Buying guide: How to choose your incense?

Guide d'achat : Comment choisir son encens ?

Scents have the power to awaken our senses, create a particularly soothing atmosphere or even calm the mind. We can create an atmosphere according tohow we choose the incense. Quality is preferred to avoid inhaling toxic smoke.

On the market, incense comes in various shapes and compositions. The choice will be based on its use.

Whether in the West or in Asian culture, each incense has its own particularity and meaning. After reading these few paragraphs, you will know everything you need to know tochoose the incense that suits you.

The origins of the use of incense

Incense in Asia

In Asia, incense has been a part of the daily life of indigenous people for millennia. Often used formeditation, home purification, artistic inspiration or funerals, scents can play a sacred or utilitarian role. Incense sticks are burned in Buddhist temples as well as in commercial establishments (shop, restaurant, etc.) but especially at home.

In Asian culture,incense uplifts the spirit, heals the body and purifies the mind of bad waves. Burning incense is a daily practice and extremely widespread in many Asian countries. It can be used just to measure the passage of time.

Incense in the West

In the Western world, burning incense is nothing new. This practice has been done for several centuries in certain religions, such as Christianity. Walked and swayed in the aisles of the church, the smoking censer diffuses its emanations to inspire the faithful in prayer.

The practice is also part of many magical rites. In the modern era, incense is used to mask bad smells. It also helps tofind sleep or even create a zen atmosphere in your daily environment.

Connoisseurs who have imbibed Asian culture also use it for scientific research. A priori, incense can be used as aaphrodisiac or for relaxation.

The different types of incense

In the classic Western market, incense usually comes in three forms depending on convenience, how long it burns, or just how it looks.

  • Incense sticks

They are very common and their practicality appeals to many users. IThey are easy to store and do not take up much space. It requires a suitable support so as not to weaken them and to make it burn vertically. Widely used in India and China, incense sticks are often offered with raw materials and a natural composition. On the other hand, do your research before buying because in some shops, incense is made from solvent-based products glued to a bamboo stick.

  • Incense cones

Natural oud wood incense cone

The cones are also practical and easy to store. They are less known to Westerners but the effects remain the same. Made of wood or resin, their appearance is more compact and discreet.To burn an incense cone,just place it on a metal or ceramic dish to let it burn safely. Some incense burners are also specially designed for, like our traditional ceramic incense holder.

  • Incense spirals

Natural oud wood incense spirals

Incense spirals are preferred if you want to diffuse the scents for a longer period. A spiral lasts an average of 24 hours, which isvery practical for long meditation. Spiral incense requires special support in order to keep it in balance and so that it can burn continuously.

Which composition to choose?

Frankincense is generally made from natural woods or plants known for their medicinal and therapeutic properties. Here are a few examples:

Oud wood

It is the ultimate raw material for incense. We call him “Wood of the gods” but also known as agarwood, aloe wood or even eagle wood. More commonly, it is known as calambac.

Its natural characteristics areused for millennia in Chinese and Japanese medicine. It is one of the most valuable woods in the world and its exploitation and export are now fairly regulated.

Oud wood, when reacted to natural or provoked factors, produces a resin with a pronounced odor with properties acting on the mind and the psychic. We use oud wood incense formeditate, relax and calm your body and mind.


In many cultures this wood is very spiritual. In Hinduism, sandalwood is related to the third eye, while it is used as an offering in Buddhism. It is also part of three integral incenses with incense of Agarwood and Clove.

In the house, his delicate fragrance repels insects. On a mental and physical level, sandalwoodprovides immeasurable well-being and a feeling of calm. Its virtues are also very appreciated in oriental medicine and exploited in cosmetics.


Discovered in the East and in the Mediterranean since time immemorial, clove is a spice used in several fields thanks to its medicinal and therapeutic properties.

Clove is a potent antidepressant targeting the central nervous system. It is also used as a purifier. Burning clove incense also helps ward off bad energies and purifies the aura.

According to the believers, the clove would have the capacity to attract wealth.

White sage

The natural properties of white sage are highly valued in the health field. It isa very effective antiseptic and a renowned antibacterial. Its smell when burnt is effective inward off negativity and cleanse the house.

The 3 mistakes to avoid!

The plurality of the use of incense has given rise to a very lucrative market which offers products of all kinds and of different qualities. The neophyte can quickly get lost and choose a product that will not have the desired effects, or even worse.

1 - The incense at a low price you would not buy

Buy cheap incense on the Internet risks the release of toxic smoke, ignoring the components. Often, the substances that make up inexpensive frankincense have harmful effects on the lungs, although the smell is sometimes deceptive. People with weak lungs (asthma or others) should be particularly careful when choosing incense.

Remember to compare prices but especially to detect the average price of an incense with 100% natural components. Sandalwood or oudwood incense have a fairly high cost price, think about it before validating your purchase.

2 - The natural components you will favor

We can indeed notice incense made from bamboo stems soaked in a chemical mixture such as benzene or naphthalene and give the same appearance, the same olfactory signature as natural incense but with much more undesirable effects.

Fortunately for the European consumer, the product packaging is a wealth of important information. Opt for 100% natural compositions, without additives or chemical treatment. Sawdust, saltpeter or charcoal are also to be avoided.

3 - The opinions of consumers you will read

While buying incense in physical stores easily allows it, online it's much more complicated. Indeed, you can read the components on the packaging of incense in a store. Online, you are simply relying on the item description.

Customer reviews on the product description on the site are always a big help in making the right choice. There are also many discussion forums where you can find testimonials about the use and effect of the incense you have spotted.

Know that at Artisan d’Asie, we offer 100% natural incense from China, Vietnam, India and Indonesia and made with love by small producers. If you are interested, do not hesitate to take a walk in our collection of natural incense.

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