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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Wilhelm

Sage Smudge Sticks

What Is Smudging?

Burning various herbs in the form of incense, candles, and of course smudging has a long tradition in various cultures and religions. People have been using herbs for ritualistic purposes for millennia. In this article, however, we will focus solely on smudging.

Smudging is an ancient Native American practice of burning sacred herbs and wood. The most prominent and widely used is sage, but cedar, myrrh, frankincense, juniper, and lavender can also be used. The herbs can be burned either in bowls, shells or bound together and used as smudge sticks.

The history of smudging is long, complex, and intertwined with Native American shamanic rituals and culture.

And while it's mainly a spiritual practice, it is also gaining more and more popularity in certain mainstream communities and becoming more accessible to anyone that wants to try it.

What Does It Do?

It is believed to cleanse, either the person burning the herbs or their environment, for example when moving into a new home. Some cultures use smoke to remove any present negative energy. Even if you are a natural skeptic and don't believe in spirits, negative energy, and so on; concrete evidence has shown that aromatic herbs can be incredibly beneficial for one's mental health and wellbeing.

The active compounds of different herbs can also have antimicrobial, antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Researches have observed that a one-hour treatment of medicinal smoke that is a mixture of burning herbs and wood, caused a 94% reduction of bacteria. This ability of the therapeutic smoke to purify and disinfect the air persisted for up to 24 hours after the treatment. For certain strains of bacteria, the effects latest even longer, up to a month.

What Are Smudge Sticks

Smudge sticks are simply small bundles of aforementioned herbs bound together with a string. You can either make them yourself or buy premade smudging sets. All you need to do is use a match or a lighter, ignite your herbal bundle and wave it around until the fire dies and the smoke is steadily rising from the stick. Place your stick in a bowl or on a plate that will catch any rogue burning particles.

Why Sage?

Sage is one of the best medicinal plants. Sage in one form or another, has been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of numerous illnesses, diseases, and ailments. It has strong antioxidant properties, it can have beneficial effects when it comes to memory, the sage extract has been proven to improve important markers in people with diabetes, it can improve your cholesterol profile, help with obesity, and hot flashes. It is anti-diarrheal. And last but not least, it has the potential to prevent certain types of cancer.

A quick note on white sage; While it is not endangered yet, it's populations are largely decreased due to illegal over-harvesting. Make sure your white sage is legally sourced and processed.

Warning: If you have any respiratory issues make sure to consult your doctor before you try smudging.


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