Sage Knowledge and Usage

Smudging Demystified

Smudging is the process of burning dried plant material and using the smoke as a medium to purify, or cleanse people, items, or atmospheres. This ancient practice of burning sage is a cleansing ritual to clear the air, and become mindful to introduce new energies into their atmosphere. Sage is proven to have health benefits when burnt as a smudge. It is a great way to induce relaxation, increase focus, and combat stress.

How it Works

The burning of sage works by releasing negative ions into the air. This is beneficial because our human bodies naturally build up a positive ion. Usually, being in nature can regulate the increase of positive ions bringing our bodies back to harmony. 

However, the lack of time spent in nature means that many people are out of balance. By burning sage and releasing negative ions into the air, the smoke changes the molecular structure of the environment being smudged. Our bodies then begin to neutralize into homeostasis which results in a feeling of peacefulness, bringing a clearer mind, with a cleansed body and atmosphere. 

Negative emotions like anger, stress, and irritability are all associated with the release of positive ions into the surrounding atmosphere. This is why the burning of sage is considered to clear the air of negative energies by putting negative ions into the air and clearing the positive ions. 


Sage is widely known for its powerful anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-microbial properties of sage clears the body or air of infections bacteria, viruses, and fungi. 

There are studies that show sage based mouthwash is shown to kill bacteria that grows in the mouth. While sage essential oils kill and slow down the spread of fungus. These benefits are still active in the smoke of the sage when the plant is burned. 

The burning of sage results in a 94% reduction of airborne bacteria for up to 24 hours. Smoke based remedies act on the body faster than any other form of remedy because it rapidly gets dispersed through the entire body. Smudging can help people that suffer from asthma, respiratory conditions, or general flu by purifying the air. It also increases oxygen supply to the brain thus giving higher brain activity and allowing tensed muscles to relax. 

We personally smudge with organic sage every single time we have an event. We also offer saging and smudging sessions to any of our customers who ask! It's a beautiful way to connect and release any negative emotions.

History of Smudging 

The word Sage itself, derives from the latin word Salvia, which means to heal. It has for thousands of years been regarded as a plant of wisdom, clarity, and spiritual awareness. The essence of the word sage means wise, hence the reference to the wise as sagely. Sage is mentioned across cultures from Greek lore as being sacred to the mighty Zeus, to the Romans that used the herb to represent their deity Jupiter.

Ancient Romans regarded sage as a salvation plant, while Egyptian and Greek cultures looked towards sage for its healing properties. Many native American cultures including the Lakota, Chumash, and Cahuilla use sage in various practices. Amongst the most well known is smudging, which is the burning of sage. 

Smudging has long been believed to have positive healing effects on the body, mind, spirit, and atmosphere in which it is applied. It was believed that the burning of sage can boost the defense against disease, and protect the body, objects, and space from negative energy by renewing the energy in the air. 

Tradition of Smudging

The burning ritual of smudging can be seen across many cultures in the world. It has been used by Native Americans that burn sage in ritual settings to purify one’s body. While the Celtic Druids burned sage and Oak Moss, and the people of the Amazon burnt Palo Santo. Eastern cultures burn incense, and Middle Eastern cultures burn frankincense. Different smudging techniques have different effects known to clear spiritual impurities, various pathogens, and keep insects away without harming them. 

Traditionally smudging is known to lift spirits into the air banishing any negative energies. Many traditions also burn sage during times of mourning, and in death ceremonies to purify the dead, as well as cleanse the mourning. 

The plant is still held in sacred regard today. It is important to hold respect for this practice as it is an ancient and sacred one. It is a good practice to pick up when a person is embarking on a spiritual journey, simply looking for a fresh start, undergoing a transition period, or just to clear the energy and create space for new energies to arise. 

How Often to Smudge

If you are burning sage just to clear the energies then the start or end of a week would mark a good time to make that a ritual. By doing so, you will be clearing old energies at the end of every week, allowing space for new energies to come in with the new week. 

If you are smudging to cleanse the air of impurities like microbes, viruses, and fungi, then a daily smudging routine is recommended to ensure a consistent purified environment. Research shows that smudging will remove harmful bacteria for up to 24 hours. 

How to Smudge

This can be a complex or simple process. When smudging these are the steps you need to follow: 

1. Acquire these items:  

  • Organic smudge stick (purchase consciously, organic is vital to avoid burning fumes into the air)
  • Abalone shell, clay, or glass bowl filled with sand or salt to extinguish stick when done
  • A form of lighter, matches, or wax wick to light   

2. Crack a window or door open to allow smoke and energy to escape

3. Set an intention before lighting the sage, an example of something to intent is:

Mother Earth (Gaia),
Thank you for this healing herb, 
Allow me your power to clear any illness,
With your strength relinquish all pain, 
With your wisdom create space for the new. 

4. Many cultures recommend smudging in all four directions, moving the smudge stick in a circular motion is the best way to achieve that

5. Walk around the entire perimeter of the house and put the sage out in the same place you lit it once you make your way back around

6. Concentrate in areas like windows, doors, closets, and corners (trust your intuition)

7. Do not let the smoke get too thick, and avoid breathing in the smoke

Object Smudging 

Smudging objects can be things like new crystals, cars, homes, money, or just any item that has been recently acquired that may need to make space for new energy. Items that relate to negative experiences that may carry a negative energy should also be smudged. 

Sleep Protection Smudging

When we go to sleep, we are completely unconscious. Our dreams are said to be the subconscious mind, while other cultures believe it could be an alternate reality, past lifetime, or astral travel. No matter what the belief is, it is important to use smudging as a form of safeguard to protect the sleeping body, mind, and active spirit. In addition to the overnight protection, sage has compounds that could ease insomnia, specifically white sage. 

Spiritual Smudging 

Some cultures and people use smudging as a way to connect to the spiritual realm. In practices of Alchemy or Wicca, sage is considered a very powerful masculine energy and is associated with the element air, and the planet jupiter. It is used to put out positive spells of longevity, protection, divine wisdom, and manifestations. These practices are most powerful when in alignment with jupiter and a person's astrological chart. 

Sage is able to induce the spiritual healing state when burned by releasing small amounts of thujone into the atmosphere. Thujone is a ketone that has mild psychoactive compounds that are not harmful in the quantities found in sage. In such small quantities thujone induces calmness, and enhances intuition. Thujone is the psychoactive terpene found in the popular alcoholic drink Absinthe which is known to induce mild psychoactive effects. Due to these mild effects, sage is widely used in spiritual practices of yoga, meditations, reiki, and more. 


Always be mindful when lighting sage, ashes can fall and remain lit causing a fire hazard. It is advised to not leave sage burning unattended so make sure it is fully extinguished after every use. Consider the possibility of a fire alarm going off if you allow a thick build up of smoke in a closed space which is not recommended to begin with. Although smudging is not harmful and is generally safe, be mindful when burning around children, pets, and people with respiratory conditions. The effects of the sage on the air is positive for that group of people, but ingesting the actual smoke is not. Always have a window cracked open. 


Make sure the sage you use is organic, sustainably harvested, grown at high altitude, and is fully traceable to source. Lily Rose Jewelry Co has sage that fits such standards that comes from Rancho Cucamonga, in California.