Burned in temples and homes for thousands of years, incense is one of the oldest implements still in use today. A cleaner and more organic alternative to chemical-laden sprays or heavily perfumed candles, incense lays a delicate but potent veil over your space.
Used for a number of purposes, from spiritual invocations to boosting energy, love and positivity, incense is also a perfect way to instil calm and tranquillity.
Here are the most popular and time-honored incense scents to burn in your home for instant relaxation:
Lavender was a staple of the ancient Mediterranean people, who used it in everything from body oils to healing tinctures, as well as ritual practices. Famous for inducing a peaceful night’s sleep, lavender’s pleasant scent also helps soothe anxiety and alleviate stress.
This bright and citrusy scent is perfect for pulling you out of a sullen mood and lifting your spirits. Burning bergamot incense as soon as you get up in the morning is sure to add some bounce to your step and keep you balanced throughout the day.
Referred to by the Ancient Greeks as “food for the gods”, sandalwood has long been used around the world as the most sacred of temple scents. Revered for its calming properties, sandalwood diminishes feelings of anger and reinstates a harmonious balance wherever it is burned.
In Eastern cultures ylang-ylang is an emblem of love and seduction and its sensuous scent hardly argues against this. However, it is also ideal for calming the nervous system.
This beautiful floral scent lifts one out of the doldrums and encourages movement over wallowing in one’s melancholy. Jasmine appeals to our sensual side, but also reminds us that dreams and desires are moot without a point of action.
This popular scent is more often consumed in teas and in night time baths, but the very scent of chamomile can induce calm and contentment. If you are feeling ill at ease or uncomfortable in your personal space, chamomile incense will give you back some of the serenity and reassurance you need.
Much like bergamot, lemongrass is a “booster” scent that revitalizes a drooping spirit. Its cheerful lemony scent further helps to put stressful matters into perspective, allowing you to take a deep breathe and proceed with an open, balanced mind.
One can’t help but think of Christmas in regards to the woodsy aroma of pine, and for this reason you might want to keep some pine incense sticks on hand around the holidays when stressful gatherings and consumer chaos are at their highest.
Cinnamon evokes a sense of warmth and hospitality, of autumn baking and cozy fires, and it’s no wonder this scent brings us back to all the comforts we crave year-round. Perfect for burning after a gruelling day at work, cinnamon welcomes you back into your space and imbues a sense of safety.
Derived from an evergreen that is native to Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, aloeswood is one of the costlier incense scents to purchase but ideal for meditation exercises. The wood itself emits no scent until it is burned, and is believed to awaken dormant memories and refresh the psyche.
Despite its rich Medieval fragrance, frankincense has a renowned calming effect, particularly on the central nervous system. Containing vital phytochemicals that act on the limbic system and cerebral cortex, frankincense is perfect for inducing clarity and balance during meditative periods.
In the same realm as cinnamon in terms of nostalgic comfort, vanilla is good for those with sensitivities to strong scents. With its faint sweetness and subtle warmth, vanilla incense is perfect for gatherings you wish to keep on the more subdued side.
Cedar oil is celebrated for its countless health benefits but the scent alone is known to have a sedative effect. Like vanilla, cedar is a wonderful option for those who prefer understated scents that won’t overwhelm a space.
You may not immediately associate the heady, romantic scent of the rose with relaxation, but in matters of a troubled heart there is no rival. If you’re experiencing strife or imbalance in a relationship, burning rose incense can soften tempers and restore feelings of peace and affection.
This sumptuous scent is a staple in many homes and spiritual spaces, as it clears the air of negative energy and relieves symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. If the scent of patchouli is a bit strong for your liking, you can burn it in an open or cracked window so that the breeze can diffuse it more evenly.
Fun Fact: You can also mix and match incense scents to form your own perfect relaxation blend, such as chamomile + lavender and cedar +rose.
Melissa Bailey is an accountant by day and blogger by night. She enjoys writing about health/wellness, spirituality and astrology. In her free time, she can be found on a soccer field, hiking with her two dogs or being a local tourist with her fiancé.