t just affect moods and spaces, it changes them.
Patchouli for balancing emotions
“Supposedly the only substance whose scent arouses most males is that of cinnamon, which is often a component in mixed incenses,” says deTraci. “For women, jasmines and roses scents are supposed to enhance the romantic mood. And 60s hippie favorite patchouli is said to work on both!”
“Patchouli has a satisfying earthy quality that is great to balance the emotions and help you relax,” says Dan. “At the same time it energizes and uplifts the sprits. As well as contributing to peace of mind, it is a great aphrodisiac. That must be why I like it so much!”
If you’d like to use incense to spice up your love life, you may like Nippon Kodo – Morning Star – Patchouli incense sticks.
Amber for elevation and letting go
“Amber is a sweet layered scent, with spicy, earthy rich undertones,” says Dan. “Known as the “King of Scents” it will help you let go of daily concerns and enter the world of sensual arousal or spiritual elevation, depending on the intention.”
Cedar and sage for positive energy
“Cedar and Sage drive out negative energies, spirits and influences,” says Dan. “They have been traditionally used as a smudge to purify people and places before any sacred ceremony. They both help with creating a meditative and relaxing space.”
If you’re thinking about using incense, heed Vidya’s advice:
“The smoke can aggravate or irritate those with respiratory problems and COPD,” she says. “So it is better to avoid lighting an incense stick/cone near someone like that. Some people develop a headache from prolonged exposure to smoke.”
What do you think the best type of incense to burn is? Comments welcome below…