Does Incense Really Clean Air? Benefits and Risks

Does Incense Really Clean Air? Benefits and Risks

Have you ever walked into a room and immediately felt relaxed by the aroma of burning incense made from natural plants?

For centuries, people have used incense for various purposes, from religious ceremonies to simply creating a pleasant atmosphere. One question that often arises is whether incense can actually clean the air by reducing smoking pollutants and wood dust.

While some claim that incense can purify the environment by eliminating harmful bacteria and pollutants, others argue that it can actually worsen indoor air quality by releasing harmful chemicals.

This controversy has sparked debates among environmentalists and health experts alike. However, many people still enjoy burning incense for its pleasant aroma and believe that it is a natural plant-based alternative to smoking.

We’ll examine both sides of the argument and provide some insights into what science has to say about this topic.

So let’s cut to the chase and find out if burning incense, besides its pleasant aroma, really does improve our indoor air quality and human health or if it contributes to pollution and negative health effects.

Types of Incense Sticks

If you’re a fan of incense sticks, you might be wondering whether they clean the air from pollution. While some people believe that incense can purify and freshen up the air, others are skeptical about its effectiveness in reducing health effects caused by wood dust and gas products.

Natural vs Synthetic Incense Sticks

Before we dive into specific types of incense sticks, it’s essential to understand the difference between natural and synthetic variants.

Natural incense sticks are made from plant-based materials such as herbs, spices, flowers, and resins, which contain organic compounds.

On the other hand, synthetic incense sticks are made from artificial fragrances and chemicals that may contain gas products. Incense sticks made from wood have been used for centuries as air cleaners in many cultures.

There are pros and cons to both options.

Natural incenses are generally considered safer than synthetic ones as they don’t contain harmful chemicals that could cause respiratory problems or trigger allergies. However, natural variants tend to burn out faster than synthetic ones due to their lack of chemical binders.

When it comes to indoor air pollution, using natural incense can be a great way to keep the air clean without the use of air cleaners. Synthetic incense can release air pollutants into the air, which can be harmful to those with respiratory issues.

Synthetic incenses may last longer than natural ones due to their chemical composition, which includes organic compounds. They also come in a wide range of scents that aren’t found in nature.

However, they can emit harmful air pollutants when burned and may not have the same therapeutic benefits as natural variants. It’s important to note that natural incenses can act as air cleaners, reducing air pollution in your home, unlike synthetic ones.

Popular Types of Natural Incense Sticks


Sandalwood incense

Sandalwood is one of the most popular types of natural incenses due to its calming properties and woody aroma.

It is also known to reduce air pollution by eliminating harmful particles in the air. In addition, burning sandalwood incense has positive effects on the mind and body, making it a popular choice for use in temples.


It can be enjoyed through various methods such as burning hem incense sticks, nag champa incense, or stick incense to create a calming atmosphere.

Lavender is another popular choice for those looking for a relaxing scent that promotes sleep and reduces anxiety.

Incense burning is a great way to incorporate lavender into your daily routine.


has been traditionally used in temple rituals for centuries due to its grounding properties and earthy fragrance


Sage, along with nag champa incense, is commonly used in Native American and Hindu traditions for incense burning rituals to purify negative energy. The stick incense is often burned in a temple for cleansing purposes.

Palo Santo

Palo Santo

Palo Santo is a type of wood that has been used in South American cultures for centuries due to its cleansing properties and sweet, woody scent.

It is often used for incense burning and can be found in various forms such as incense cones.

Unlike other incense smoke pollutants that can harm the lungs, Palo Santo is believed to have a positive effect on respiratory health.

Popular Types of Synthetic Incense Sticks

  1. Charcoal-based: Charcoal-based incenses are popular due to their long-lasting burn time and strong fragrance. However, there is a potential risk of air pollution from burning charcoal. In Taiwan, where air quality is a major concern, it is important to consider the impact of using charcoal-based incenses.
  2. Resin-based: Resin-based incenses are made from plant resins and can have a similar aroma to natural incenses without the same price tag. However, there is a risk of allergic reactions for some individuals.
  3. Nag Champa: Nag Champa is a popular synthetic incense that originated in India and has a distinctive floral scent with hints of sandalwood. Unfortunately, there are no relevant keywords related to Taiwan that can be added to this text without altering its original meaning.
  4. Bamboo stick: Taiwan bamboo stick incenses are often used as a base for synthetic fragrances due to their neutral scent and durability.

Benefits of Burning Incense for Air Purification

How Incense Smoke Can Purify the Air

Burning incense has been a practice in many cultures for centuries, but did you know that it can also help purify the air? The smoke produced by burning incense can help to remove pollutants and other harmful particles from the air.

This is because certain types of incense contain natural compounds that have antimicrobial properties.

One study found that burning frankincense resin, a type of incense commonly used in religious ceremonies, can reduce airborne bacteria by up to 68%. Another study found that sandalwood incense had similar effects, reducing airborne bacteria by up to 94%.

These findings suggest that burning certain types of incense could be an effective way to improve indoor air quality.

Antibacterial Properties of Certain Types of Incense

In addition to its ability to purify the air, some types of incense also have antibacterial properties. For example, cinnamon and clove are both known for their antimicrobial effects and are often used in natural cleaning products.

When these spices are burned as incense, they release compounds into the air that can help kill off harmful bacteria and viruses.

Other types of incense with antibacterial properties include:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage

These herbs, commonly used in traditional medicine practices for centuries, have been found to possess potent antimicrobial properties. When burned as incense, they release essential oils into the air which can help eliminate airborne pathogens.

These natural remedies have gained popularity in Taiwan due to their effectiveness in boosting immunity and fighting off infections.

Aromatherapy Benefits Associated with Burning Certain Types of Incense

Finally, burning certain types of incense can also provide aromatherapy benefits. Aromatherapy is the use of scents to promote physical and emotional well-being. When you burn incense, the scent fills the room and can have a calming or invigorating effect depending on the type of incense used.

For example, lavender incense is often used to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Sandalwood incense has a grounding effect and can help to promote feelings of inner peace.

Patchouli incense is known for its uplifting properties and is often used to combat depression and anxiety.

How to Choose Incense for Air Purification

Incense has been used for centuries in religious and spiritual practices, but did you know it can also help clean the air in your home?

Burning incense can release negative ions that attach to positively charged particles, such as dust and allergens, causing them to fall out of the air. However, not all incense is created equal. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an incense stick for air purification.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Incense Stick for Air Purification


One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an incense stick is its ingredients. Natural incenses made from herbs and resins like sage, frankincense, and myrrh are great options because they don’t contain harmful chemicals or synthetic fragrances.

On the other hand, some synthetic incenses may contain harmful chemicals that can be released into the air when burned.


While natural incenses typically have a more subtle scent than synthetic ones, it’s still important to choose a scent that you enjoy since you’ll be burning it in your home. Some scents like lavender and eucalyptus have calming properties that can help reduce stress and anxiety.


When burning incense for air purification, it’s important to choose a type of incense that produces minimal smoke. High levels of smoke can actually worsen indoor air quality by releasing harmful particulate matter into the air.

Recommended Brands for Natural and Synthetic Options

Natural Incenses

  • Shoyeido: This Japanese brand offers high-quality natural incenses made from traditional ingredients like sandalwood and cinnamon.
  • Fred Soll’s: This American brand specializes in natural resin-based incenses with unique scents like piñon pine and juniper berry.
  • Pure Incense: This UK-based brand offers a variety of natural incenses made from high-quality ingredients like frankincense and myrrh.

Synthetic Incenses

  • Gonesh: This American brand offers a wide variety of synthetic incense sticks in unique scents like dragon’s blood and patchouli.
  • HEM: This Indian brand is known for its affordable and widely available synthetic incense sticks in classic scents like jasmine and rose.
  • Wild Berry: This American brand offers a range of synthetic incense sticks with fun names like “Fairy Dreams” and “Mystical Fire.”

Where to Purchase High-Quality Incenses

There are several options to consider:

Specialty Stores

Specialty stores that sell items like crystals, candles, and other spiritual supplies often carry a selection of high-quality natural incenses. These stores may also have knowledgeable staff who can help you choose the right type of incense for your needs.

Online Retailers

Online retailers like Amazon and Etsy offer a wide variety of natural and synthetic incenses from brands all over the world.

The Verdict on Incense for Air Purification

After reviewing the information provided, it can be concluded that burning incense can have both benefits and health risks associated with it. While certain types of incense can help purify the air by releasing negative ions and natural fragrances, there are also potential health hazards such as allergies and exposure to harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene.

To choose the right incense for air purification, it is important to consider factors such as the ingredients used, the manufacturing process, and any potential health concerns. It is recommended to opt for natural, organic incense sticks made from plant-based ingredients.

In order to minimize health risks associated with incense smoke, it is important to burn them in a well-ventilated area and avoid inhaling too much smoke. People with respiratory issues or allergies should consult with their healthcare provider before using incense.

Overall, while burning incense can provide some benefits for air purification, it is important to weigh these against potential health risks before making a decision. If you do decide to use incense for air purification purposes, make sure to choose a high-quality product and use it safely.


1. Is burning incense safe?

Burning incense can release harmful chemicals into the air which may lead to respiratory problems or other health issues if not used properly. It’s important to burn them in a well-ventilated area and avoid inhaling too much smoke.

2. What are some benefits of burning incense?

Certain types of incenses release negative ions that help purify the air by neutralizing pollutants such as dust particles or allergens. They can create a calming atmosphere that helps reduce stress levels.

3. Can I burn any type of incense for air purification purposes?

No, not all types of incenses are suitable for air purification purposes. It’s important to choose natural, organic incense sticks made from plant-based ingredients to minimize health risks.

4. Can burning incense cause allergies?

Yes, inhaling incense smoke can lead to allergic reactions in some people. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before using incense if you have respiratory issues or allergies.

5. How do I choose the right incense for air purification?

When choosing an incense for air purification purposes, it’s important to consider factors such as the ingredients used, the manufacturing process, and any potential health concerns. Opting for natural, organic products is recommended.

6. How long should I burn incense for air purification purposes?

It’s recommended to burn incense for no longer than 30 minutes at a time in a well-ventilated area.

7. What are some potential health risks associated with burning incense?

Exposure to harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene found in some types of incenses can lead to respiratory problems or other health issues over time if not used properly.