Smudging is a kind of ritual that’s usually performed with burning sacred herbs or resins. It is a ceremony traditionally performed for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place.
When it comes to smudging, smudge sticks are used as incense. Different kinds of herbs are twined together and are selected based on their properties. It may contain a combination of different herbs, or just one type of herb.
Since the process involves using herbs or resins, one of the most commonly used hers is the sage. Sage is considered as a sacred plant and has played various roles in the herbal medicine era. It is usually described as a perennial, evergreen subshrub, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers, with woody stems like of that genus Artemisia.
Sage has a botanical name, Salvia officinalis, and comes from the member of the mint family Lamiaceae and native to the Mediterranean region. It has been naturalized in many places throughout the world due to its different healing properties.
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Aside from being used for smudging, sage is a traditional remedy for different digestive problems, such as loss of appetite, gas or flatulence, stomach pain or gastritis, diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn.
When used as a smudging ingredient, sage is known to bring positive energy and the sacred smoke can cast away evil spirits.
What Are The Different Types of Sage for Smudging
Knowing the different properties of sage should help you select which one is best for your intentions. Either you want to remove negative energies or attract positive energies, there is sage perfect for you. Let’s find out what they are.
Blue sage is actually called the “Grandmother Sage” or New Mexico sage. Aside from being a purifying herb with broad medicinal benefits, blue sage is also considered as a magical sage as it is used from magical applications.
It is a herbaceous perennial in the genus Salvia covered with abundant blue flowers, and is native to Central and Eastern North America. Also known as the azure blue sage, azure sage, or prairie sage and with a botanical name, Salvia azurea.
From cleansing to purification purposes, blue sage could provide spiritual strength. It is also used during exorcism rituals, as well as to remove the malevolent spirits.
When it comes to the aroma, this sage brings that light and heavenly scent, perfect to be called as holy herb. If you love meditation, using blue sage would be advisable due to its calm and relaxation-inducing aroma.
White is also known with different names, such as Sacred Sage, Bee Sage or California Sage. With a botanical name, Salvia apiana, white sage is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is an evergreen perennial shrub found mainly in the coastal sage scrub habitat of Southern California and Baja California, on the western edges of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts.
When it comes to making smudging sticks, you would find white sage as the most used element. The smudge sticks that’s made with white sage brings sweet, herbaceous and slightly astringent aroma once burned. However, white sage has a stronger scent compared to the blue sage.
Burning white sage provides a scent which is best for meditation, protection, cleansing and purifying the body. The smudge made out white sage is also used for warding off evil spirits, and repel infections. That is why white sage, referred to as sacred sage, is among those versatile and popular herbs used for smudging.
Native to the western edge of the Colorado Desert, the Salvia eremostachya or desert sage has a warm, herbaceous, peppery aroma. This scent makes the desert sage perfect for cleansing, purifying, and boosting inner strength. It also goes by the name of Desert Magic, Sagebrush Smudge, Mountain Sage, or Grey Sage.
Desert sage also goes by the name of rose sage and sand sage. It is a perennial shrub that reaches 2 to 3 ft. high, with purplish green bracts on .75 in flowers. The beautiful flower colors may range from blue to rose to nearly white.
People that are experiencing headaches or anxiety might try using smudges that are made out of desert sage or with desert sage on them. It is said that desert sage would relieve pain and ease the mind. The smoke from a smudge stick of the desert sage also cleanses, heals and blesses people, as well as the surroundings.
The black sage is common in the coastal sage scrub of Southern California and northern Baja California, as it is native to California, and Baja California, Mexico. This small, evergreen shrub of the genus Salvia is highly aromatic, making it a great element for burning sage through a smudge stick.
As the name suggests, black sage would be dark in appearance, especially during drought. Compared to the other sage, like the white sage, black sage has a stronger and heavier aroma.
This scent that the black sage produces is thought to possess a power to draw your energy and consciousness into other realms or astral travel. People who are suffering from insomnia should use a smudge stick made with black sage. It has an inner strength that could provide restful sleep and peaceful dreams.
Others believed that during astral travel, the black sage would provide protection. This is the reason why a lot of healers or Shamans use a smudge stick that is made out of black sage during shamanic journeying.
Mexican Bush Sage
Mexican bush sage or commonly known as Mexico sage, has a botanical name of Salvia leucantha. This is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to subtropical and tropical conifer forests in central and eastern Mexico.
Its flowers are usually white that emerges from coloured bracts or foliole. It is mainly used as a mixture on a smudge stick, together with other sages. But aside from that, the Mexican bush sage is a garden sage mainly used as a landscaping plant and as a cut flower for dried or fresh flower arrangements.
How to Smudge Using a Sage
There are different ways on how to properly smudge your living space, an object, and more. Here is the most common way to use smudge sticks.
First, you will need to get a sage smudge stick or bundles of sage smudge sticks and hold it in an upright position. Get a match and light the end of a sage bundle. You should notice the tips of the leaves to smolder slowly, releasing thick smoke.
Then find the areas of your body or surroundings you’d like to focus on, and allow the incense to focus on those areas. Use a ceramic bowl or shell to allow ash to be collected.
What Is the Best Sage to Use for Smudging
Depending on where you are going to use, there is a different sage to choose from. If you want a lighter aroma to help you relax, blue sage smudge is best for you.
Those who would want a stronger smell, you can use either the black sage smudge or the white sage smudge. For those who are always experiencing headaches and worries too much due to anxieties, the desert sage smudge would work well.