Is Burning Incense Bad for Your Health? Components Research Considerations EPA recommendations Alternatives Bottom line Why do people burn incense? Incense is a smoke-emitting substance. It’s made of natural materials that can be burned to create a fragrant, aromatic smoke. Different kinds of incense have different scents and materials. Some examples are cedar or rose. Some are made with resins, while others are made with powders. Incense is used to freshen up the scent of indoor areas, for spiritual purposes, for health, and more. Like anything else that emits smoke, incense smoke will be inhaled when using it. Recently, there have been some inquiries into how incense negatively affects health. Let’s take a closer look. What is incense made of? Incense is usually made of mostly natural materials. The first incenses created were made from aromatic materials such as sage, resins, oils, wood, and others. Over time, more materials have been added to incense to enhance their fragrance, ability to combust, and to hold incense blend materials together. You’ll need a flame source to use most types of incense, such as a lighter or matches. The end of the incense — which can be cone, stick, round, or other — is lit with flame to burn and emit smoke. The smoke released is designed to have a sweet, pleasant smell. It can also contain particulate matter that’s easily inhaled, which means it can have possible health impacts.