What Is Smudging?
Ancient cultures of the past used a variety of rituals that are often seen as mystical, and many of these practices continue today. Native Americans are known for using smudging for rituals. Many Native Americans believe that it works to remove negative energy and has healing powers. Practitioners still use it to heal participants of body, mind, or soul ailments.
Smudging is the act of burning specific plants to effectively cleanse people and their surrounding environments. Each type of plant has its own special qualities for healing purposes and cleansing.
Smudging uses blessed plants that are thought to have special healing powers. Sage is one the most popular plants used in smudging in Native American culture. The Latin name for sage, Salvia officinalis, relates to the Latin word salvare, which relates to healing, and salvere, which relates to health.
It is a long-held belief that burning materials allow people to cleanse negative environments and heal internal conflicts. The Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox churches all burn frankincense as part of their religious rituals.
Why Do People Practice Smudging?
In the present day, many ancient practices are going mainstream. Smudging can be a useful practice. It can be used today by the average person of any culture or spirituality. Some people believe that the act of smudging is good for eliminating bacteria. According to these practitioners, smoke from sage absorbs the bacteria and negativity energy that is in the air.
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology explains the following regarding basic smudging: “We have observed that 1h treatment of medicinal smoke emanated by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs … on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts by 60 min and the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24h in the closed room.”
What Are Some Sample Herbs That Can Cleanse Your Space?
Many plants can provide benefits when used in smudging. The most-used plant is sage. White sage is often thought of as holding spiritual properties such giving protection. It popular with holistic practitioners for helping cleanse people and spaces of negative energies.
Cedar is another popular material used in smudging. The use of cedar for spiritual protection dates back centuries to Roman times. It is popular to use in sweat lodges because of its purifying properties. Cedar is also said to attract positive energy in open spaces. Lemongrass is another purifying herb that can cleanse the air and the spirit. There are also many other herbs that can serve as natural air purifiers if you plan to practice smudging to cleanse your home from germs.
*Disclaimer: When smudging, hold or place the smudge stick or other item you plan to burn over a fireproof bowl. Use a fire extinguisher to put out smudge stick/other item after use.