10 Benefits of Burning Sage, How to Smudge, and More

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: April 20, 2022

10 Benefits of Burning Sage, How to Smudge, and More

Are you interested in burning sage to enhance the air quality in your house, improve your health, or alleviate depression or anxiety? In traditional medicine, sage (Salvia) is utilised as a spice and a way to promote health. Smudging, or the burning of sage, is an ancient spiritual practice. Smudging is a common Native American cultural or tribal practice; however, it is not practised by all tribes.

Its use is due to the traditions of numerous Native American people. Among them are the Lakota, Cahuilla and Chumash people. Sage has been used in Egyptian, Roman, Greek medicine and Native American healing practices for thousands of years. Dry sage is burned to heal, protect, increase wisdom, and strengthen disease defences.

Common sage, Spanish sage, white sage, and Chinese sage are some of the most well-known sage species. The botanical name for common sage is Salvia officinalis. Similar ceremonies can be seen in many other civilisations around the world.

Benefits of Sage Supplements

Dried sage leaves can be used as a spice in cuisine. Sage is also available as a liquid, spray, lozenge, pill, or tablet for internal use. Sage's phenolic components may act as antioxidants, reducing free radicals. Two chemicals in sage, rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid, are notably connected with antioxidant action. Sage is considered to have a plethora of benefits when used internally.

While some study data supports these benefits, it is still preliminary; additional research is required. Pain relief for headaches and sore throats. Some benefits of sage supplements are:

  • Reducing the body's oxidative stress.
  • Defending against the effects of free radicals.
  • Inflammation is being reduced.
  • Infections caused by bacteria and viruses are prevented.
  • Helping with digestion.
  • Protecting against memory deterioration.
  • Improving mood or reducing depression.

Sage for Mental Health

Overall, there hasn't been enough research on the usage of sage for its alleged mental health advantages. However, preliminary evidence suggests that sage for mood and memory may be beneficial.

According to a 2005 study, standard sage oil boosted memory and cognition (thinking ability). Increased dosages were also connected to a better mood and attentiveness, tranquillity, and happiness sensations. According to other studies, sage's active chemicals may protect against neurological illnesses like Alzheimer's.

Benefits of Burning Sage

Smudging, or burning sage, is burning sage leaves and allowing the smoke to purify the air in your home. Burning sage serves a slightly different purpose than consuming it internally. Poor air quality has been related to a variety of health problems. Burning sage is viewed as a cost-effective technique to help purify the air. Sage is known to have antibacterial qualities, which aid in killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It's important to remember that burning sage produces smoke, which can be detrimental to persons with asthma or other respiratory problems.

According to some alternative medicine practitioners, burning sage or consuming it internally may aid in releasing negative energy. In addition to burning sage, some people employ sage cleansing sprays in their homes. The following are the advantages of sage burning:

  • Getting rid of microorganisms in the air.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Intuition improvement
  • Purification of specific items.
  • Stress and anxiety are reduced, and mood improvement.
  • Purifies the surroundings: Antimicrobial properties are present in the most commonly utilised forms of sage. They keep infectious viruses, bacteria, and fungi at bay. Artemisia ludoviciana (white prairie sage) is antimicrobial and antibacterial. Salvia apiana (white sage) is also antibacterial. Both are insect repellent. Smudging has been based on the belief that burning sage clears off spiritual impurities, infections, and even insects.
  • Helps relieve symptoms of some diseases: It turns out that sage can assist with more than pests and bacteria in the air.
  • Burning sage is said to release negative ions, though this has not been experimentally confirmed.
  • It is thought to aid in the neutralisation of positive ions.
  • Common positive ions, for example, are Allergens like:
    • Mould
    • Pet dander
    • Dust
    • Pollution

Wait until the smoke has dissipated before entering the room. On the other hand, inhaling the smoke when smudging can exacerbate any respiratory problem. If such is the case, those who have asthma, allergies, bronchitis, and other respiratory disorders may find that burning sage is beneficial.

  • A spiritual tool: Smudging has been done for centuries to connect to the spiritual realm or improve intuition. Healers and laypeople in ancient societies employed burning sage to achieve a healing state — or to solve or ponder spiritual problems. It could also be based on science. Certain types of sage, such as salvia sages and white prairie sage, contain thujone. Thujone is somewhat psychoactive, according to research. It is present in various plants employed in cultural and spiritual ceremonies to boost intuition.
  • Helps dispel negative energy: Smudging can also be performed as a ritual to purge negativity from yourself or your area. That can include past traumas, terrible experiences, or other people's negative energies. Choosing to participate in a ritual might start a mental shift. It could assist you in creating a favourable setting for meditation or another activity. Choosing to sit in such a ritual and letting go of negative ideas sets your intention and commitment to self-improvement.
  • Cleanses or empowers objects: The benefits of smudging are primarily due to the fragrant smoke produced by burning sage. This incense can be used to smudge yourself or specified areas. You can also smear certain things, according to some reports. It is appropriate for new purchases, gifts, and secondhand products. Anything, however, can be smeared. If you're concerned about a new or unfamiliar thing's negative past or energy, smudging might help you relax and make the object more sacred.
  • Improves mood and soothes stress: Smudging, according to tradition, can genuinely elevate one's spirits and eliminate negativity. Studies back this up. White prairie sage (also called estafiate) is an essential traditional treatment for treating anxiety, depression, and mood disorders in some cultures, according to a 2014 study. If burning sage can improve one's mood, it may also be an effective stress reliever. White sage (Salvia apiana) contains chemicals that activate specific receptors in the brain, according to a 2016 study conducted by the University of Mississippi. These receptors are responsible for elevating mood, reducing stress, and even reducing pain.
  • Improves sleep quality: Smudging has long been used to protect against negative energy that could disrupt sleep. According to some studies, sage has chemicals that may aid with insomnia. Garden sage (Salvia officinalis) is occasionally used in the same way as white sage. It has also been used to help people sleep better and relax.
  • Helps boost cognition: Smudging with sage may increase your memory and focus in addition to dispelling negative energy, improving mood, and strengthening intuition. According to a 2016 assessment of studies, evidence regarding Salvia's cognitive-enhancing advantages is promising, suggesting that we could use it to treat dementia and Alzheimer's disease. More research is still required.
  • Helps boost energy levels: Getting rid of negative energy from the body, items, and spaces will help you welcome newer, fresher, and more positive energies. It could, in some ways, be energising and aid with exhaustion.
  • Smudging is also done with sagelike plants closely related to white prairie sage. Antifatigue uses have been documented by many people.
  • Creates an uplifting fragrance: This may be the best of all benefits for some: Pure and simple, sage is a beautiful incense with a divine aroma. It also works well as an odour controller or air freshener without chemicals.

Materials required: Smudging or burning sage is a simple process that requires only a few pieces of equipment.

The following are some basic tools:

  • A ceramic, clay, or glass seashell or bowl for holding burning sage or capturing ash
  • A sage bundle (or smudge stick)
  • Matches are preferred over a manufactured lighter
  • Optional feather or fan for fanning smoke

You can smudge with a variety of sages. Examples from the past include:

  • White prairie sage or estafiate (Artemisia ludoviciana)
  • Other Artemisia species
  • White sage (Salvia apiana)
  • Other Salvia species

How to prepare?

If you're smudging for spiritual, energetic, or negativity clearance, some people propose setting intentions before burning sage. You should remove animals and people from the room. Before, during, and after smudging, leaving a window open is also a good idea. That makes it possible for smoke to escape. Some people feel that smoke carries pollutants and negative energy, so don't skip this step.

How to smudge?

While there is a lack of data to back up this practice, there are a few disadvantages to burning sage in your house. In terms of mental health practices, burning sage is relatively inexpensive, and the advantages of trying something new cannot be overstated.

Where to find sage?

To begin burning sage, you'll need first to locate a supply of the herb. Sage for burning is available online, at health stores, or through a traditional healer or shaman. You can also plant and dry your sage for burning. Trim the sage instead of ripping it out by the roots. Please do not cut the plant's stems until you are confident that it can survive without them. Gather the sage in a bundle, bind it, and hang it in a dry area after cutting it. It crackles when you squeeze it, indicating that it is dry enough.

Traditional sage users think that when burning sage, one's intentions matter. Hence they usually recommend buying sage from a reputable source. A beginner's best bet is to buy a pre-wrapped bundle or stick of white sage.

Steps: To begin, you will need a container to burn the sage. It could be a bowl to capture the ashes as the sage burns or an incense tray. You could also purchase a sage burner. Fill it up with sand or soil. Always keep water on hand and avoid using a flammable container.

  • Before you start burning the sage, open a window or door. It allows the smoke to leave the building.
  • Fill the burning container with sage and ignite it. To keep it burning, let it burn for a few seconds before blowing it out. If the smoke stops coming out, try lighting it again.
  • Set an intention for what you're doing with the sage if you're utilising it for spiritual purposes. "Allow today to be your first day of transformation." you might remark.
  • Allow the smoke to enter each room you'd like to purify. Allowing too much smoke to permeate an area is not a good idea. Avoid taking direct inhalation of the smoke.

Smudging a living space, an object or more: If you are smudging yourself, your home, or an object, follow these instructions. You can smudge any of these as much as you want.

  • Using a match, light the end of a sage bundle. If it catches fire, instantly extinguish it.
  • The leaves' tips should gently smoulder, generating dense smoke. With one hand, direct the smoke over your body and space while holding the bundle in the other.
  • Allow the incense to remain on the parts of your body or environment that you want to concentrate on. Direct the smoke with a fan or feather; however, this isn't required.
  • Allow the ash to accumulate in a bowl or shell made of ceramic.

Smudge your home or living space: Direct sage smoke over all surfaces and places in your home or living area in this case. Make an effort to be comprehensive. Some people propose going around your house in a clockwise pattern, concluding where you started, for spiritual reasons. Others advise going in the opposite direction. In your situation, trust your instincts and do what feels right.

Smudge an object: Direct the smoke around and over your chosen object. It can be done to shield or eliminate negative energy from a new item, such as jewellery, furniture, or clothing. You may also smudge things associated with unpleasant memories or experiences. Some people burn sage over sacred things to honour the object's holy significance.

Aromatherapy: To improve odour, smell, and mood, you can light and burn sage. Simply fill your house with sage smoke. Smoke the bundle for a few minutes in a fireproof bowl or stove.

Using Palo santo or incense: A sage bundle or sage wand is an excellent tool for clearing an area and warding off negative energy. You may also keep the good vibes going by burning incense or palo santo, both of which have a longer burn time if that is what you are after.

Incense comes in various evocative aromas and is typically made from herbs, plants, and natural substances. Each incense has its therapeutic powers and moods, ranging from Dragons Blood for strength and vitality to Cedar for earthly golden grounding and Amber for comfort and truth. They all share the element of cleansing, purifying, and altering energy around a location.

Palo Santo is musty magic as well. It's considered holy wood, and it's commonly burned with sage or incense to cleanse an area. It has a lot of therapeutic properties. Palo Santo has a long and distinguished history in ceremonial rites and assisting in creating sacred spaces. It has a soothing smell and cleaning energy, and it also helps relieve stress and anxiety.

After a smudge: Check that your smudge stick is totally out of the way. Dip the candle's burning end into a small dish of ash or sand to achieve this effect. At the very end, double-check that there are no more embers. Once it's entirely dry, store it away from the sun in a safe, dry location.

Sage storage: Extinguish your sage stick after clearing and cleaning it by gently pressing it into the abalone shell or a clay dish, glass bowl, or ashtray. After that, open the doors and windows in the room to let all of that trapped energy escape. You can also let it burn off naturally. Some folks prefer to wait 20-30 minutes for the sage smoke to peak effectiveness. 

Sage Safety: The US Food and Drug Administration has approved sage for use as a spice or condiment. The usage of sage for health purposes is generally regarded as safe. However, if you are thinking to use sage internally, you should inform your doctor (just as you should with any complementary medicines you take). Some sage species contain thujone, a neurotoxin that can affect the nervous system. A hazardous dose of sage oil is believed to be twelve drops or more. It is generally secure to do so around children and dogs when burning sage. Simply be aware of any potential respiratory issues they may have. (The scent of burning sage may bother them.)

Side effects and risks: Smudging is safe when done appropriately and respectfully, and the effects persist long after the smoke has cleared.

  • When sage is lit, use caution. Burns and even flames are possible if you aren't careful. Make sure there's water around.
  • Never leave sage to burn unattended. After each use, make sure your sage bundle is thoroughly dry.
  • It is usual to set off smoke alarms. Keep this in mind if you are smudging in a public space.
  • People with asthma and other respiratory illnesses may be more sensitive to the smoke and experience adverse effects.
  • While smudging, always keep a window open. Smoke can cause harm to your health if you inhale it.

Restlessness, high heart rate, vertigo, vomiting, renal damage, seizures, and tremors are possible side effects of long-term sage use.

Best time to smudge: Whenever you want is the best time to sage. Burning sage is an excellent technique to cleanse the previous owner's energy and set your goals for the place when you move into a new home or office. You can, however, sage your home whenever you feel drawn to do so, whether you're looking to reset your energies or simply unwind. It is also a good idea to sage after entertaining or having company around.

Frequency of smudging: When it comes to how often you should sage yourself or your area, there are no hard and fast rules. When detecting negative energy, we are our own greatest guides. Therefore trust your instincts. If you're feeling bogged down by tension or concern, it's usually a sign that you need to cleanse.

Native American Smudging Prayer: Smudging has profound origins in Native American culture and ritual, and it is an integral aspect of their culture and ceremony. We wanted to share this smudging prayer to acknowledge the holy nature of this event.

May your hands be cleansed 

That they may create 

beautiful things.

May your feet be cleansed

That they may take you 

where you most need to be.

May your heart be cleansed

That you may hear

Its message clearly.

May your throat be cleansed,

That you might speak rightly

When words are needed.

May your eyes be cleansed.

That you may see

The signs and wonders of this world.

May this person and this space

Be washed clean 

By the smoke

Of these fragrant plants.

And may that smoke

Carry our prayers

Spiralling to heaven. 

Takeaway: Burning sage has a long history and may be beneficial for beginning a spiritual practice or making a life transformation. It could be helpful if you're going through a transition or want to start making some positive adjustments in your house or health. Burning sage is a powerful ceremony Indigenous people have used for thousands of years to cleanse negative energy. If you're going to burn sage in your own home, business, or apartment, make sure you do so correctly and with reverence for the practice's origins.

On the other hand, burning sage is unlikely to help if you suffer from severe mood disorders or clinical anxiety. It is beneficial to consult your doctor in addition to engaging in a complementary health activity such as burning or ingesting sage.

As a spiritual activity, burning sage has numerous advantages. There is evidence that sage has health benefits, such as antibacterial qualities and increased alertness, but more research is needed. Beyond the cultural practice of the ritual, there is relatively little research on smudging. Remember that burning sage in some Native American communities is a revered religious activity. Treat the ceremony with awe and reverence.




Written by
Resurchify is an information portal for the people pursuing research. We bring to you a varied list of research gatherings like conferences, journals, meetings, symposiums, etc across multiple areas. Along with that, we also share a huge chunk of details of these events.

Check out other articles written by Resurchify . Protection Status