History of sage, Sage smudge, Smudging precautions, White sage benefits, White sage smudge -

How to Smudge Sage Sticks and benefits of Smudging

White sage sticks     Photo credits to Ginny rose Stewart on unsplash

We take care of our bodies with exercise, good diets, and skin care, so why wouldn't we also take care of our energetic bodies? With the chaotic nature of today's modern world, the idea of cleansing our spaces, objects, and ourselves of negative energy sounds quite appealing.

One good way to clear and clean out bad energy is by burning sage or in some cases, spraying it. As with many holistic healing methods that have gone mass in recent years, sage is a common household tool. But many burners don’t precisely know what they’re doing with it or what it’s really doing for them and their space. Burning sage, also known as cleansing, is an ancient spiritual ritual.

Smudging has been well established as a Native American cultural or tribal practice, although it isn’t practiced by all groups. Several studies have shown that medicinal smokes such as sage have powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial qualities that can improve mood and cognition, can serve as an insect repellent, and can even help with sleep quality by easing insomnia. 

History of White Sage

Burning sage is one of the oldest and purest methods of cleansing a person, group of people, or space and getting rid of unwanted spirits. The practice dates back to prehistoric times and it’s been documented as being used in every corner of the world by our ancestors. 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 defenses. 

White Sage, technically known as ‘Salvia Apiana,' has been considered sacred for hundreds of years thanks to its many properties. It is found prevalently in high desert ecosystems such as Mexico and the southwest of the United States, in California.

The practice of burning sage is sacred in many communities and deserves our respect. To avoid cultural appropriation, you should always be doing it with intention, reverence, and deep gratitude to those who did it before you.

How to smudge Sage sticks

Before you light up, remember to open a door or window, as the unwanted energy you are trying to clear must have a pathway to get out. After all, that negativity (not to mention smoke) needs to have a path to get out. 


  • Grab the sage from one end.
  • Hold the sage at a 45-degree angle, light it on the other end, let it burn for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Then gently blow out the flame so that you see orange embers on one end.
  • Then you can start the process of smudging your space.
  • Walk or fan the incense around the room.
  • Feathers have been traditionally used to direct the smoke around a room; however, it is optional.
  • It is also a good idea to leave a window open when smudging a space so that the negative energies can escape.
  • Traditionally, people use an abalone shell to hold the sage.

Benefits of White Sage

In simple words, sage clears bacteria in the air. Sage smoke offers rapid delivery to the brain and efficient absorption to the body. Scientists have observed that sage can clear up to 94 percent of airborne bacteria in space and disinfect the air. When sage is burned, it releases negative ions, which is linked to putting people in a positive mood. The Latin word for sage salvia stems from the word heal. Other qualities believed to be associated with sage when burned are giving wisdom, clarity, and increasing spiritual awareness.

  1. Purifying surrounding 

The most-used types of sage have antimicrobial & antibacterial properties; this means they keep infectious bacteria, viruses, and fungi at bay. Burning sage could be a blessing for those with asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions. But inhaling the smoke during the cleansing can aggravate any respiratory disease. Wait until the smoke clears before going into the room.

  1. Helps dispel negative energy

Burning sage may also be used as a ritual tool to rid yourself, or your space, of negativity. This includes past traumas, bad experiences, or negative energies from others. This may help you establish a positive environment for meditation or another ritual. Choosing to engage in ritual can be the beginning of your change in mindset.

  1. Improve quality of your sleep

Burning sage has been traditionally used to safeguard against negativity that could interfere with sleep. Burning white sage can help you improve your sleep quality and soothe anxiety.

  1. Allergic relief

Symptoms caused from exposure to dust, pollen and mold can be alleviated by white sage, since sage has antimicrobial and antibacterial which purifies air and it releases negative ions which neutralize positive ones which further minimize the allergic conditions.

  1. Aromatherapy

Apart from negative energy cleansing and health benefits, another very practical use of sage is aromatherapy, the property to leave a long-lasting mild fragrance. There are many spaces in and around our house that stink; cleanse them with smudging, and leave them smelling good for weeks. 

Where to buy sage

The type of sage you need to buy is called ‘California White Sage’ or ‘White Sage Smudge Stick.’ Do not use the regular old sage in your kitchen. You want to buy high-quality, ethically cultivated sage. As smudging becomes more popular, there has been a huge uptick in sage providers who are overharvesting the plant for commercial purposes. So it's important to use sage collected sustainably and with reverence.

If you will use the sage for your energy-clearing ritual, your smudge stick needs to be prepared and handled with care and thoughtfulness. The sage stick you should buy must be moist-free and stored in a dry place. To respect this practice, purchase from small shops owned by Native Americans, such as The Wandering Bull, Whispering Winds, Bohemian Emporium or Native California White Sage.

What you need for Smudging

The practice of burning sage is fairly simple, with few basic tools.

  1. A sage bundle.
  2. Some recommend a seashell or bowl of ceramic, clay, or glass to hold burning sage or capture ash.
  3. Matches or a manufactured lighter.
  4. Optional, feather or fan for fanning smoke.

Alternatives of White Sage Stick

White sage is used worldwide to clear out negative energies while bringing in positive ones. If someone has respiratory issues or a smoke allergy, they can consider White sage cleansing sprays in their home or space. In addition to burning sage, some people use hand-rolled white sage incense sticks in their homes.

My favorite one to use is from Paper Crane Apothecary. It’s called ‘Clean Slate,’ and it’s a smoke-free mist. If you’re not into the smell of sage, you can also use Palo Santo sticks, sweetgrass, and copal; they are also used to clear negative energy from a space.

Precautions while Smudging

If you have respiratory issues, let the smoke clear from the room once you have finished burning the sage. The healing properties will still take effect even after the smoke has dissipated. 

Always stay present! If you see little embers fall on the ground, tamp them out immediately. Never let the burning sage stay unattended for any reason. Also, remember not to inhale too much of the smoke, as it can cause irritation in breathing.

When burning white sage, remember that these practices are sacred to the ancient cultures of the Native Americans and should be treated with respect.