Have you heard of smudging? It is becoming more popular as of late but Native Americans and indigenous people have burned sage for centuries as a part of a spiritual ritual to cleanse a person or space of negative energy, and to promote healing and wisdom. It has been used since Roman times to treat digestive issues, memory problems, and sore throats. The name sage comes from the Latin word “salvia”. It means “to feel healthy”.
The practice of “smudging” has become more popular in other cultures as well. Recently at the makeshift memorial of Nipsey Hustle, a young lady burned sage to rid the area of any negative energy.
It is said that sage “metaphysically un-clings the things that cling to us that are no longer needed–spiritually, mentally, and physically…almost the way a sponge does.” The medical benefits have not officially been well- studied.
Sage comes in different varieties. Most healers and herbalist use white sage. The white sage is used for purifying and protection. There are others like lavender sage, black sage, common sage, and blue sage, which is used for cleansing and healing. They all have their own unique qualities.
You can harvest sage yourself or buy it in bundles at a health food store, farmer’s market, or on the internet of course. Just make sure whether you grow it or purchase it, it was harvested sustainably and responsibly.
How do you burn sage?
You light the end of the bundle and let the smoke waft into the air. If you are cleansing a room, you walk around the space with it. You can also just place it in a shell to catch ashes as it burns and just let it sit in the room.
Sage is a flavonoid–plant compound that has medicinal properties; lavender is in the same family. Some of these compounds appear to improve brain health and guard against diseases like Alzheimer’s. In some studies, sage helped against depression and anxiety, digestive problems and soothing upset stomachs. It is calming to the gut and mind in the same way that lavender is.
Be careful burning the sage because although there are no studies on the risk, it is just like burning incense and that has shown to give some people allergies or lung issues with prolonged burning. Burning for a short period of time should not cause any issues but if you have asthma or lung issues, I would consult a physician and get their opinion.
If you are worried about burning the sage, you can always try essential oils as an alternative.
Have you tried smudging before? Do you do it as a regular practice? I would love to hear about your experience and how you feel about the practice.