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Can you Smoke Incense?

Incense Cone Smoke


While we are crazy about incense and adore the mood and feelings incense brings, we want to make it very clear that trying to smoke incense like a cigarette is a bad idea.


There are plenty of anecdotal stories about teenagers experimenting by attempting to smoke herbs; smoking incense could harm your lungs. 

Why is smoking incense harmful?

Burning incense can increase levels of particulate matter in the air in your home, but when diluted across an ample space, the amount you actually inhale is relatively tiny.


Trying to smoke incense in the form of a cigarette exponentially increases the concentration of particulate matter that can travel deep into your respiratory tract, including your lungs, and even into your bloodstream.

Is incense smoke as harmful as tobacco smoke?

While a 2015 study found that incense and tobacco smoke might be more similar than you think, the study revealed the two smoke types had similar toxicities and produced similar mutagenic reactions in cells exposed to the smoke (Zhou, et. al, 2015).


Before you throw out all your incense, it is essential to remember that burning incense in your home produces significantly less smoke than inhaling it. A tobacco company employed this particular study's lead researcher.


When looking at any scientific research, it's critical to any potential sources of bias. Having said that, keep incense out of your homemade cigarettes.

Why is incense so important?

Incense is a sign of sanctuary in many cultures. Whether in your yoga class, in a Catholic ceremony, or in your home to reduce anxiety, incense is purifying and creates feelings of peace in a room.


However, not all incense is equal. Make sure you buy your incense from reputable retailers.

Why we love Incense

When used correctly, scents can create calmness, provide tranquility, balance vitality, and cleanse negative energy. You can also use smells to energise spaces and increase performance.


There are several ways to introduce scents to an area (candles, essential oils, room sprays), and our absolute favourite method is incense.


Incense stems from the Latin word incendere ('to burn') and refers to an aromatic arrangement of natural fibres (resin, wood, herbs) shaped into sticks, spirals, and cones.


Burning incense is an ancient practice, with many historians tracing it back to classical Egypt and Asia. History suggests there were two main types of incense:


  • Ritual incense: used by priests as offers to the gods
  • Sacred incense: used by worshippers as part of their religion.

Benefits of burning incense

Meditation: many believe burning incense deepens our attention and empowers our spiritual focus. The aroma of incense can:


  • help you tap into your spirituality
  • calm the environment and your mind
  • cleanse the space for meditation.


Aids sleep: research suggests incense can help you fall asleep. Try lighting your favourite incense 15-20 minutes before bed. Let the aroma infuse the room. Be sure you time it, so the incense burns out before you fall asleep. 


Medicinal uses: incense releases aromas that can produce serotonin in your body. Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer. Serotonin helps with sleeping, eating, and digestion and can help reduce depression, headaches, and anxiety.


Boosts creativity: carefully selected incense scents can stimulate your imagination. Incense allows you to find your flow as you write, paint, play music, or create in other ways.


Purifies air: select incense perfumes have antibacterial properties. Myrrh, Citrus, Cedar, and Sandalwood are gorgeous, air-purifying scents.


Hope: incense can create a sense of hope and new beginnings. Hope is a benefit ancient ancestors felt spiritually, evidenced by the use of incense in holy places and temples.

 Other benefits of burning incense

  • Creates awareness and a sense of ceremony
  • Creates a sanctuary
  • Increases focus
  • It helps foster inner strength

What are the ingredients in incense?

As incense is made globally by various cultures, there are numerous ingredients and types of incense. The most common type of incense is combustible incense.


Incense is available in different forms, such as coil incense, cones, a solid stick, or cored stick. You need to light each incense type to release the aromatic smoke.


Two components make up incense:


  1. An aromatic material that produces a scent
  2. A combustible binding material that holds it together in the desired shape (cone, stick, coil, etc.).


Aromatic materials commonly used for making incense are usually plant-based and can include various resins, barks, seeds, roots, and flowers. Often, the ingredients used in incense production vary by region and manufacturer. Specific examples of aromatic ingredients include:


  • Cinnamon
  • Frankincense
  • Musk
  • Myrrh
  • Patchouli
  • Sandalwood


The combustible binding material found in incense is what catches alight and allows the incense to burn and produce smoke.


The combustible materials used in incense production also vary, but often they include materials such as charcoal or wood powders.

Safe incense use

As with any item you plan to burn, try not to let your house catch fire! Place your incense burner away from small children, pets, and flammable materials. Never leave burning incense unattended. Other safety tips include:


  • Burn your incense in a well-ventilated area
  • Keep all incense away from small children and pets
  • Avoid burning incense if you’re asthmatic or have other respiratory issues 
  • Consult your doctor before burning incense if you’re pregnant
  • Choose high-quality organic or all-natural brands of incense.

Choose My Incense Waterfall

Known and loved for our gorgeous back flow incense waterfall, we are your go-to online shop for all things incense!


Our team is passionate about bringing the benefits of aromatherapy to those who make health and wellness a priority. Explore our unique way to add aromatherapy into any space.