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April 11, 2021 6 min read

Your nose can detect one trillion distinct smells. It can also identify strong emotions such as fear, arousal, and disgust.

That’s why the impact of aromatherapy, specifically incense sticks, on your wellbeing and home environment is nothing to sneeze at.

Burning incense sticks can help transform your home into the different spaces you need, from work to play to rest.

What Are the Benefits of Burning Incense?

Sleep Like a Baby

We’ve all experienced, at some point in our lives, that gritty-eyed, nauseous feeling of not having caught a wink all night. For some, this lack of sleep is a constant companion.

Various scientific studies carried out globally have shown that 3 out of 10 people have insomnia

It’s no surprise considering the prevalent high-stress work environments, constant use of electronics and regular consumption of stimulants.

Apart from medical issues, the most common causes of insomnia are: 
  • Poor sleeping habits 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety
Lifestyle changes and complementary alternative treatments can help to relieve insomnia.

For example, aromatic components in incense sticks have relaxing or sedative effects on the nervous system. 

Linalool is one such component. Used in Ayurveda for hundreds of years, it’s a sleep aid and anxiety treatment. 

It’s naturally found in lemongrass, citrus oils, cinnamon, rosewood, frankincense, cannabis, and lavender.

These well-known relaxers are staples amongst incense ingredients.

Chamomile is synonymous with sleep and relaxation.

Cannabis and sandalwood are also effective in calming the mind and body.


A sweet grassy scent without the strong undertones.

Knock Out Anxiety and Depression

5% of the global population is dealing with an anxiety disorder. In Australia, the number shoots to 14%.

Negatively charged particles in the air are significantly associated with lower depression and balanced serotonin levels. 

These ions help you to get more oxygen to your brain, increase alertness, reduce pollutants and help ease symptoms of anxiety.

Where are these negative ions? Clean air, waterfalls, and beaches, where there is plenty of sunlight or moving air and water, are supercharged with negative ions.

However, if these havens are miles away, burning incense sticks is a great alternative. Medicinal smoke from smudging or burning incense produces negative ions.

Chemistry aside, immersing yourself in the practice of burning incense can help you with mindfulness and soothe your restless mind.

Mindfulness is a recommended preventative and palliative methodfor depression, stress, and anxiety by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Reconnecting with your body and senses is key in mindfulness. What better way to do this than lighting an incense stick? Close your eyes and breathe deep.

Chamomile, lavender, and clary sage are your best bet against stress and anxiety.

Sensual Magic

The olfactory system or your sense of smell works differently from your other senses.

When you smell something, it immediately evokes emotion even before the brain identifies what you’re smelling.  We remember about 65% of scents or memories associated with scents.

You can trigger joy, relaxation or arousal just by smelling scents associated with a previous positive sensual or sexual experience.

When you’re homebound and need to pamper yourself or your partner, incense sticks can create the right ambience.

Natural aphrodisiac scents are warm, woody, sweet, spicy or earthy. They awaken sexual desire and increase pleasure. Some of these sensual scents typically found in incense include: 

  • Vanilla Rose 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Saffron 
  • Ginseng 
  • Patchouli (no wonder it was so popular in the ’60s!)
  • Jasmine 
  • Sandalwood
  •  Ylang-ylang.

Channel Your Inner Divinity

For most people, incense calls to mind chanting robed priests, prayer and places of worship. The oldest written record detailing how to make and use incense is from the Veda sacred texts dating back to 1500 BCE.

The symbolism of incense smoke as prayer rising to the divine lives on today. It helps to heighten the senses, focus the mind and uplift the spirit during meditation.

Whether it’s a dedicated, lockable space in your house or a wall shrine, it’s highly beneficial to set aside space for your spiritual practice. Here’s what to include in your home altar:

  • Incense sticks
  •  Incense holder (fire-resistant)
  •  Incense plate (fire-resistant for increased safety)
  • Natural altar surface (wood, stone, clay, marble)
  •  The elements: water, burning candles (fire), burning incense(air), fresh fruit or nuts (earth), bells or chimes(ether)
  • Altar cloth (bright coloured or white)
  • Sacred images or symbols that represent your spiritual aspirations

Purify the Air

Our homes can sometimes be exposed to pollutants from the environment. Careful selection of what we bring into our homes is the best place to start in purifying the air. 

Proper ventilation is a given; however, medicinal smoke can also purify the air of pathogenic bacteria.

The components of ‘havan samagri’, the materials used in oblation fires all over India, have been observed to cause a 94% reduction in pathogenic bacteria in an enclosed room for up to 24 hours. 

These components include sandalwood, turmeric, frankincense, valerian and camphor.

Borneol, the antibacterial ingredient in sage, is also found in lime, rosemary, thyme, ginger and camphor. 

Sage is a herbal powerhouse used for hundreds of years to purify the air, kill microbes and cleanse the energy of a room.

Improve Your Focus and Creativity

We’ve played, prayed and put our feet up to the lovely accompaniment of incense scents. But, sometimes, you just want to put your nose to the grindstone and get work done.

When you’re chasing the creative muse, you want your theta waves augmented. For cognitive performance, alertness, problem-solving and memory, you want to increase alpha, beta and gamma waves in your brain. 

Studies have shown that jasmine and citrus scents will increase your creativity and alertness (theta & beta). Eucalyptus, incense and rose oil increase alpha waves (coordination, integration, learning).

Remember, the perception of scents is highly subjective. So, experiment with different incense sticks and choose what works for you.

Organic Routine and Time Management

There has been a recent shift towards working from home or being a digital nomad. That said, squeezing work and recreation into a single space can wreak havoc on your well-being.

Productivity tools, time blocks and alarms contribute to the overwhelming sense of being hemmed in. The solution? Simplify it.

Don’t watch the seconds tick by or set jarring alarms. It’s less demanding to take a break or change activity halfway through the incense stick or at the end of it. 

An incense stick will burn for 30-90 minutes depending on its length, thickness, components and the room’s airflow. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should throw out your calendar! Just ease up on the minute-to-minute time tracking, especially for straightforward tasks.

It can also be a mental trigger to change activity. If you’ve been hard at work all day, you’ll want to decompress with a lovely book in your favourite nook. Burn a sandalwood incense stick to tell your brain to switch gears.

HEM masala sandalwood INCENSE STICKS

A beautiful hand rolled incense that is specially crafted in India by HEM.

Which Incense Sticks Are the Best?

The benefits of burning incense sticks in our homes are myriad and time-proven. There is a caveat: you have to do it right.

  • Natural incense is the best to avoid toxic emissions from synthetic ingredients
  • Look out for handmade incense sticks from verified suppliers
  • Incense sticks that blend complementary scents are most effective

Are Incense Sticks Bad for Your Health?

Incense sticks are not bad for your health. They have been used for thousands of years to promote good health. Remember, safety is key:

  • Always light incense in a well-ventilated room
  •  If you’re asthmatic or have respiratory problems, consult your doctor before burning incense
  • Observe fire safety by using flame-resistant holders and plates

The important takeaway is that burning incense sticks is a simple and effective way to nourish all aspects of your life, from physical to mental to spiritual. Incense sticks help to create safe, happy and inspirational spaces within our households.

Are you looking to start your journey of discovery into incense? Or maybe, you’re in love and want to stock up.  Browse the extensive collection of incense sticks from The Hippie House with scents to suit every need.

our TOP RATED incense sticks


Shrinivas Sugandhalaya create the incense we all know and love as 'Satya' or 'Satya Sai Baba'.



HEM make their incense using traditional Indian methods with each fragrance skillfully crafted  from natural resins, florals, woods and essential oils.



Made in Bangalore, India, Kamini have a huge following in Europe thanks to their exquisite blends and aromas.



If you have any questions about white sage or smudge sticks and their benefits, feel free to reach out to our friendly support team!

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