If you’re in a hurry and just want to know which incense would be the best for anxiety, then I would recommend,frankincense resin, as your best choice.
Scents have been known to trigger emotions and have an effect on mood. So when burning incense, for some people, the aroma does more than making the room smell nice.
Certain aromas can help improve a person’s psychological state, like those dealing with anxiety, by creating a sense of calm and relaxation. In this post, I will share the best incense I’ve found that can help with anxiety.
In this article, we’ll review 5 incense for anxiety:
My Top 5 Picks for the Best Incense for Anxiety
1. Highly Effective Option: Frankincense Resin (Pea Sized Balls)
|Quantity||16 oz / 1 lb|
|Length||Varied (pea-sized balls)|
|Burn time||Varies by amount used|
Resins are considered to be an indirect burning form of incense. They have to be burned differently, though. You can’t light them directly, you have to place them in a fireproof container or on a charcoal disk inside of an incense burner.
Pregnant or nursing women should not burn frankincense.
When choosing a charcoal disk, be wary of ones that are labeled “quick light” or “lights quickly” because those typically contain additives that you might not want to inhale.
Additional accessories are needed to burn resin, but I chose this particular frankincense by Plant Guru because it contains Boswellia papyrifera resin.
Stick and cone frankincense don’t indicate the tree species their resin was retrieved from, but Boswellia papyrifera resin has shown promise as being the type of frankincense that is most effective for anxiety. There are more details about this below.
- Possibly the most effective option
- You can alter the strength according to the amount you warm up
- All natural solution
- Really enjoyable fragrance
- Additional tools are needed to release the fragrance
2. Low Smoke Daily Use: Nippon Kodo Morning Star Sandalwood Incense Sticks
|Holder included?||Yes (ceramic)|
|Burn time||25 minutes|
This is Nippon Kodo’s best-selling incense that’s used daily. Made with all natural, high quality raw materials, it hardly produces smoke when it burns.
You won’t smell burnt wood, only the intended fragrance, but mellow. This is because these are traditional Japanese incense sticks – there’s no wooden core, only fragrance matter and a binder. Since the shape doesn’t taper, an incense holder is included.
Sandalwood’s earthy, sweet scent has been used since ancient times to aid in relaxation and anxiety reduction. In this medical study, women who underwent a breast biopsy and were exposed to a lavender-sandalwood aromatherapy tab reported lower anxiety levels than those who inhaled an orange-peppermint scent or were given a placebo scent tab.
It also has sedative effects. So if stress or anxiety cause you to lose sleep, burning incense closer to bedtime might lead to better quality sleep.
Ironically, sandalwood can cause others to experience a peaceful wake state. For them, it’s best not to light sandalwood incense at the end of the day, so it’s important to try different scents to determine how your body will react.
- Clean, natural burn
- Low smoke option
- Earthy but light scent
- Daily use option
- Some prefer stronger scents
- You have to test it to determine your body’s reaction
3. Best Delicate Fragrance: Shoyeido Lavender Sticks
|Holder included?||Yes (disposable)|
|Burn time||15 minutes|
This is actually a blend of lavender, sandalwood, and additional spices, but it’s completely natural.
Also a traditional Japanese incense, Shoyeido continues to make their incense by hand using high-quality ingredients and without a wooden core. Because of this, there is minimal smoke when burning.
In this research analysis of multiple scientific studies, inhaling lavender was found to significantly reduce anxiety levels in patients with anxiety who were in settings that caused them to feel anxious and those who participated in activities that caused anxiety for them.
- Clean, fresh herbal scent
- Chemical-free, all natural
- Low smoke release
- On the expensive side
4. Best Natural Variety Pack: Garden Fresh Aromatherapy Incense Sticks
|Quantity||120 sticks total (20 of each fragrance)|
|Fragrances||pine, white sage, cool water, rainforest, arruda, and rosemary|
|Holder included?||Yes (wooden)|
|Burn time||Approx. 30-45 minutes|
Pine and rosemary are two fragrances that reduce anxiety levels. But I selected this set because it includes woodland fragrances that can remind you of stepping into nature, feeling grounded and refreshed.
Spending time in nature has proven to replace feelings of angst and stress with more positive emotions. It can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, release muscle tension, and strengthen your immune system.
Pine and rosemary are also two fragrances often encountered during the holiday season. From Christmas trees to favorite holiday dishes, if positive memories are associated with holiday times, it’s possible that burning pine or rosemary incense can help you feel better.
In this Japanese study measuring the psychological effects of forest bathing, the more stress a person had, the more their mental state improved after forest bathing. Depression and hostility levels decreased and participants felt more alive. This is why many people feel an immediate sense of joy and optimism when they smell pine or rosemary.
While there’s no direct substitute for the near-immediate effects of stepping into wide, open spaces and breathing in natural air, inhaling nature-themed incense can act as a bridge for you until you’re able to step outside.
Garden Fresh uses all natural ethically sourced ingredients to make these traditional Indian incense sticks mostly by hand.
- Natural positive effects
- Large quantity for long-term use
- Fragrance family works well together
- Boxed for gift giving
- Wooden core makes them smokier
- Not for those who dislike natural forest smells
5. Best Floral Scent: Gonesh Rose Incense Sticks
|Quantity||240 sticks (20 in each pack)|
|Wooden core||Yes (charcoal)|
|Burn time||45 minutes|
Gonesh incense has a charcoal base, which lends to a clean burn. Their soothing rose incense smells like a backyard garden. It will leave you feeling calm and uplifted.
In this 2014 research study of Iranian women going through their first live birth rose oil aromatherapy was found to significantly reduce their anxiety in comparison to a control group that received general medical care without aromatherapy.
And in this 2009 study, exposure to rose fragrance slowed breathing, blood oxygen balance, decreased blood pressure, and calmed the nervous system. Overall, participants who received rose aromatherapy felt more relaxed by this pleasant scent.
- Delicate floral fragrance
- Clean burn, not smoky
- Huge value for the price
- Not for those who dislike floral scents
The Use of Incense for Anxiety
Anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults in the United States, making it the most frequently diagnosed mental health condition. It’s estimated that over 264 millions adults worldwide suffer from anxiety.
While we’ve all experienced some level of anxiety in day to day life and healthy levels of anxiety are actually beneficial to us, there are times when anxiety can interfere with daily functioning.
Anxiety, stress and depression are sometimes used interchangeably. And while there can be some overlap in diagnosis, all of these mental states have their own set of symptoms and behaviors.
- Stress – when people are stressed, they feel overwhelmed and it can be difficult to cope as they normally would
- Anxiety – when stress is amplified by intense worry, uneasiness, and deep concern about outcomes, that could be an indication of an anxiety disorder.
- Depression – generally, those with depression experience a deep sense of hopelessness.
Reducing stress can largely be done alone. But there are different types of anxiety disorders and forms of depression and that’s something that a person could definitely talk over with their healthcare provider.
It’s important to say that anxiety is different for everyone and sometimes it can coexist with symptoms of depression as well, so burning incense may not be effective for everyone
How Does Incense Help With Anxiety?
But those with anxiety who do benefit from burning incense find that it helps them feel more calm and relaxed.
Low levels of the hormone serotonin in a person’s body is one of the causes of anxiety. During these times a person might feel on edge and less focused.
Incense aroma, especially rose scent, increases serotonin levels.
Also, when the mind feels calmer from inhaling enjoyable scents, a person might notice a release of body tension as well.
How To Choose The Best Incense For Anxiety
The aromas mentioned above might have similar calming effects, but each fragrance is at least somewhat different.
So I would start there. If you dislike floral scents, then choose a woody or earthy one instead, and vice versa.
Next, you want to consider the effect a particular scent has on your body. Sometimes if there’s a bad memory connected to a scent, it won’t calm you, and it might cause you to feel more anxious.
It might help to strike any scent from the list that’s connected to a bad memory or negative emotion.
Lastly, if you have a chronic medical condition or are pregnant, you may want to speak with a physician before making your final decision about which scent to use.
What Are The Benefits Of Ethiopian Frankincense?
I wanted to highlight this frankincense. It is a little different because its resin was extracted from trunks of the boswellia tree found in Ethiopia. Incensole acetate, an organic compound found in some tree resins, has been found to activate pathways in the brain that are responsible for calming anxiety-related behaviors in mice.
Significant amounts of this compound are found in the tree species, Boswellia papyrifera. Studies have yet to be conducted on humans for this particular tree species but the findings were promising.
Among other things, it’s shown to have anti-depressive, mind altering, and anti-inflammatory effects when used as part of Ayurvedic treatment. Another study narrowed down a process for identifying this compound in other species of the boswellia tree.
You may be wondering how this could possibly help with anxiety? It’s suggested that as the incense burns, your body absorbs incensole and incensole acetate from the smoke. That’s how it enters into your body and begins to have healing effects, helping anxiety and depression symptoms to subside.
Largely considered safe, the sap from this tree species has been used in healing practices for centuries.
Precautions For Using Incense To Treat Anxiety
There are many different treatments for anxiety, so for your safety, it’s best that you contact a professional to help determine what might work best for you. If incense is part of that, then I hope that some of the suggested items above work out for you. Still, keep these points in mind:
- Incense may not affect everyone the same
- This is not a medical cure or prescription medication replacement
- Nor can this replace talk therapy if you’re seeing a therapist
- Choose lighter scents to avoid getting a headache from smoky incense brands
- If you have certain medical conditions or are pregnant or nursing, always consult with your physician before using any kind of aromatherapy.
If you choose to go the self-treatment route, in addition to burning incense, you may want to consider engaging in some form of exercise, getting good sleep, and eating well, in order to help manage your symptoms.
Choose What Works Best for You
When selecting the best incense for your anxiety, there is a little more to consider than “which smell might I like best.” You have to also consider any emotions attached to a particular fragrance and also how a scent might affect any health conditions you might have.
Remember, if you’re really struggling with anxiety, seek out professional help.
But if it’s something that you feel that you can manage, then you might want to start with the frankincense resin because it’s considered one of the most effective scents that reduce anxiety. My second choice would be Garden Fresh Aromatherapy incense sticks because natural scents like these almost immediately improve mood.
Similar to medication, though, you may have to try different ones until you find the scent that is most effective for you personally.