How to Use Incense for Cleansing and Protection?

Stick incense burning

For millennia, civilizations around the world have been using different forms of incense to cleanse spaces of negative energy. You might think of incense as a stick that you burn to release pleasing fragrances, but incenses also come in the form of resins and dried plants.

Let’s see how incense helps to cleanse your space, as well as various types of sticks, resins, and herbs that you can use to make your home a more positive environment.

How does incense help with cleansing and protection?

Incenses, both stick, herb, and resin varieties, are crafted out of sacred plants, such as frankincense or sandalwood. These plants are known to carry a high energetic vibration. Thus, burning the plants – in incense form– fills your home with that high vibration, cleansing the space of negativity and protecting the area from lower vibrational energies.

Resin, herbs or sticks – which is better for cleansing?

Generally, herbs such as white sage are most well-known for cleansing and protective properties. Resins, however, contain great cleansing power, too. Both resins and herbs are the most potent options for releasing negative energy, but don’t forget that incense sticks work just fine, as well!

In addition to these, you can also use wood incense like Palo Santo and Agarwood (Aloeswood). Your best bet is to choose the type of incense which you most resonate with.

Now let us look at the best types of incense you can use for cleaning and protection.

7 best resin incenses for cleansing and protection

Resin incense

The following are 7 resin incenses that are best for cleansing and raising your home’s vibration.

1. Copal

Feeling stuck in a rut? You may want to try burning some copal resin. Copal is known to free stagnant energy in the body; in addition, it’s said to open the crown chakra. Thus, this resin works great during meditation!

2. Myrrh

Myrrh is known to amplify positive vibrations; for this reason, using it when you’re in need of a positivity boost is a great idea. Additionally, you might also try burning myrrh alongside any other incense. It’ll increase the impact of whatever else you burn!

3. Frankincense

Perhaps one of the most well-known types of incense, frankincense is a prime all-purpose spiritual cleanser. Use this sweet-smelling resin to protect your home from bad vibes and to call in the presence of the divine.

4. Benzoin

Benzoin incense has a sweet, uplifting energy, perfect for dispelling sadness. It’ll open up your heart chakra and connect you to a feeling of self-love and compassion.

5. Dragon’s blood

Originating from the “dragon tree” in the areas near the Arabian Sea, this resin carries a healing, replenishing vibration. Use dragon’s blood resin during or after an illness or when you’re doing healing work, in order to restore your home’s energy to health and wholeness.

6. Palo santo

The name literally means “holy wood”; this incense, in both its unprocessed and its resin form, has been known for centuries to cleanse and restore a space to positivity. Burn Palo Santo resin or Palo Santo wood during meditation to uplift your mood and enhance creativity.

7. Styrax

Originating from the Styrax Officinalis, this purifying incense will help to protect your home from negativity. It’s also said to bring about positive financial influence, so you may want to burn some styrax when you’re hoping to call in abundance.

8 best herb incenses for cleansing and protection

Herbal incense kit

The following are 8 herbal incenses that are best for cleansing rituals.

1. White sage

Perhaps the most traditional of herbal incenses, white sage is a sacred plant which, when burned, powerfully removes negative vibrations from spaces, crystals, and the body. Similar to frankincense, you can use white sage as a sort of all-purpose spiritual cleanser!

2. Blue sage

Otherwise known as “desert sage” or “grandmother sage”, blue sage is a lesser-known and less strong-smelling variety of sage, as compared to its cousin, the white sage. Use blue sage to purify your space if you find the white sage scent to be a little too pungent.

3. Sweetgrass

Usually found dried and braided, sweetgrass can help to attract positive energy to a space. Try using sweetgrass and blue sage together– while blue sage expels the negative, sweetgrass will draw in the positive.

4. Lavender

Similar to its stick incense form, dried lavender can ward off anxiety. It can also ease insomnia; try burning some dried lavender in your bedroom before bed, taking care to make sure that the herb is completely extinguished before you go to sleep.

5. Juniper

The juniper tree has been known to emit protective energies; thus, juniper is the perfect herb to smudge with when you feel the need to protect your space from negativity. Burn juniper when you’re dealing with interpersonal conflict, or if you believe that somebody wishes you ill.

6. Bay leaves

Bay leaves– yes, the ones you use to flavor soups and stews– contain a chemical compound called “linalool” which has been shown to reduce anxiety. Burning dried bay leaves, therefore, can ease your mind and cleanse your energy when you’re feeling stressed.

7. Mugwort

Dried mugwort is known to help both women and men connect to the divine feminine or Shakti energy. Doing so can enhance creativity and remove stagnant energy. So, try burning some mugwort when you’re feeling stuck, blocked, or uninspired.

8. Cedar

When you see dried cedar in spiritual goods stores, what you’re looking at are the leaves of the cedar tree. A purifying and protecting plant, cedar has been used to cleanse and bless a home before a new family moves in. If you’re moving, consider bringing some cedar with you!

6 best stick incenses for cleansing and protection

The following are 6 stick incenses that you can use for cleansing and protection.

Stick incense on stand

1. Lavender

A soothing scent, lavender works best for those with excess worry or mental chatter. It helps to tone down frantic energy, and turns your home into a comforting, quiet space.

2. Sandalwood

Sandalwood is another great option for anyone carrying around excess tension; it’ll also promote feelings of inner power, easing helplessness and insecurity.

3. Amber

Amber incense is connected to the solar plexus chakra, or the center of one’s confidence and self-agency. Thus, you might try burning amber incense when you need a boost to your self-esteem!

4. Nag champa

One of the most common incense fragrances used in yoga studios and other spiritual spaces, nag champa contains a purifying vibration, similar to white sage. Try burning nag champa incense to raise your home’s overall vibration.

5. Lotus

If you want to open your crown chakra and connect with the spirit world, try burning some lotus incense! This fragrance will enhance your meditation and fill your space with calm, peaceful energy.

6. Patchouli

This incense balances the energy of the room, making it perfect for stabilizing your mood and quieting your scattered mind. Try burning some patchouli when you feel mentally cluttered or unstable.

What should you say when cleansing with incense?

You don’t have to say anything while smudging, but with that said, it’ll aid your cleansing ritual if you first bring an intention to mind. Ask yourself: what are you trying to cleanse, purify, or protect yourself from? Or, you might ask: what energies would you like to call in?

For example, if you simply want to remove negative energy from your home, and call in positive energy, you might say something like: “I invite all negative vibrations to leave, and I invite high vibrational energy to fill my space.

Conversely, if you’re using an incense such as lavender to soothe anxiety, you may repeat an affirmation such as “my mind is at ease”. You get the idea – create or find an affirmation which resonates with whatever it is you wish to call in or clean out!

When is the best time to burn incense?

Incense on table

You know best when it’s time to cleanse your house with incense. Does your space feel energetically heavy, negative, or stagnant? Time to cleanse it out!

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to cleanse your home’s energy after you have company over, particularly if your company was draining or negative. In addition, if you’ve suffered any physical ailments, or struggled with grief, loss, sadness, or anxiety lately, you may want to cleanse your space with incense– this will help to jump-start your healing by calling in positive energy.

How long should you burn incense?

Again, this is totally up to you. If you’ve smudged your entire home, and yet you still feel heaviness lingering in the air, feel free to burn for a little longer! On the other hand, if you find that the incense’s scent is too strong, try cutting your burning time in half for a more subtle effect.

Important tips to bear in mind

1. Open a window while burning your incense

While cleansing, you need to give the negative vibrations somewhere to go– otherwise, they’ll become trapped in your space. Open a window before you light up your incense, so that the smoke can “push” the negative energy outside.

2. Smudge yourself before smudging your space

Before cleansing your house with incense, make sure that your body is free of negative vibes. All you have to do is light your incense of choice and wave the smoke around your body; some people like to use fans or feathers to help this process. Once you feel nice and light, you’re ready to smudge your home!

Summing it up

To sum it all up, all you need to lighten your home’s energy is a bit of pleasant-smelling incense. Was there a particular incense on this list which resonated with you? That’s a good sign that that’s the incense for you!

You can find these incenses in spiritual goods stores, or online, on sites such as Etsy. Be sure to honor the plant, mentally thanking it for raising your home’s vibration, and you’ll be sure to have a positive, uplifting experience.


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About the Author
Taylor Blanchard is a life coach and a freelance mental health and wellness writer. Her lived experience and extensive knowledge on mental health, emotional wellness, and spirituality guide her to create deep, compassionate blog posts, which she hopes will help people to feel less alone in the world. Self-care for Taylor looks like staring at the sky, drinking cacao while listening to metal, or cuddling with her rescue Pitbull...  visit author page.
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