Understanding the Charm: Different Types of Resin Incense

Understanding the Charm Different Types of Resin Incense

Resin incense has a rich history of being used for purification, religious purposes and heightening spiritual awareness. These natural resins release their aroma and energy when burned over a piece of charcoal.

Fill your coal furnace with sand, place your charcoal on top and using tongs, set a piece of resin onto the coal. The resin will slowly melt and emit fragrant smoke.


Resin incense is made from small beads of hardened tree resins like Boswellia Papyrifera or Commiphora Myrrha, which are mixed with other fragrant substances to create a blend that smokes when heated. These are some of the oldest smoke-producing aromatics and have been used for centuries in sacred rituals. They have a deeper connection to the earth and help us find grounding and rejuvenation.

The most famous of these is Frankincense Carterii, which has been shown in studies to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, while alleviating joint, muscle and gastrointestinal issues. Its sweet, dense scent is associated with hope, prosperity and joy.

Unlike stick incense, resins require multiple steps to prepare and burn them. They are often used with a heat-resistant bowl or ethnic censer and a charcoal disk to ignite them. The scented smoke releases the therapeutic properties of the plant resins. These burners are a treat for the senses and add a level of ceremony to your spiritual practice!


Commiphora myrrha is known for its antiseptic and fungicidal properties, and it facilitates healing of skin ulcers. It also helps to stimulate and balance menstrual flow and treat uterine fibroids. It is used as an incense ingredient and is also helpful for bad breath, gum disease, ear infections and other mouth issues.

Historically, myrrh has been used for problems of the stomach and intestines, including diarrhea, constipation, gas, abdominal pain, inflammation and parasites. It is also beneficial for bronchial congestion, colds and cough. It is a natural expectorant and works well with simple bitter herbs such as gentian.

Possible side effects of myrrh essential oil and resin include allergic contact dermatitis, low blood pressure and heart irregularities. It is recommended to consult a medical professional before using myrrh.

Palo Santo

The fragrant wood from a tree called Bursera graveolens—aka Palo Santo, meaning holy wood in Spanish—has been used by indigenous Latin American cultures for centuries. A cousin of frankincense and myrrh, its sweet notes of pine, mint, and lemon are calming, grounding, and energizing.

Similarly to smudging with sage, burning Palo Santo is a practice rooted in spiritual tradition that can cleanse your space and attract positive energy. Like limonene, the uplifting scent of the tree is believed to relieve stress and tension, so smudging around your workspace could help you think more clearly and promote concentration.

For best results, Troupe suggests choosing a company that sources the resin ethically by working with farmers who plant trees when they harvest. Check out Sacred Wood Essence, which sells sustainably sourced sticks and is committed to reforestation in Ecuador.


As a natural air purifier, copal clears and freshens spaces and objects. It unites the energising force of the sun with the grounding properties of the earth, drawing out and transmuting negative energies on every level. It is used as an energetic shield and to encourage physical self-healing, especially of the respiratory and musculoskeletal systems.

A member of the Burseraceae tree family, Copal is native to Mexico and Central America. Its smoke is revered in ancient texts such as the Popol Vuh and it has been a staple at Mexican Day of the Dead altars since pre-Hispanic times.

Like all resin incense, you can use it to cleanse and energize your space with its aromatic smoke. It is burned over charcoal discs to release the scent. Burning it correctly, the resin will emit a long lasting fragrance for an extended amount of time. It is the perfect accompaniment to meditation, yoga and mindfulness practices. It helps revive drooping spiritual strength, encouraging us to view life with a new perspective.