Incense sticks are used for more than just releasing a pleasant scent. For centuries they have been used for burning in spiritual practice and meditation worldwide, as well as within the Hindu tradition, lighting incense in a holder as an offering to the gods. Some incense varieties, such as citronella, can even be used to repel insects!
Incense comes in all sorts of blends and scents, from the classic lavender to Indian Nag Champa to Tibetan sandalwood. So if you're unsure which joss sticks to choose, this article is your guide to buying incense online. To help you out, we've also ranked the ten best incense sticks for you to buy on Amazon and eBay, including blends from some of the leading incense manufacturers in the world, such as Nippon Kodo and Shoyeido from Japan.
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Buying incense is more than just choosing your favourite scent - but don't worry! In this buying guide, we'll be sharing a few tips to help you purchase the perfect incense online.
Did you know some regions in the world have their own method of producing incense? Each regional variety has different characteristics, and some have a more pungent scent while others are milder, but we promise they all smell amazing!
Incense and Indian culture have been inseparable since Buddhism was born in 700 BCE. Nowadays, you can easily find incense sticks that are hand-rolled in the traditional Indian way.
Indian incense sticks have the most intense and strongest scents. They are made by coating a bamboo stick with highly fragrant joss powder. The coating is made from various natural ingredients and spices, which are powdered before being rolled into a paste which releases the aroma.
Unlike Indian incense sticks, Japanese incense doesn't use bamboo sticks to hold the joss paste. Instead, the incense powder, which is usually made from wood and herbs, is mixed with a paste made from Japanese tree bark and rolled into sticks.
Japanese incense sticks are considered the best in the world, as the industry uses only the highest quality natural ingredients. As a result, they can be slightly more expensive than other types. However, if you can afford it, they will definitely be worth the price once you smell the soft and subtle fragrance filling the room. Though, keep in mind that these incense sticks are extremely thin and fragile, so handle them with care.
Also known as Himalayan incense, Tibetan-style incense is made from over 30 medicinal herbs rolled into a paste with water, then squeezed out from a piping bag into sticks.
Tibetan incense produces the richest and earthiest fragrances and has been commonly used by monasteries in the Himalayan region for centuries. For that reason, Tibetan-style incense is generally the best to use for relaxation or meditation.
Pure essential oil incense isn't produced in a specific region and can originate from many parts of the world. These are made by dipping unscented incense sticks into pure essential oil to produce a wide range of fragrances that can't be derived from powdered ingredients.
If you opt for these incense sticks, make sure they are made using pure essential oils. Any impurities in the oil may react when burned, which could potentially produce harmful fumes and chemicals.
It can be tempting to pick the incense with the strongest scent, especially if it's your favourite. However, it's important to know that many incense sticks with a powerful and strong aroma are often made using synthetic fragrances.
Depending on how they have been manufactured, synthetic fragrances can produce fumes when burned that are harmful when inhaled over a long time. For that reason, you should always check the packaging to ensure the incense you buy is naturally scented to avoid any potentially dangerous synthetic fragrances.
Incense comes in various sized packages, ranging anywhere from 15 to over 300 sticks! That's why you should always check the number of incense sticks per package when comparing prices and to avoid any disappointment.
If you like trying out new scents from time to time, it might be better to buy smaller quantity packs. On the other hand, if you're fond of a particular scent, you can always buy your favourite in bulk so that you never run out!
The burning time of incense sticks varies depending on the type and manufacturer. Some will burn for only 30 minutes per stick, whereas others will burn for as long as 2 hours!
If you're using incense sticks for a long meditation session, we recommend purchasing ones with a longer burning time so that your session won't be interrupted by the incense unexpectedly burning out!
Incense sticks have a wonderful ability to calm us down and help us feel relaxed. Of course, you can choose whichever scent you're most fond of, but by picking certain fragrances, you will be able to evoke particular moods.
For example, floral or rose-scented incense may give you the feeling of sitting in a meadow or flower garden. Similarly, earthier fragrances such as sandalwood will give the impression of walking through a forest. For uplifting different moods and reflecting the seasons, consider picking a pack of assorted fragrances.
More than just being pleasant to sniff, some fragrances even have the added benefit of repelling insects. If you want to deter bugs and mosquitoes from entering your house, choose lavender or citronella scented incense. You'll be surprised at just how effective these scents can be!
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The Mother's India Fragrances
The Highest Quality Indian Incense
Kyo Nishiki ｜Kyoto Autumn Leaves
Delight Your Senses With Kyoto's Autumn Leaves
Zam Zam International Fragrances
Citronella Long Burning Incense Sticks
Effective Citrus Scented Incense to Keep Insects Away
Precious Lavender Incense ｜Pack of 6
Bring Lavender Fields Into Your Home
Sandalwood Natural Incense Sticks
A Perfect Balance of Earthy and Sweet Scents
Seiun Chrysanthemum Incense Sticks
Japan's Finest Incense Since 1575
Assorted Tibetan Incense｜Pack of 6
Experience a Variety of Tibetan Scents
Nag Champa Om Shanti Variety Set｜Pack of 12
Buy in Bulk at an Affordable Price
Natural Chakra Collection Incense Sticks
Seven Specific Incense Sticks for Chakra Meditation
We've been holding back our excitement, but finally, we can tell you just how amazing this Indian incense is! The highest quality of its kind, incense from The Mother's India Fragrances, are made using only premium ingredients. Something you'll undoubtedly notice the moment the incense starts to burn.
We recommend trying their best selling scent, 'Ganesh'. A subtle and calming floral fragrance, this incense is perfect to unwind after a long day and remind you of the beauty and power of nature.
One of our absolute favourites, this incense came extremely close to taking our top spot. With over 300 years of incense manufacturing expertise, we guarantee you won't be able to get enough of Shoyeido's high-quality Japanese incense.
Warm and soothing, it has a soft and comfortingly sweet scent. You'll be immediately drawn in, imagining yourself surrounded by the maple trees at Kiyomizu-Dera in Kyoto! Now, all that is left to do is relax and enjoy the scent of the autumnal leaves, whatever the time of year.
We can't stress enough how refreshing this incense smells. The citrus scent will surely brighten your mood and home while repelling pesky insects such as mosquitoes and spiders! Great for those who don't get along with bugs.
This incense has a longer burning time than similar products, so you won't need to restock as often. It's also a great option to bring on camping trips. Just be sure to store it properly to prevent breakage and water damage.
While other similar products can smell quite harsh or synthetic, you will be pleased to know that this incense smells just like real lavender! Lavender is a fantastic scent to burn at night, before bedtime, as it has been known to promote sleep and relaxation.
This box comes with a total of 120 sticks and a wooden incense holder. All you need to do is light it, and in your mind, you will be instantly transported to lush lavender fields.
We can't think of why anyone would dislike the smell of sandalwood, especially using this incense made with organic ingredients. Earthy, creamy and sweet with a hint of spice, your entire house will be filled with this warm and welcoming scent with only one stick!
Raajsee ensures their incense is made using an environmentally friendly production process and fair trade labour, which is why it comes in at a slightly more expensive price point.
You can already tell the quality of this incense from the beautiful design of the packaging. Being one of the oldest incense producers in Japan, Nippon Kodo has mastered the art of making the finest scents. This product has a subtle floral fragrance, with hints of earth, wood and warm green moss.
The only downside of this product is that the incense has a relatively short burning time, meaning you'll have to replace the sticks fairly often. At its high price, this doesn't make it a very cost-effective option.
Do you prefer a more natural scent when burning incense? Then this may be the right choice for you. These Tibetan incense sticks are made from Himalayan herbs and other naturally fragrant ingredients such as saffron, nagi, and red and white sandalwood.
The total of 6 different blends is made following Monastic Tibetan traditions. Through this incense, you can experience the authentic scents of Tibet every time you light a stick.
If you love burning difference incense sticks according to your mood, then this variety pack is perfect for you! With 12 different scents to choose from and a total of 180 sticks to burn through, it really is a bargain.
Compared to other incense, this product has a relatively short burning time. However, if you're only burning the incense once in a while, this product will last you for ages.
This pack allows you to individually care for your crown, third eye, throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral and root chakra with a corresponding incense stick. Each incense has it's own scent, mantra and yoga exercises, ensuring you fully experience the meditation session.
Although Indian incense sticks are supposed to have the strongest scent, this product produces a rather weak aroma. So, only purchase this one if you're fond of subtle fragrances.
Before you go burning away, here are a few tips to ensure safety while waiting for those lovely fragrances to fill the air:
We all need a bit of zen in our busy lives, and incense is a great way of bringing some peace but how often should and how long should you burn one for? And which aromas are the best for calming anxiety? We've got all the answers for you below.
There are no rules as to how often you should light incense sticks; though once a day should do the trick for a fairly strongly scented incense stick. However, no matter whether you burn one or several, you must ensure that it’s done so in a well-ventilated area.
All incense sticks will have a burning time and this can range from 20 minutes to 2 hours. However, if you have a larger stick that you only want to burn for 30 minutes and use again another time, then you can break off the tip where it’s burning to stop it.
Choosing an aroma to calm anxiety can be a very personal choice, what you may find relaxing, others may not. Nevertheless, it should come as no surprise that lavender is a great soother of anxiety, as well as scents such as frankincense and sandalwood which has been used for meditation for many years.
There are plenty of ways to introduce fragrances into your home, whether it's for spiritual practice, aromatherapy or just because you like a particular scent. Before you go, take a look at these other articles to help you discover a wide range of pleasant and relaxing smells!
Finding an incense that matches your emotion will enhance your meditation session and effectively uplift your mood. With so many scents and varieties available, which one will be your favourite?
Author: Angina Chow
No. 1: The Mother's India Fragrances｜Ganesh
No. 2: Shoyeido｜Kyo Nishiki ｜Kyoto Autumn Leaves
No. 3: Zam Zam International Fragrances｜Citronella Long Burning Incense Sticks
No. 4: Hem｜Precious Lavender Incense ｜Pack of 6
No. 5: Raajsee｜Sandalwood Natural Incense Sticks
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