Sage Vs Incense: What Is The Difference?

The use of incense and sage have both been around for centuries as traditional methods of spiritual cleansing, but many people today are unsure what the difference is between the two.

Sage Vs Incense: What Is The Difference?

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between sage and incense to help you decide which one is best suited for your spiritual needs.

What Exactly Is Sage?

Sage, in general, has many known benefits; certain types of sage even have antimicrobial properties, making it a powerful tool for cleansing.

Many believe that the smoke released when burning sage helps to ward off negative energies and clear lingering energy from previous occupants in a space, while also helping to ground one’s energy and presence.

What Is Incense?

Originally, incense was burned to ward off malicious spirits, but nowadays, it is also used in aromatherapy to improve an individual’s mental state, or simply as a pleasant way of scenting the air in a room.

Incense comprises botanical materials such as bark, wood, seeds, fruit leaves, and flowers that are either condensed into manageable forms like sticks or cones or kept whole in the form of resins and herb bundles.

What Is The Main Difference Between Sage And Incense?

Sage has been used for centuries as a way to cleanse a space of negative energies and to promote spiritual healing. It is burned as a smudge stick or bundle, and its smoke is said to help purify and protect the environment from negative influences.

The scent of sage can also be calming, allowing people to relax and meditate in a peaceful state. Incense, on the other hand, has been used for centuries as a way to create fragrant aromas in the home or during religious ceremonies.

It is typically composed of natural ingredients such as resins, gums, herbs, and spices that are burned to give off pleasant smells. Incense is often associated with relaxation and spiritual contemplation, although it can also be used to create an atmosphere of celebration or reverence.

Ultimately, the choice between sage and incense is a personal one. Sage is great for purifying and cleansing a space, while incense can help create a pleasant atmosphere. Depending on your needs, either one may be the right choice for you.

Why Would Someone Choose Sage Over Incense?

Purifying Properties

The burning of sage has been practiced for centuries as a way to purify or cleanse an area. Burning different types of sage can have a variety of antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

This purifying ability makes burning sage ideal for cleansing sacred spaces before meditation or prayer, as well as clearing negative energy from a home, office, or another environment.

It Helps To Rid Negative Energies

Many people believe that burning sage can help to dispel negative energy. Sage has long been used in ritualistic practices to purify the air and surrounding environment.

This is thought to help clear out any dark or negative energies or feelings, whether from past traumas, bad experiences, or the influence of those around us. Through this ritual, you can create a sanctuary for yourself filled only with positive vibes and good intentions.

It May Boost Cognition

Burning sage has long been used for its spiritual benefits and to clear negative energy from a space, it may also be useful for improving mental clarity and focus. Other mentally stimulating properties of burning sage include improved cognition, memory recall, and focus.

Why Would Someone Choose Incense Over Sage?

It Promotes Relaxation

Relaxation is an important part of everyday life, and it shouldn’t be forgotten. Incense has been used for centuries as a way to help with relaxation. It offers not only a calming scent but also mental and emotional balance.

Creates An Intense And Healing Atmosphere

The atmosphere of any event or evening is an important factor in making it a success. Creating the right setting creates a special ambiance and helps to ensure that all guests have a memorable time.

One way to add some drama and create an unforgettable atmosphere is by using incense sticks. These deep, exotic smells can help to set the mood for the entire evening and make it even more enjoyable.

Guides Through Meditation

When it comes to meditation, one of the most important aspects is being able to focus fully on the task at hand. Incense can help with this because of the burning scent that serves as an additional element to heighten your senses.

It can open up a pathway for more heightened attention and awareness, allowing you to engage in the ritual with a clear and positive attitude.

The Differences Between Sage And Incense: Aromas And Types

Sage Vs Incense: What Is The Difference?



White sage is an often overlooked, yet powerful herb that can be used in a variety of ways. For starters, it’s used in many cookbook recipes for its great flavor.


The wonderful aromatic scent of bergamot sage is a favorite among those who prefer all-natural products.

Whether it’s used in candles, shampoos, or other beauty and body products, this sweet fragrance helps to diminish anxiety and stress while promoting a sense of relaxation.

Bergamot sage also contains minerals and vitamins beneficial for skin health, making it a beneficial ingredient when it comes to maintaining clear skin. For physical therapy purposes, the calming properties can help relax muscles and reduce tension.


Clary sage is a sweet-smelling herb widely used in aromatherapy and natural medicine. It has been traditionally used to reduce stress and anxiety and provide a calming scent that helps people unwind. It has an earthy aroma, which is usually accompanied by musky undertones.



Stick incense is the most popular shape of incense today, offering a range of fragrances and sizes. Whether you need to scent a large room or are looking for religious use, there’s an incense stick out there to fit your needs.

Burning times can vary depending on the length of the stick; longer sticks will provide more burn time than shorter ones. For those that want more control over their burning time, it is possible to cut down to longer sticks, lowering the amount of time you’ll enjoy their aroma.


Incense cones are a unique type of incense that provide substantial amounts of scent in a short time. In contrast, to stick incense, the fragrance from cone incense is much more powerful, and grows stronger as the lit portion descends into the wider part of the cone.

To use cone incense, users simply light the top point of the cone and let it burn down until all of it is consumed. This type of incense can be used to quickly scent any room with its strong, appealing aroma.


Coil incense is a type of incense that has been used in ceremonies, offerings, and purification rituals throughout history. It is characterized by its long burning time compared to other forms of incense and its ability to scent larger areas than standard sticks or cones.

Coil incense works best for spaces with large openings or multiple doorways where smoke quickly dissipates, such as hotel lobbies, meditation halls, and chapel vestibules.

Final Thoughts

Sage and incense are two distinct forms of herbal preparation with unique qualities and uses. White sage, bergamot sage, and clary sage are all types of herbal sages that bring their own health benefits to the table.

Stick incense, cone incense, and coil incense are three different shapes of incense that vary in burning time and intensity.

Andrea Daehma