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Incense and Its 16 Types: Burn It & Use It for Magic

Find out all about these smoke sticks

Incense and Its 16 Types: Burn It & Use It for Magic

Aromatic herbs have always fascinated mankind from the beginning of time. You probably know the story of the Three Wise Men, who gave baby Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh, because they were closely linked to magic and supernatural powers.

For millenniums, in all continents, people have burned incense to honor their gods, increase their awareness and self-heal. We can see it in Christianity in these ways, but it was also used by Asian or American shamans, African mages, or Egyptian priests.

In the following article, we'll be telling you about what incense is, what it's made of, how to use it (in an incense burner, cones, sticks...) and other interesting fun facts about it.


What incense is, and its mother plant

The word incense comes from Latin, and it refers to woods and plants that give out a smell when burned. However, when we talk about incense, we're actually talking about the resin in certain trees that grow in Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Somalia. That's why there is the concept of incense oil sometimes.

These trees come from the bursaries family, and grow in dry, arid, rocky limestone grounds. They need full sunlight, a good flow of air around, and outside their environment, they could grow in certain botanical gardens and very limited areas like Arizona, in the USA.

The incense tree is considered one of the magic plants, and when grown it is between 16 and 26 feet tall, very irregular, with thick branches, and often tilted. Its bark is similar to paper and produces small white flowers every now and then. Natural incense is made with its resin, which is obtained through a shallow cut on the trunk of the tree.

As we've said, natural incense has always been linked to magic and esotericism, because it brings serenity and inner peace,  which could be considered the foundation elements of wellness.

For a few years, because of over-exploitation (it isn't only used for its resin but also for some medications), the incense tree is in danger, and if its growing isn't watched closely, it could be gone in just a little over 50 years.

How to burn incense. Sticks, cones and incense burners

When natural incense is consumed, the smell molecules, right under the incandescent spot, shake up with heat and diffuse without being burnt. When they reach our nasal cavity, they send a sign that the smell nerve will send right up to the part of our brain that activates emotions. That's why it influences our feelings and mood.

Currently, aside from incense resin, we can also find this element through what are considered magic plants (herbs, flowers or dry berries that burn through charcoal or which can be found in sticks or cones) and wood incense (made from splinters or bark, which is burned through charcoal as well, in sticks or cones).

How to burn incense with a stick

To burn natural incense in a stick, you'll need a stand with a small hole where you can lean the stick. Light up the tip, and as soon as the incense stick has started burning, blow on the flame and let the smell relax you.

How to burn incense in cones

If you choose cone-shaped incense, you just have to place it on a fireproof surface (an ashtray, for example) and light up the tip.

How to burn incense in grains

To do this, you'll need to place it in an incense burner, and put a piece of hot charcoal so that you can enjoy its smell.

How to make incense

However, it is recommended to only use good-quality incense; nowadays there's many cheap incense sticks that only have synthetic fragrances, and unfortunately, all the incense that they have is on the name. Some could even produce a smoke that gives us allergic reactions or skin rashes.

Try to keep it natural with good-quality wood or resin; the box will generally say 100% Natural or something of the sort.

To make your own, you'll need resin (frankincense, myrrh) and wood dust or magic plants (cinnamon, sandalwood, or lignum vitae -palo santo-) as well as some water. Making it takes a lot of practice, and if you're very interested, you're better off signing up on a course where you're taught how to make it. 

16 types of incense used in witchcraft rituals and spells

We will now talk about magic plant-based incense, and how to use it in spells and rituals, because each type has its own virtues.


This type of natural incense sends away foul vibrations when burnt, it protects you from the evil eye and envy, and brings peace.

Nag champa

It is good for meditation and relaxation, and it allows you to reach the Supreme Source.


It is said that it is connected to the Moon, love and bliss. It awakens your senses, it's an aphrodisiac, brings protection and luck, and attracts kind spirits.

Lignum vitae (palo santo)

It balances out energy, attracting the good and sending out the bad. It helps in contemplation and meditation.


Its smoke brings happiness and prosperity to the home. It develops our creativity, as well as our spirituality, and healing and psychic powers.


It brings protection, luck and prosperity. Burning off its stick gives us self-confidence and promotes self-healing. It is used as a barrier against negative waves.


It brings purification and guarantees chastity. It increases fertility and brings an overall sense of happiness.


It increases spirituality, brings peace and love, ensures healing and helps success and luck break into our life.


It is soft and brings peace and calm, so it's good for meditation. It develops premonition, visions and prophetic dreams.


It gets rid of negative vibrations, promotes relaxation and melts anxiety away. It develops clairvoyance.


Its smoke makes aurae gleam and brings harmony.


It promotes purification, increases and strengthens friendships, and calls for longevity.


It brings healing and attracts strength.


Its smoke is linked to Venus. It attracts prosperity and harmony, love and friendship. It promotes telepathy.


    Also linked to Venus, burning a stick of it brings protection and love, passion, peace, luck, and it makes wishes come true.


    The smoke of its stick brings money and prosperity, and also increases wisdom.