Burning sage is a powerful spiritual practice, with its roots in Native American tradition. For centuries, indigenous tribes have burned bundles of dried white sage leaves to cleanse and purify, or for prayer. Smudging is when you burn sage as part of a prayer ritual but in modern times, sage is used to cleanse spaces, including homes and office spaces.
While you can definitely use it as part of a prayer ritual or for spiritual cleansing purposes, you may be surprised to know that burning sage can be good for your health too!
Health Benefits of Burning Sage
Let us look at the top research-backed health benefits of burning sage.
#1 Can Help Purify the Air
There are many sage varieties that are used for burning - the most common ones are white sage (Salvia apiana) and other Salvia species. A number of studies have shown that sage has potent antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and can also repel insects.
#2 Acts as a Natural Mood-Enhancer
There is anecdotal evidence by people who say that they feel calmer and happier when sage is burned, and now it is proven by research too. According to a 2014 research study, white prairie sage is used as an herbal remedy to ease anxiety. Another study showed that sage (Salvia officinalis) increased the feelings of calmness and contend-ness in healthy participants, as marked on the Bond-Lader Mood Scales.
#3 Can Help Improve Memory
Burning sage may help enhance the brain’s cognitive abilities and improve memory. Laboratory and preliminary human studies have supported the evidence of sage to enhance cognitive skills and guard against neurodegenerative disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
#4 Can Help Reduce Allergens
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology has shown that burning herbs or medicinal smoke can purify the air from up to 94 percent of harmful bacteria for up to 24 hours. And while it is not yet scientifically proven, burning sage can release negative ions that can neutralize positive ions such as pet dander, pollution, dust, and mold. This can help reduce the allergens in the spaces where sage is burned.
Note: If you have asthma or any other respiratory condition, it is better to enter the space once the smoke from burning sage is cleared. Inhaling the smoke may aggravate the respiratory condition.
#5 May Help Ease Stress
White sage is rich in compounds such as caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, and salvianolic acid, all of which have antidepressant and anxiolytic properties. They are known to activate certain receptors in the brain that can help alleviate stress and improve mood levels.
#6 May Improve Your Sleep Quality & Ease Insomnia
With its proven abilities to ease anxiety and increase feelings of calmness in the body, sage is a natural way to help you get into a better sleep routine. However, there is limited research on this. But you can experiment with burning sage in your bedroom to dispel any negative energy from the space. Detox from anything digital and have a warm cup of lavender tea or chamomile tea. It may one of the most natural ways to ease yourself into bed and catch up on the much-needed rest.
You can try our dried white sage or our sage, lovingly wrapped in rose petals. If you are interested in buying a smudge kit, our Abalone Shell Smudging Kit is a popular buy – complete with Feather, Shell, Palo Santo, Mini White Sage, and a Tripod. Remember - burning sage, especially smudging, is a sacred religious practice in Native American culture and you should treat the ritual with respect.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and should not be used as medical advice.