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Introduction to Incense 101 for Moms

Dear Mama,

You love lighting incense and letting the aromatic smoke fill your space, don't you?

Incense has been used in cultures all around the world in spiritual ceremonies for millennia.  It has been proven to be able to remove germs from the air, decrease your anxiety, and smell nice without any chemicals.

Have you never used incense or are new to it?  We got you Mama.

Incense Introduction

Incense comes from Latin and roughly translates to "to burn".  It has been used in religious ceremonies across the ancient world including Babylonia, Greece, Asia and Egypt.  Additionally, it has documented uses to also clear a space of negative energies, pathogens, and odors.

The fragrance in incense sticks should be plant based, coming from flowers, seeds, bark, roots, and resins of plants.  You are probably very familiar with many of the common aromatics used in incense:

  • Sandalwood
  • Cinnamon
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Patchouli
  • Cedar
  • Sage
  • Lavender
  • etc.

In addition to the aromatics, incense will have a combustible component to allow it to light and smoke.  The burning element is typically wood powders and charcoal.

Different Types of Incense

You can use incense in many ways and even though you are likely picturing a stick, incense also comes in many different forms you can use.  You can get incense in the form of sticks, cones, powders, or coils.  

4 Forms of Incense: Incense Sticks, Incense Cones, Incense Coils, and Incense Powder

For the powder, you really should use an incense powder urn.  However, for sticks, cones, and coils, our go to is an Abalone Shell Incense Holder.  Abalone shells are beautiful decorative pieces in addition to being wonderful, natural flame resistant trays.  Our Abalone shell comes ready to be an incense holder as well, which is ideal to keep any incense stick from going out.

How you use all the different forms of incense are fairly similar.

How to Use Incense

How you use incense is going to be dependent upon what the purpose of the incense is.  If you just want a nice natural smell in a room, you can certainly skip some of the more intentional steps below.  However, for those of you who are using incense as part of a more spiritual ceremony, we included all the steps.

Step 1: Gather Your Incense Materials & Prepare

The main materials you will need are:

  • Incense (Stick, Cone, Coil, or Powder)
  • Matches or Lighter
  • Fire-proof container, preferably one that can hold the incense stick if using sticks

Find a nice location where you would like to do your ceremony.  Personally, we like having incense going while meditating as the calming fragrances and light smoke help create a mood for introspection.

Step 2: Set You Intentions

Since we tend to use incense during meditation, we like to spend some time setting our intentions before even lighting the incense.  

Abalone Shell makes a perfect Incense Holder

This is a good time to go through your affirmations and the goals you wish to manifest.  Hold the incense in your hand and visualize your intentions.

Similarly, if you are using incense as part of a religious ceremony, you want to prepare for the ritual before lighting the incense.

When you feel ready to begin, you can light your incense.

Step 3: Lighting the Incense 

When you light the incense, you light the tip and make sure it is ignited.  Then you blow the flame out and you should have a smoking and slow burning incense.

Your typical incense stick and cone are made to last 45 to 90 minutes and incense coils tend to last longer. 

If the incense stops smoking before all the aromatics have been burnt, you can't tap the incense to remove any excess ash and then re-light it again. 

Once you are done with our ceremony, you can keep the incense lit and continue to enjoy the fragrance.  However, even if there isn't an open flame, incense is hot enough to start a fire so please do not leave it unattended.  If you really can't monitor it, put it in a glass of water to ensure it is extinguished.

Are There Health Benefits to Incense?


There are numerous health benefits of incense documented (Here is one).  

For example Frankincense, a pine-y & lemon-y smelling fragrance, helps with anxiety and stress. Frankincense can help with anxiety and depression, especially when inhaled (as part of a ceremony, the study did not have people smoking Frankincense so don't think inhaling more of the smoke is better, it isn't).

Studies have shown a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure when exposed to Frankincense incense.

Additionally, it comes from tree that have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties which imbibe it with healing energy. 

Myrrh, a smoky, bitter, sweet aromatic, is another fragrance that has medicinal properties.  Myrrh is a potent stress reliever and used in many massage oils.  Inhaling Myrrh through incense or essential oils has shown to help with bronchial symptoms and additionally it is known to being anti-bacterial & anti-fungal. 

Incense vs. Smudging

There is are some differences and similarities between Incense and Smudging.  

First, Incense use aromatics while smudging uses actual plants and herbs.

Additionally, smudging rituals you move throughout the entire living space letting

Smudge Sticks on Burlap

the smoke cleanse the house of negative energy.  Incense you typically leave in one location and stay near it.

However, both ceremonies introduce cleansing smoke as a way to create a better atmosphere.

You can learn more about smudging with our introductory to smudging article.



Conclusion on Incense

There you have it Mama, out introduction to incense.  You can use these aromatics to help get a better meditative experience, as part of your intention rituals, and to clean the air in your house without chemicals.  Incense smells great and natural.  Incense even has noted anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties to make the air you breath cleaner.

We love incense.

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