Sage Smudging

Do you Sage Smudge?

Have you ever heard of Saging?

There has been much talk about the benefits of burning sage and drinking sage tea (which we will get into). And with much talk come a lot of backlash about why we shouldn’t partake. The backlash and skepticism is because many argue that it’s witchcraft. Well as much as I would like to go into a Ted Talk about why I personally dislike the word witch or witchcraft I’ll leave that segment to someone else. A lot of the backlash stems from our ignorance of the culture significance and history of Sage Smudging. Some of us also feel as though sage smudging is an over saturated practice and seek other ways to cleanse and protect our space. However, the truth is it is always best to seek the cultural practices that resonate with you personally as well as the practices of your bloodline that are of good and pure intent. Seeking practices that are of a less crowded following may only cause more confusion. Sage Smudging was and is still used by many tribes far and wide because of the cultural and spiritual. If we decide to ace the practice because of over saturation; how connected were we really?

History of Sage Smudging

While many have deemed Sage Smudging a new age spiritual practice the truth is quiet the opposite. Smudging is an ancient ceremonial practice that dates back thousands of years. Many Indigenous Tribes referred to the practice as Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing. The smoke from the herbs used during the smudge is symbolic of prayers, blessings, grievances being sent to The Most High. There is no distinct time period where smudging can be traced less you have access to a medicine man on a reservation to share the history of their tribe. Indigenous history has been hidden from the public eye for centuries. It is believed that smudging evolved from the practice of campfires outside of many caves and tribal camps to keep insects away. As well as the practice of using certain herbs to smoke as well as preserve food and hides. However, smudging is not only exclusive to Native American tribes. All Indigenous have a history of smudging (yes people African Descent as well).  Across cultures we see a history of smudging being practiced with Frankincense and sometimes accompanied by Myrrh; which is not only a biblical practices. The burning of Frankincense has been practiced for years in the Ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church as well as in the Middle Eastern Bazaar. The use of incense to cleanse or bless a spaces is seen in Asian and Indian cultures. Another practice we see common to day is the burning of Palo Santo Wood (Sacred Wood). While this seems like a new option in place of Sage, the people of the Amazon have used Sacred Wood in ceremonies for a very long time and still use it today. Though the term smudging is arguable exclusive to the Native American culture the use of  smoke and aroma of dried herbs has been used for centuries as a sacred practice to connect to The Most High.

Benefits of Sage Smudging

If you meditate and/or do yoga you may be aware that everything around us is energy. And energy can be changed, shifted, or transferred. In short energy can be manipulated and that can and will effect us. Because of this it is important to cleanse your space and body as often as you clean your home and work space if not more. Sage Smudging serves that purpose. Sage by definition means healer. In Latin the plants name is Salvia officinalis, which comes from the Latin word “salveo,” meaning “to save or heal. ” Research has proven that Sage Smudging purifies the air of 94% of toxic bacteria for up to 24 hours. Sage Smudging reduces anxiety promoting calmness. Traditionally it has always been understood sage is a powerful botanical that can be used as medicine to heal; and a tool to pray with to welcome in blessings and warn off evil and harm. As we remember everything around us is energy. Sage Smudging clears the energy in us and around us just it cleanses the air. In Native American culture it is taught that only the good spirits like the smell of sage and all things negative reject the smell. Depending on the herbs used smudging can beneficial for asthma, respiratory problems, and common colds. Sage is a botanical herb which means that it can also be sourced for medical purposes like another other plant. Sage Tea is one way to use Sage for medical purposes. Many tribes have blended herbs such as Sage, Chamomile, Tobacco( pure), and other herbs to heal wounds, smoke during ceremonies, and much more. Sage has been shown to be effective for:

  • Digestive Problems
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Menopause Symptoms
  • Sore Throat
  • Preventing Certain Cancers
  • Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
  • Lowers Cholesterol

Many people have been returning to traditional medicine to treat their ailments. Because of this there has been more talk about how effective traditional medicine is. It is key to keep in mind that all medicine takes time to heal and we must be willing to do the work as well. When returning to traditional medicine a lifestyle change is important for healing. Today we see more and more Americans not just people of color returning to traditional practices not matter the religion, culture, or faith. Every culture has a sacred practice of similar to that of smudging amongst other spiritual practice. Many of these things are still practiced today within tribes, temples, and orthodox churches. When trying to decide if traditional practices are for you it is always advised to do research on the history and depending on the culture being guided and/or trained by an ELDER. Research on your families lineage, beliefs, and practices before and during slavery if obtainable is a great way to find out what truly resonates with you.


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