What Incense is Good for Cleansing?

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Since ancient times, incense has been used as a way to calm and heal the senses. Burning incense has been a practice of both the religious and the mystic, who have used it for sacred, spiritual, healing and purposes.

Even today, many people use incense for the same reasons, as well as to help clear away negative energy from their homes. So, what incense is good for cleansing purposes?

In this article, we’ll take a look at which types of resins, sticks, and herbs are best used for clearing negative energy.

This will provide both you and your living space with the purification and protection needed to keep your vibe high, and your home free of bad juju.


What Incense is Good for Cleansing?

Since ancient times, herbs such as white sage, resins like frankincense, and woods like Palo Santo have been burned for the potent powers of their apparent cleansing and protective properties.

When using incense for cleansing the energy around you, there are multiple methods used in which to do so. The most common methods are:

1. Purification

Traditionally, white sage is used for cleansing and removing negative energy from rooms and homes. This herb is considered sacred to many indigenous communities, and has been used for calming the nervous system to promote healing in the body.

Basically, the smoke emanating from the incense cleanses the space of any low vibrational energy. Purifying a space with incense doesn’t necessarily have to be a spiritual practice.

Purifying a space with incense doesn’t necessarily have to be a spiritual practice.

2. Smudging

Indigenous cultures have used this ceremonial ritual for centuries. Smudging involves cleansing or blessing a person’s aura, or energetic field. The incense, usually in the form of bound herbs like white sage, while the smoke is fanned and directed at the person being smudged, moving from the feet to the crown of the head.

You don’t need someone to smudge you, though, because you can also smudge yourself.

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3. Protection

Purifying your environment will also add some protection to your space, although doing a specific protection ritual will help you to release any heavy negative energies that you may feel. For example, you can protect your space by burning incense after having a friend come over, who sucks your energy.

Doing so will help to call in more positive energy to your surroundings. Resins like frankincense have been used for centuries in religious purification ceremonies.

For example, you can protect your space by burning incense after having a friend come over, who sucks your energy.


Three Types of Incense

Choosing the type of incense you want to use to cleanse your space is the first thing you need to consider. Incense itself comes in three primary kinds of forms:

Sticks or Cones

This is the most popular type of incense, which you will find in many places, including health food stores. Incense sticks and cones are made from different dried powders mixed with essential oils.

Although advertised as natural, many contain chemical enhancers. There’s not a whole lot of oversight in the incense industry!

So generally this kind of incense is used simply to add fragrance to a space, not for purposes of cleansing.

Dried Herb Bundles

Many herbs are known for their protective and cleansing properties, especially white sage, which is used the most. Dried herbs are gathered into bundles and bound with cotton string to create beautiful sticks that, when burned, promote a range of beneficial effects, including purification.

As well as herbs, there is also wood like Palo Santo and pine wood, and tree barks, such as cedar, hawthorn, juniper and birth that are burned for cleansing and purification purposes.

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Resin

Little nuggets of resin are made from the dried sap of sacred plants, like dragon’s blood, sandalwood, and frankincense. The resins of sacred plants have been revered since ancient times for carrying a high energetic vibration. Burning them, therefore, will increase the vibration of both you and your home.

Resin also creates more smoke than the other types of incense, so the effects and smell lingers for longer.

Traditionally, resin incense was burned in a charcoal censer. However, now it is often burned using electric resin burners. These are much cleaner and are generally a better choice for getting the most out of your resin incense.


Herbal Essence

Using cleansing smoke from herbs being burned on charcoal is something that has been done by traditional healers, shaman, and indigenous peoples since ancient times. Herbs like mint, lavender, sage, lemon balm and citronella are even burned over a campfire as a natural way to keep mosquitoes at bay, thus cleansing their energy away.

In the list below we take a closer look at some of the most popular natural herbs that are burned for cleansing purposes:

Sage 

Probably the most well-known of the herbal incenses, both white and blue sage have been used traditionally to remove negative energies through body smudging, space clearing and even for cleansing crystals like rose quartz.

Basically sage is kind of like an all-purpose energy cleanser. The blue variety, also known as desert sage, has a less strong smell, so if you find white sage a bit too pungent, look for its less popular cousin.

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Lavender 

Burning dried lavender releases a very pleasant soft scent that is known to cause relaxation. It has been used for centuries to ward off evil spirits and frantic energy, and can also help you to cope better with insomnia, if it’s burned in your bedroom before you go to sleep.

You can even burn lavender with the intention of having it protect you, and calm your nervous system from excess worry, anxiety or brain fog.

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Lavender has been used for centuries to ward off evil spirits and frantic energy, and can also help you to cope better with insomnia, if it’s burned in your bedroom before you go to sleep.

Bay leaves

Bay leaves contain a chemical compound known as linalool (lavender actually contains more), and inhaling its vapor while burning has been shown to reduce anxiety and cleanse your energy.

If you’re culinary inclined, then you probably already have some bay leaves in your kitchen cupboard. Burning this leaf to take in its pleasant smell will also help reduce stress in your body.

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Cedar 

The dried leaves of the cedar tree can be burned to cleanse a home space. It has antibacterial properties, and can help to dispel any odor left over from smoking, cooking or animal fur.

It’s also a natural insect repellent, and its earthy aroma will help to lower vibrational emotions such as sadness, anxiety, anger, and depression, making it a great incense to use when you want to boost your mood.

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Palo Santo

Although technically not a herb, the name literally means “holy wood”, palo santo is a widely used incense with a high resin content that makes it easy to burn. It has been used for centuries by shamans and medicine men and women to cleanse spaces of negative energy, and promote spiritual purification.

Burning palo santo at bedtime will help to create a calming atmosphere to relax your mind, especially if you suffer from anxiety or insomnia. Just make sure it has burnt out completely before turning off the light.

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Burning Palo Santo at bedtime will help to create a calming atmosphere to relax your mind, especially if you suffer from anxiety or insomnia.


The Dynamic Duo

Sage and palo santo have a harmonious relationship as far as a cleansing ritual is concerned, so you’ll likely find both herbs being used together for ceremonial purposes.

The sage is burned first to release and clear negative energy, while the Palo Santo is burned afterward in order to call in the positive.

The sage is burned first to release and clear negative energy, while the Palo Santo is burned afterward in order to call in the positive.

Opening windows is needed to allow for the letting go of negative energies while the sage is burning, otherwise, they will be trapped in the space (not to mention potentially damaging your walls, electronics, and health!). If you just want to keep your space cleansed and purify it on a daily basis, then palo santo would be best for keeping it clear and warding off any negative energy.


Up In Smoke

Resins, because of their potency, contain the great cleansing power because of the smoke generated to clear negative energy. The most popular and available resin incenses include:

Frankincense

One of the most popular incenses known to man, frankincense has been used as a spiritual cleanser for thousands of years, well before the three wise men gifted it to Jesus. Its sweet smell has been used since ancient times for religious ritual to provide protection, to enhance spiritual connection to the divine, and to cast out negative energies.

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Benzoin  

The resin of the Styrax tree, native to Sumatra Southeast Asia, benzoin has a strong sweet scent that will help to neutralize odors, and clear low vibrational emotions like sadness, anger, grief, as well as feelings of anxiety.

Burning benzoin incense will provide uplifting energy, open up your heart space to connect you with self-love, and has been used to drive away evil spirits.

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Dragon’s blood 

Extracted from the tropical dragon tree, the ruby red sap is turned into resin that gives off a sweet and soft smell, and contains a rejuvenating vibration.

Dragon’s blood incense has been used for centuries for healing after an illness, to restore the health of a home environment, and to call on the element of fire to burn through any energy that is no longer needed.

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Myrrh 

Myrrh has been used to activate purification and increase positive vibrations, and besides incense, it is also an ingredient included in medicines and perfumes. Its rich and slightly sweet aroma contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties, which contribute to its medicinal benefits.

And besides cleansing auras, burning myrrh will help to reduce stress and boost your energy levels.

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Copal

Predominantly used by the Mayans and Aztecs of central and South America (but also in Catholic incense!), copal’s lightly aromatic scent is claimed to release stagnant energy in the body.

It has also been widely used by meditators, as it is said to open up the crown chakra for connection to higher guidance and the divine. Removing blocked energy from the body is its greatest cleansing property.

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Amber

This resin is a solid crystalline fragrance created from ingredients that are sourced from the tropical climates of India and Africa. The ingredients include a combination of crushed benzoin, myrrh, honey, herbs, spices, and beeswax, which are then mixed, heated and cooled to form the crystalline resin.

Besides being burned as incense, amber resin can also be used as a solid perfume. Its sweet and earthy scent is reminiscent of a touch of vanilla, and has been used to clear and unblock the solar plexus to promote the boosting of self-confidence.

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DIY Herbal Incense

Of course, you can also make your own herbal incense bundle by gathering some of the above-mentioned herbs, and then using some natural cotton string to bind them all together. Hey, voila, you now have your own homemade herbal incense bundle.

You can even get more creative by adding other dried herbs, such as sprigs of rosemary or thyme, to add further benefits to your homemade herbal incense. Rosemary is great for purification of the air, and for instilling a sense of calm to your nervous system.

Thyme will apparently enhance your psychic powers and release curses when burned with this intention.

You can even get more creative by adding other dried herbs, such as sprigs of rosemary or thyme, to add further benefits to your homemade herbal incense.


Cleansing Incense Ritual

Create a quiet space away from all distractions, including your phone (although make sure you take a picture of your altar beforehand to share on Instagram). Light some candles and then prepare your incense ready for burning, whether you’re using resin, herbs, a cone, or stick.

Light the incense, and allow the smoke to waft over you and fill your sacred space. Use a feather or lightly fan the incense to help generate more smoke, if needed. Bring an intention to your mind on what it is that you are wanting to cleanse from your energy or protect yourself from.

Bring an intention to your mind on what it is that you are wanting to cleanse from your energy or protect yourself from.

Next, while focusing on your breathing, you can say to yourself or aloud, “I breathe in cleansing energy to fill my space. I breathe out and invite negative energy to release from me and my space.” White sage would be the best incense option to use for this situation, although burning palo santo will also do the trick.

If you’re not into creating your own incense, as mentioned above, this white sage smudging kit  contains three hand-tied 4in. bundles of white sage to help you create your ritual.

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The kit also includes an abalone shell in which to burn the incense in. In addition, it comes with a wooden tripod stand for holding the shell, along with a smudging feather. All this is contained in a beautifully presented package, which also makes it a great gift.


Final Words

Burning incense is an easy and satisfying way to clear negative energy from yourself and your home. And now that you know what incense is good for cleansing, you can get creative with your ceremonial rituals or simply relax in its delicate scent at the end of your day, while feeling safe and protected.