How to Burn Incense

How to Burn Incense

In these hectic routines, people use anti-depressants to get relaxed but those who are a bit traditional burn incense sticks. Burning incense sticks has the potential to spread scents and create an environment of calmness and serenity. However, be very careful while lighting incense sticks. We want you to always take precautionary steps before burning incense.

In this article, we are going to talk to you about how to burn incense sticks, and how to burn incense cones and powder. To add more, we will also be discussing different types of incense and what makes incense sticks. At the end, we will give you some safety tips. So hold on with us and keep reading the article. It is going to be fun and interesting.

What is Incense?

Incense is any plant that is burned for the purpose of creating fragrance. It is used for religious, spiritual and aroma therapeutic purposes. Burning incense is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt and Babylon but it might have been much older. According to researchers, this is now a fact that religious leaders in ancient Egypt have burned these sticks for a variety of purposes.

However, its fragrance is so much soothing and attractive that it is used for various purposes; from religious rituals to wedding occasions. Some also use it during yoga to calm down their minds. Burning incense is an ancient practice that is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt and Babylon. People use it in rituals and meditation. Some burn it to lighten their mood and pacify their spirits.

What is Incense Made of?

showing how and which articles

Incense is a substance that is made from plants to produce a fragrance that is relaxing, soothing and calming. Not all incense stick has the same fragrance; the scent of incense depends on the plant used. The plant-based incense sticks may be made from bark, seeds, resins, flowers, leaves and spices. Since incense is used by people all over the world there are many ways to form incense.

The most common way to form incense is this: Take a thin Bamboo stick and coat it with combustible paste that is made from coal, fibers of bamboo and a binding agent. Place it somewhere where there is no danger of burning anything else. Light the coating side of the incense and you will start to smell the soothing scent. Incense has been part of our lives and it dates back to 3300 B.C. Ideally it is used by everyone for religious purposes and even to repel bad odours.

Where does Incense Originate from?

The history of incense goes back to ancient times and it has been used for multiple purposes: from rituals to religious practices and for use as an agent of relaxation and calmness. The word “incense” is derived from the Latin verb “incendere” which means “to burn”. With the advent of agriculture and the invention of fire, there is scientific evidence that people used to burn natural materials for their pleasant smell.

These natural materials are bark, berries and resins to name a few. It has also been used in ancient Greece and Rome. In Egypt the most popular incense was “Frankincense” which was mostly burnt as a religious offering during their time of worship. They would also burn it for the protection of their dead ones. Due to its use in ancient times, spirituality, ritualism and peace have remained central to burning incense.

Why Use Incense?

burning incense on religious occasions

Before moving forward we think it is necessary to know why use incense. In our daily lives, we try different sort of things and use it accordingly. Due to its aromatic fragrance, these sticks are used on various occasions from religious practices to our societal rituals. Here are some key takeaways on why use incense.

For Purification Purposes

Some scientific studies show that burning incense can decrease the amount of bacteria in the air by 94%. It can be termed as bacteria killers. In ancient times, Buddhist monks had started using incense to purify the spaces where they were supposed to live.

Increase Focus

When we visit our home in summer vacations, we see our mother always light some incense sticks during the daytime. This act of the mother is so much relaxing and the environment starts to seem beautiful and serene. Scientifically, it has been established that burning incense helps to improve focus and concentration.

Calm Down and release Stress

Incense sticks are of various kinds and their ingredients are a variety of things such as frankincense, peppermint, lavender, sandalwood patchouli, etc. Research shows that oils such as lavender or sandalwood have soothing and calming effects. In short, we use incense in order to calm down ourselves and release stress to increase our focus.

Help in Reducing Stress

We have learned in my elementary school that the brain is a very delicate and complicated organ of our body which has many senses that our body uses to maintain itself. Our olfactory sense, the sense to detect smells is one of the oldest senses in our body and it is linked to the most important part of the brain known as the limbic system.

The limbic system is the place in the brain that controls memory, emotions and how we learn. Burning a particular sense may stimulate a particular reaction in our body. Some people are allergic to certain smells. Just like any other therapy, burning incense can be used to calm down the mind. It also helps in reducing the stress.

To know more about reducing stress read the article How to Get Higher

How to Burn Incense Stick- For Beginners

In the previous section, we have learned about incense and the origin of incense. We also discussed why to use incense at length. In the forthcoming lines, we are going to give you a guideline for beginners on how to burn incense. Stay tight and keep reading!

Select your Incense

a person selecting incense

An incense stick is a thin material made up of wood (usually bamboo). It is covered with incensed materials for scent production. If you are a beginner then you must keep in mind that there must be some smells to which you will be allergic. So try to purchase those sticks which give you calmness and peace of mind. An incense stick is covered with incense material with the exception of one side which is not coated.

Look for an appropriate Incense Holder

incense holder

If you are a beginner and want to use incense then you need to have a proper incense holder. Incense holders, also known as censers, may have different shapes and sizes. What kind of censer you use depends on what kind of incense you are using. You can visit a nearby store and buy a special censer which is designed to hold your desired incense type.

If you do not want to go out then we have some easy tips for you on how to make an incense holder in your home. Find below the tips to successfully execute the task of burning incense safely.

  • If you have a cored incense stick then keep in mind the below points to make your own incense holder. 
  • Take out a flat wood (20-30cm) and mold it to become just like a boat. 
  • Make a small hole on one side of the “boat” like holder. The boat-like shape is important because it is wide enough for the ashes. 
  • If you have a solid incense stick then you should not use a wooden censer. A solid incense burns all the way down and you don’t like that to happen because it might lead to an alarming situation. In a situation like this, you would like to consider a bowl-like thing and put some sand, or rice for the absorption of heat. 
  • You can also make a censer by using clay. It is the most inexpensive and easy way to get a homemade burner. It is very economical and helps absorb the heat. 
  • Now you are ready to light the stick. 
  • Light the tip of the stick and leave it for 5-10 seconds. 
  • If the embers become visible on the stick then blow off the stick. 
  • Now sit tight wherever you are and enjoy the sweet and serene scent.

In order to find out the methods how to burn incense; we are unable to provide it generally. In fact, there is a variety of incenses; in each type burning method slightly differs, therefore we cannot give a general method for all types of incense; hence it seems expedient to mention briefly about each type of incense following the method of burning applicable to the given type.

How to Burn Incense: Kinds of Incense

kinds of incense

In this section, we are going to illustrate different ways on how to burn incense. It’s up to you if you hold it in your hand and burn it. But it will be safe for you if you stick it in a burner. In the section below we are going to give you detailed guidelines on how to burn incense sticks.

We are going to tell you about various kinds of incense. In fact, there are lots of kinds of incense but we have listed the most common and accessible ones for you. These kinds might seem similar to you but these kinds create a variety of scents. Here is a useful read for you to know more about incense and about its use in your daily life.

Since incense is used throughout the world it has different meanings in different societies and cultures. In the following section, we will shed light below on different kinds of incense and how to burn it safely.

Incense Sticks

An incense stick is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to go. The stick is made of bamboo and coated with aromatic substance in order to originate a serene scent. These substances consist of ground-dried plant material. It can also be made with essential oil. You can put the stick in a safe place in an incense holder. Light the tip of the stick and leave the flame. Once you observe the ember on the stick blow the flame out.

Method of burning: Lighting on a burner

  • For safety measures put the incense stick on a burner or stick it in a sand or rice 
  • Just like lighting a candle, light the other tip of the stick 
  • Allow the flame to burn for a few seconds and then you can blow it off 
  • Make sure that the stick is immersed in the middle of a burner or in the sand so that the ashes do not fall onto the floor. 
  • Lastly, check the incense stick where the flame was. If it is burned and you can see the ember then you are ready to go. 
  • Sit tight and relax yourself with a beautiful fragrance coming out of the stick.

Coil Incense

It is similar to incense sticks but they are made just like a spiral. You must put the spiral incense into a suitable burner. Use a burner that is wide, flat and bigger than the size of the coil. Light the exterior stick of the coil. Blow off the fire upon seeing the ember. It is important to note that the coil burner burns longer than the incense sticks so keep in mind the safety precautions in your mind which will be discussed later in this article.

How to Burn Coil Incense

We have easy steps for you on how to burn coil incense. These steps are the following: 

  1. Take a coil incense and fill the burner with incense burner ash (up to 80%) 
  2. Light the top of the incense coil and blow off the flame. Let the smoke move through the air 
  3. Keep in mind that burning coil incense can burn for almost one hour or two hours. Therefore it is important to take safety measures before burning it.

Cone Incense

Cone incense is the combination of combustible materials and aromatic oil that is modified into a cone shape. Put the cone incense on a burner. Note that cone incense can burn for a longer time and can produce more heat than coil incense and stick incense. Make sure your burner is heatproof.

We will give you some homemade tips on how to make your burner heat-proof. Your burner must be wide and flat. Put sand or rice around the burner because rice and sand have the capacity to absorb heat. Now open your matchbox or a lighter. Light the exterior end of the cone and leave the flame for 5 to 10 seconds. When the embers become visible on one tip then put out the flame and enjoy the scent.

How to Burn Cone Incense

You can burn cone incense if you have supplies. Here is a guide on how to burn it: 

  • Take cone incense from a superstore along with a proper holder. 
  • Put a holder that is heat-proof because it releases much heat. 
  • Use a match or lighter to light it up 
  • Do not extinguish the flame until you see an ember 
  • Put the holder in a safe place 
  • Now sit on your sofa and enjoy the fragrance for around 20-30 minutes.

Powder Incense

Powder incense is made by combining aromatic plants, woods and resins to form powder. The powder incense usually burns on charcoal. The important characteristic of charcoal is that it produces a lot of heat so much so that its heat goes up to around 1200 Fahrenheit. Therefore, you need to ensure that your burner is heat-proof.

As discussed before you can make your charcoal heat-proof by adding salt, rice or sand around the piece of charcoal. These materials are good absorbers of heat. You also need to understand that if you are using charcoal as a burner then you don’t have to hold charcoal in your hand. Use something else to hold charcoal so that you get safe from excessive heat.

How to Burn Powder Incense

  1. Take an ash in the incense burner 
  2. Make the ash and create an even surface. 
  3. Now put the stencil on top of the ash in the middle. 
  4. Now you can add incense powder to the stencil 
  5. If the powder is in excess amount then recover it from around the stencil 
  6. Use a match or a lighter to light one end of the incense.

Benefits of Incense

Following are the key benefits of burning incense in a house or other place of dwelling.

benefits of incense

Taking Safety Measures

  • Do not leave burning incense unattended. Leaving burning incense can cause fire and might damage your belongings. 
  • Always use a burner that is heat-proof. There are kinds of incense that produce more heat than an ordinary stick. To avoid hazards and fire, you must use a burner that absorbs heat. 
  • Do not go for those sticks which are not made from natural materials. Always try to purchase those sticks which are environment-friendly and are derived from natural materials. Non-natural incense sticks contain chemical ingredients that are dangerous for your health. Therefore to avoid harmful substances coming into your body, always use a stick that is made from natural materials.


How to burn incense sticks is the most relaxing thing that one can enjoy. Burning incense is a centuries-old tradition and by doing this practice, one can connect herself/himself to the ancient past and people. It is not clear where exactly incense sticks originated but according to research studies its origin goes back to ancient Egypt and Greece.

People in ancient times used incense for various occasions; from performing religious practices to societal rituals. It is also important to note down that in ancient India Buddhist monks burned incense sticks to meditate and purify their spirits and souls. That is the reason why burning sticks can have a positive and aroma therapeutic experience. You can use it to relax and calm down your emotions.

It can help you release your stress and anxiety. There is a guide for beginners on how to burn incense sticks, cones or powder. To conclude, there are different kinds of incense and each kind has its own characteristics and scent depending on their size, shape and aroma. It is important that you take safety measures before burning incense stick.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about incense sticks and how to burn them.


How long does it take for incense to burn?

Commonly, it is expected that an incense stick would burn for around 20-30 minutes. However, we have different kinds of incense and each kind has its own characteristics. So the time is different for different kinds of incense due to variations in size, shape, thickness and type of incense.

How do you use incense for beginners?

For a detailed answer please scroll above. To put it short, if you are a beginner then go out to a nearby supermarket and purchase any kind of incense stick along with a holder. Place the stick on one side of the holder. Light the exterior tip of the stick and wait until you start smelling the scent. Now make yourself comfortable and enjoy the scent.

Do you have to burn the whole incense stick?

Some incense sticks are coated on both sides. However, the majority of incense sticks are coated with aromatic materials with the exception of one side. The other end is not coated with aromatic material. Thus it is not important whether to burn it completely or not. 

I will suggest if your stick is somewhere near a flammable object then try not to burn the whole stick. If it is in a metal bowl or something that is not flammable then you can burn the whole stick.

Can you burn Incense directly?

Yes, you can burn it directly but it is important to keep in mind some precautionary measures for your safety. You can burn it directly by putting the stick in a holder and light the tip of the stick. Hold it until you see a red ember.

William Anthony

Passionate lifestyle blogger creating vivid narratives on fashion, wellness, and culture, weaving stories that inspire and captivate readers globally.

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