The Tradition and Science of Cleansing with Smudging
Smudging is a sacred practice often done in ceremony that has been practiced all throughout history by Native American, ancient European and Asian cultures. When lit on fire and let slowly burn with heavy smoke, medicinal plants used for this practice are cleansing the space and people both spiritually and physically.
Traditional knowledge passed down to us explains how to use this practice to clear the environment or yourself and other people of negative influences. Ceremonially, it is used as one of the tools to connect to other realms. Science shows that it cleans the air of bacteria and other unhealthy contaminates.
Bringing these three benefits together, smudging is one of the practices that is beneficial for regular spiritual use. Even the way the smoke appears adds to your experience. It is calming to the mind and brings harmony to the soul. Best of all, it is 100 percent natural, and there many ways to practice with Sage. Once you start smudging, it will likely become one of your favorite spiritual tools.
The Science of Smudging
After hundreds of years we can actually see scientific proof for smudging. Research showed that it kills bacteria from the air. Sage, the most common smudging plant, removed 94% of all bacteria in the air.
Sage needs about an hour of time to cleanse and purify the air.
Clean air is a necessity for good health and can prevent and lessen symptoms of asthma, cough, headaches, dizziness, and respiratory infections. It is also necessary for disease prevention.
A 2006 study found that since ancient times smudging was used for medical reasons to help heal and support lungs, brain, and skin.
It is safe for both children and pets as well.
How Smudging Works
All you need for smudging is a smudging plant, like Sage, a lighter and perhaps an abalone shell to put the burning smudging stick out if needed.
A smudging stick is dried herb tied together in a form of a stick. They are commonly sold at metaphysical shops, as well as yoga studios.
Dried plant leaves or plant resins can also be placed in a special bowl to burn.
To purify a space, light you Sage wand and gently extinguish the flame only leaving glow and smoke. Go around a room or a building and bless each corner with it. To harmonize your own energy or another person’s fan the smoke around the whole body head to toe. You can use a large feather, a fan, or your hand to do so.
While you are smudging, you can think of an intention such as one for healing.
When you feel in your heart like this ritual is complete, you can either extinguish the wand using an abalone shell or let it go out on its own.
Different Smudging Plants
While Sage is the most commonly known medicinal plant used for this practice, different cultures have used other various herbs as well. Frankincense and Myrrh were both used by the Egyptians and the Greeks. Both are very powerful purifiers in spiritual and physical sense. A 2008 study found that burning Frankincense resin helps treat anxiety and depression.
Some other great plants to use are:
- Sweetgrass purifies the space and brings more Divine Feminine energy.
- Palo Santo wood was used since ancient times in Peru by shamans. It is highly healing and prized for its incredible smell.
- Aspen can be used for protection.
- Rosemary brings peace and harmony.
- Burning Cedar is used for grounding.
- Eucalyptus is great when you need more energy.
These and other plants can be mixed together for unique experiences. Try them out and see what combinations resonate with you.