The Benefits of Burning Incense

incense sticks in traditional metal incense burners

Burning incense has been a part of human culture for thousands of years, with its practice spanning across many different religions, cultures, and traditions.

The word ‘incense’ is actually derived from the Latin word “incendere”, which means ‘to burn’.

This article will discuss some of the reasons why people burn incense, as well as some of its inherent benefits.

Religious Offerings

Across diverse regions of the world, including India, often referred to as the incense capital, incense is predominantly used as a religious offering or ‘puja’.

It is a common sight to observe numerous incense sticks burning in the vicinity of Hindu or Buddhist temples. In such large social gatherings, incense also serves the practical purpose of purifying the air of any undesirable odors.


Meditation requires a calm and peaceful mind. Many practitioners feel that the smell of incense helps them maintain focus during their meditation sessions.

Fragrances I would recommend for meditation would include sandalwood, lotus, and nag champa.

woman in half lotus pose with incense

Yoga Practice

Yoga is somewhat similar in nature to meditation, but it has a very different physical and mental flow. Burning incense not only helps one relax and get into the groove during yoga practice, but it can also help remove the negative scents often produced in a sweaty yoga studio.

Incense also makes a great gift for your yoga teacher!

women doing yoga while burning incense sticks


Many people find incense to be quite relaxing. A calming scent combined with a good book and a soothing cup of tea can do wonders for the soul. A hot bath also pairs quite nicely with a stick of incense. A feeling of tranquility is just one of the many benefits of burning incense.

Fragrances I would recommend for relaxation would include lavender, sandalwood, and frankincense.

Appreciation of Other Cultures

Many people incorporate incense into their homes or spiritual practices as a way to honor and respect the customs and beliefs of various civilizations throughout history.

Incense has remained a cultural phenomena since the times of ancient Egypt and nearly all of Asia has contributed to its lore at some point in history. The art of burning incense has taken many forms through the years and by burning it you can experience some of the same traditions practiced by these ancient cultures.

Some examples are kodo (The Way of Incense), using incense as a time-telling device, and the Ten Virtues of Koh, which as a document written in the 15th century by Zen Buddhist monks, which described the inherent qualities of incense from a historical Japanese perspective.

Kill Odors

Incense easily destroys and eliminates surround odors. Some scents are more pungent than others but it shouldn’t be hard to find a scent that matches your needs or preferences.

Resin incense, such as frankincense or myrrh are perfect for eliminating orders, but so are classic scents like nag champa, or heavy floral scents like lavender.

Sensual Desire

For those seeking a more sensual atmosphere, exotic floral scents are thought to stimulate desire and passion.

Floral and aromatic wood scents, such as jasmine, rose, sandalwood, or agarwood are perfect to enhance an evening with your significant other.

Enhance Your Focus

The entrancing scents of incense are thought by many to enhance their focus.

The smell creates a central focus point upon which one can direct their thoughts and is another one of the many benefits of burning incense.

Banish Negative Energies

Similar to white sage or palo santo, the distinct fragrance of incense can be used to purge negative energies in your space or altar, leaving behind a purified, balanced environment conducive to peace and introspection.

5 thoughts on “The Benefits of Burning Incense

  1. Avatar
    Crystal Shop says:

    To add more to the content, burning incense also generate the effect of good aromas which has shown to raise serotonin in the brain. The method of burning incense in order to raise the brain serotonin levels may not only improve mood but does so without side-effects or dangers of addiction!

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    Ross Fletcher says:

    I totally agree incense has a sedative property which makes it a great natural treatment to aid insomnia. Burning healthy incense sticks helps to focus the mind and ready the body by creating the right aromatic atmosphere when practicing yoga. Doing such a natural and healthy activity you’ll want to avoid anything artificial, toxic or distracting.

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    Lori Rodriguez says:

    Thank you for the information about incense. I have been in since I was in my teens. I have experienced the benefits of different types of incense.

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    Clarence Evans says:

    I always enjoy reading Reed’s Handmade Incense. Incense is thought to be helpful in reducing anxiety and tension due to its calming effects. It is known to normalize the heart rate and relieve stress and is a muscle relaxer.

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    Alberto Perez says:

    This is some great reading cause I have been burning incense since about 1970 and I have used all kinds of incense and like them all but haven’t tried these

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