Incense has long been used as a traditional home fragrance method, but it’s more than that. Fragrant and aromatic, incense sticks have a distinctly unique scent and atmosphere that they bring into a home or room. They’re comforting, soothing, even spiritual or therapeutic.
There are also tons of options out there if you’re looking to bring a bit of incense ‘zen’ into your life. Here are some of the absolute best ones out there.
1) HEM Sandalwood Incense Sticks
Sandalwood is one of the most popular fragrances for incense sticks, reminiscent of more earthy, woodsy odors, with a kick of subdued spices. They can even promote focus and concentration.
HEM Sandalwood sticks come in packs of twenty, so you can spread them throughout the home and keep the flow of fragrance from room to room. Hand-rolled in India, these sticks smell as authentic as they look.
2) Japanese Rose Incense Sticks
The raajsee Japanese Rose Incense Sticks have a more sensual and romantic note, because of the infusion of rose matched with other warming spices. This makes a great gift for a partner or significant other.
Pure and organic, these can also be used for meditation or yoga, healing or reiki practices. They burn around 45 minutes and come with around 75 sticks in a package, so they’ll be around a while.
3) HEM Lavender Incense Sticks
Lavender is a widely popular fragrance, known for its relaxing qualities that promote sleep, relaxation, and wellness. It is even known for its natural anti-depressant qualities, currently one of the leading health issues.
Although lavender can often be a difficult fragrance to catch, because of it’s subtle, floral notes, these sticks are deliciously pungent, and vibrantly distribute the aroma throughout a room.
4) Patchouli Incense Sticks
Patchouli is a very particular scent and one that most seem to either love or hate, because of its unique blend of flavors. Strong and slightly sweet, it can help promote balance and grounding.
These sticks are perfect for when you’re feeling a need to recenter your space and reconnect to yourself. With dark and musky undertones, patchouli is wonderful for those looking for something more strong and powerful.
5) JBJ Sac White Sage Incense Sticks
Exceptionally rated but equally inexpensive and wonderfully effective, these JBJ Sac White Sage Incense Sticks are sold in packs of 120 for under $7. It’s not too overpowering but distinct enough with earthy notes (sage plant scent).
Light a few of these and watch how quickly your nerves and negativity float away with the positivity-influencing smoke permeating throughout the home. These sticks are great for any location, from the home to church, apartments, or even ceremonies.
6) Lemongrass Incense Sticks
Lemongrass is a fresh, clean, light plant with an earthy fragrance. It is known for promoting mental clarity and focus, in an effort to promote intelligence and productivity, and burning it can help create the right atmosphere to get stuff done!
Lemongrass also has a similar effect to citronella, so it’s a good choice for areas you’re hoping to work and be productive in, without being disrupted by any pesky bugs or insects. Its citrusy odor inspires feelings of cleanliness.
7) Woods Natural Incense
Forget the chemical, processed odor that some of the more unnatural brands exhibit because the Woods Natural Incense is one of the most subtle, soft, and natural woodsy fragrances on the market.
Noted as having one of the most natural burns, this is one of the best incense sticks on the market. It burns long and clean, lasting nearly an hour. Earthy notes that don’t overpower or overwhelm mean you can have that traditionally loved scent without the harshness of some stronger scents.
8) Shoyeido’s Tranquility Incense Sticks
The holidays can be stressful enough as it is, so whether you’re looking for a gift for someone else, or for a little bit of self-care and relief from your own stressors, these are going to do the job just fine.
These tranquility sticks are a soothing and calming blend of sandalwood and cedar, homey and earthy, subdued and relaxing. These will help make your space feel just a bit more comfortable and zen.
9) Plum Blossoms Incense
These come in the traditional sandalwood fragrance, but with delightful and subtle notes of cinnamon, saussurea, and other spices to make the fragrance more multi-dimensional. Other reviewers even note that it “evokes the scent of a spring forest”.
The Japanese inspired incense makes a great gift not only because of the scent but because of the decorated box it arrives in, with traditional stylings. The incense burns a bit less, only around thirty minutes, but comes with 150 sticks, so they’ll last for some time.
10) Karma Scents Premium Incense Sticks
This is an excellent gift set for any incense sticks aficionado or novice. Uniquely packaged, this set is on the pricier end because it comes with an array of fragrances: lavender, sandalwood, jasmine, patchouli, rose, and vanilla.
Reviewers rave about the fragrances, burn time, and packaging of the set. Plus, included in the original price, is an incense stick holder, so if they’re new to incense, you don’t have to worry about that.
11) Chakra Incense Sticks
Know someone who likes to keep their chakras aligned and in check? This set of Chakra incense sticks makes a great gift and shows you’re willing to recognizing the importance of their sense of spiritual self!
This particular set is made from bamboo, meaning it burns clean and natural, and comes in a handful of scents that promote balance and feeling centered. These are also great for yoga and meditation.
12) Sai Flora Flux Incense Sticks
This imported brand of incense sticks is very traditional and authentic and evoke mystical feelings of faraway places. Burning it can transport you to a different space, leaving you feeling relaxed and calmed.
With purifying qualities, some reviewers note it evokes a ‘hidden Hindu temple’, and promotes well-being in a positive and pure space. The sticks are wider, meaning they burn slowly and evenly.
13) Bless Frankincense and Myrrh Incense Sticks
These hand-dipped sticks decorate the home with fragrance for hours even after the stick has finished burning out. Strong and divine scents emanate from the 8-inch sticks, and though they may burn a bit quicker, they’re long-lasting.
Frankincense and myrrh have biblical references to the Three Wise Men and denote purity and cleansing in many places of worship. However, it can cleanse and purify any space you’re looking to spend time in.
14) Natural Vetiver Incense Sticks
Made with vetiver, a naturally found oil derived from a green type of grass, these produce a low-smoke release. This means while the odor is emanating, there’s no overbearing smoke that some might find off-putting.
With the oils, vetiver can help ease tension and stress, promote calming and relaxing emotions, and allow one to collect and organize their thoughts and emotions. It can help promote a healthier state.
15) Raajsee White Sage Incense Sticks
These sticks also follow the traditional Indian rolling method, and their production process also follows the traditional methods, ensuring an authentic product. The sticks burn for almost an hour, and the package comes with plenty of sticks so that you get a solid bang for your buck!
The White Sage is a plant that’s often known for being cleansing and purifying, as the burning of it helps to eliminate negativity and bad spirits.
16) Peruvian Palo Santo Incense Sticks
Palo Santo incense sticks are a slightly different variation of incense, which has the appearance of carved chunks of wood. They’re carefully lit, as they can burn more intensely than incense, so be sure to follow directions before lighting them.
They’re often used for smudging and can help to purify a new home or apartment space. This would make an excellent gift for someone who has recently moved or plans to move or is looking to get a fresh start in the new year.
17) ShanBenTang Classical Chinese Incense Sticks
These shorter incense sticks are one of the best brands, burning for almost an hour with only 5 and a half inches of stick. Compiled from natural materials like gardenia flowers and elm bark, they burn clean.
They’re also long-lasting and free from chemicals or perfumes. They’re a lovely fragrance for the home with sweet notes and floral fragrances.
18) Inca Aromas Frankincense Incense Sticks
The Inca Aromas brand is uniquely different in that they’re short, but very wide diameter, giving them a remarkably slow burn time of almost two hours. Their looks and dark black aesthetic also make for an excellent home decor piece.
Sustainably sourced from Brazil, the artisanal brand prides itself on the quality of their work as well as the ethics of their production. Great for meditation and therapeutic purposes, this is a great purchase.
19) Three Wise Men Myrrh Incense Sticks
Myrrh, which is an oil derived from thorny tree resin, specifically the brownish-red sap. Taken right from the source, it produces an earthy, dark, and woodsy fragrance.
The oil can help promote physical and mental/emotional health and wellbeing. So, if you know someone who has had a bit of a rough year, this might be the ideal gift for them.
20) Boho Street Premium Incense Sticks
Not everyone can make up their mind about their favorite fragrances, and sometimes it’s good to change it up from day to day. That’s why this blend of 8 various flavors might be idea, with sandalwood, patchouli, nag champa, jasmine, lemongrass, lavender, meditation, and rose.
They’re great to change from day to day to suit your moods and needs, meditation Monday to date night Friday. These sticks burn for around half an hour but remain fragrant and abundant for hours.
21) Govinda Satya Bangalore Nag Champa Incense Sticks
Nag Champa is a specially curated fragrance, traditionally from India, that is made from magnolia plants and sandalwood. Its scent is warm, spicy, and fragrant, distinct of far off places and serene atmospheres.
This set is non-toxic, hand-rolled, and includes a stand with it. Because of the particular odor, it might not be ideal for someone new to incense but is a great gift to impress those who are familiar with quality incense.
22) 7-Scent Sampler of Wood Incense
An ideal gift option for just those exact people who really don’t know much about incense and what they like! This small sampler kit has some of the more unique flavors from the rest of the ones that appear on this list, including fir balsam, mesquite, hickory, and juniper, along with pinon, cedar, and alder.
The wood-focused kit has small bricks to burn, with a smallholder in which to place them. Outdoorsy individuals who enjoy campfires might find particular delight with this set!
The Benefits of Burning Incense
At its core, incense is a blend of grains and spices, hand-dipped on wood and burned at a slow pace. Traditionally, it was used for religious or spiritual ceremonies and events, whether in temples or churches to promote clarity, purity, and cleanliness.
This practice isn’t even traced back to a single religion, but many cultures and environments, from Hinduism and Buddhism, to ancient Babylonia, China and Japan, Shintu rituals, to the Greeks, the Romans, and the Church of England in the 4th century.
As the centuries have passed, the use of incense sticks has remained relevant, shifting from the church or temple environment, into other areas, like therapy, yoga, meditation, and within the home. They’re widely recognized for the variety with which the blend of essential oils they contain can promote various healing or betterment properties.
The Power of Essential Oils in Incense Sticks
The root of incense sticks remain the same, but they have branched out to include other substances that can be used for an even wider variety of purposes. Specifically, the wood, resin, and the essential oils used to make incense can impact what and how it is used, and what benefits can be expected from it.
The blends of essential oils, in particular, are where the incense sticks typically find their power and potency. Essential oils have had a particular reemergence in popular culture in the last few years. This began as more people have turned to alternative healing methods and away from prescription medications and Western medicine approaches.
Although the two medical approaches do not have the same effectiveness, many attest to how some oils help manage certain conditions, like peppermint being a relief for headaches or migraines.
Frankincense, one of the older and more traditional components of incense, was actually used in ancient times to help eliminate bacteria in healing spaces or purify churches prior to ceremonies. It’s still noted as being something that promotes and cleanses environments, which help with providing purity for a mental space as well.
Sandalwood, extracted from a wood variety, is another common incense material. Aromatic, warm, and woodsy, this fragrance is also known to promote health and wellness, and mental wellbeing. Another common one, myrrh is a compound derived from tree sap, and although bitter, can be used to rejuvenate and heal the body.
Burning incense releases these types of aromatics into the environment and allows the body to inhale certain compounds on a very low dosage level.
Enhancing Your Environment With Incense Sticks
As one of the five senses with the human body, the odor is an important component of our own health. Unpleasant odors more than just annoy us. The practice of aromatherapy utilizes the sense of smell to promote healing and wellbeing from an environmental level.
Incense can be used to help center and focus individuals, promoting serenity and calmness. For this reason, it can be used in meditation practices or yoga centers, to help align people spiritually and mentally. They can be used in office spaces for keeping environments stress-free and productive. They can also be used in the home simply for the efforts of home fragrance.
Incense Sticks Are Natural, Safe, and Effective
Incense sticks are often appreciated within specific areas because they’re natural, non-toxic, aromatic & authentic, and are less processed than chemical compounds like diffusers. They also don’t require electricity like plug-ins or need to be blown out like candles.
The slow burn means there’s no open flame that might catch alight or cause a fire hazard, as people might experience with candles. Since incense sticks have a limited life, generally under one hour, they have a realistic burn time for many users.
Many incense sticks are often hand-made, unlike many diffusers, candles, or burners. Without an open flame or source of electricity required, they’re preferred by those who promote more natural and organic environments and types of living.
The natural approach to creating incense sticks is also appealing to many people. Created from woods, resins, and oils, most quality incense sticks are 100% natural, as they don’t contain synthetic or artificial elements. Those who enjoy healthier lifestyles often prefer to use incense for this reason. It coincides with healthy, natural living.
Incense Sticks Help With Stress and Anxiety Relief
The combination of delivery, oils, and smoke are all elements that factor into eliminating or reducing stress and anxiety. Most incense sticks users report a decrease in tension, whether because of the scent itself or the soothing presence of the light waves of smoke from the incense.
Most of the combinations within the incense sticks contain compounds or variations of compounds that have been used for centuries for promoting calmness and serenity. This includes sandalwood, lavender, rose, patchouli, and lemongrass.
Stress and anxiety are fast becoming some of the biggest health concerns in the 21st century. People are working more, sleeping less, and trying to find balance in what are intensely chaotic and busy lives. Work expectations for many have increased exponentially, which has led to an increase in techniques to decrease those levels.
Incense Sticks Promote Creativity and Focus
While some blends of incense are more geared towards reducing tension and stress levels, others work to promote creativity, enhance energy levels, bring about focus and concentration, and allow a more productive environment for individuals.
Citrus and spice blends can help bring about awareness and alertness, while their earthy notes are still able to keep the energy levels reasonable.
With the constant barrage of stimuli coming from social media, the news, and technology in general, more and more people report difficulties with finding focus and keeping their attention on tasks.
By the same token, many are looking for alternative methods of treatment than prescription medications, and turn to more natural approaches, including incense burning.