Smudge is one of the most important ways to purify an environment, make a home safe, and ward off negative energies. In this new article, we will try to discover some of the most used herbs to create an effective smudge stick.

What is a smudge?

Smudge sticks are natural incense created using dried leaves and flowers assembled. Indigenous peoples and shamans use the smudge stick for purification rituals of environments, objects, or people.
Smudging is therefore a real healing and purification practice that involves the burning of sacred herbs or resins through smoke. Widely practiced by Native Americans, over time similarities to this type of ritual have been found in other cultures around the world.

The herbs used to create smudge can vary depending on the tribes, populations, or nations in which the practice is carried out. For the most part, these are flowers and aromatic plants rich in essential oils with a high antibacterial action, whose scent can help you breathe better.

The best way to activate a smudge stick is for the herbs used to be well-dried (free of moisture). You need to light the smudge but turn off the flame to let it burn slowly, like an ember fire, and then spread it around the house or the object or person in question. For a more effective result, it is best to use a bird’s feather (or a small fan) to spread the smoke into the most hidden corners of the rooms, or over the person’s head.
You will immediately feel the purifying and regenerating effect of the smudge smoke.

The best herbs for smudge

The smudge stick is very versatile and its creation can depend on the tastes of its creator, however, there are some main herbs to create an effective smudge. Here are some of the most important ones.

Artemisia (mugwort)

It is a very powerful herb, with great magical connotations. Its name means dedicated to Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting, forests, the moon, and protector of virginity.
Its magic can ward off evil spirits, epidemics, and adversities, while its fumes favor dreams and visions. For this reason, it has been burned for thousands of years to thank the gods in religious ceremonies, with a particular purifying effect during divinations and meditation. Its smudge stick is also excellent for reactivating seasonal energies and purifying large or particularly ventilated environments.

The Celts used to collect it at daybreak, walking backward to obscure the traces of evil forces. They used it to wrap the heads of virgins and regulate their menstrual flow. According to some beliefs, a type of coal grows under its roots that can protect against lightning, plague, and demons.
According to modern medicine, mugwort also has good digestive and anti-inflammatory properties and can accelerate childbirth by promoting the expulsion of the placenta.

Cedar

Cedar, vintage engraved illustration. Dictionary of words and things - Larive and Fleury - 1895.

Cedar, vintage engraved illustration. Dictionary of words and things – Larive and Fleury – 1895.

This plant can bring great benefits: it is purifying, protective, good luck, and healing.
Cedar was widely used by Native Americans, who burned its branches to create incense capable of curing colds.

Hanging in the house it can protect against lightning and ward off all evil. A piece of cedar in your bag or wallet brings money while adding in a small bag together with passionflower, lime, and mint increases psychic powers.

Cedar smudge has a fresh but bold aroma. It is an excellent help for improving self-esteem and increasing determination; it strengthens the mind, soul, and spiritual growth. In Native American traditions, it is indicated as a good remedy to induce sleep and chase away nightmares.
Its calming aroma promotes a connection with the divine during meditation, protecting it from negative astral influences. It can be spread around the environment to create a basis of trust with the people you interact with.

Juniper

Haeckel Coniferae Juniperus communis

Haeckel Coniferae Juniperus communis

Juniper is a medicinal plant and at the same time the inspiration for many legends.
In the Tuscan countryside, a sprig of it was hung outside the door to keep witches away. At Christmas in Norway, people sprinkled the floor of the house with its branches to purify the air. In Germany, it was believed that among its small leaves lived a female genius who, if invoked, could force thieves to return their loot.

Its berries are considered powerful protection amulets. They can be used in infusions and herbal teas for the health of the nervous system and urinary tract and can improve intuitive perception and spiritual vision.
Juniper smudge has a lemony aroma, which is very reminiscent of Christmas scents. Its fragrance makes the environment pleasant and healthy. It is ideal to burn juniper smudge in times of tiredness and demotivation, as it can ward off negative thoughts and awaken the spirit.

Palo santo

Palo santo, or holy stick Bursera graveolens , wild tree of tropical forests, medicinal plant. Hand drawn botanical vector illustration

Palo santo, or holy stick Bursera graveolens , wild tree of tropical forests, medicinal plant. Hand drawn botanical vector illustration

Palo santo or Bursera graveolens has very ancient origins. It was used by the Inca shamans and the indigenous people of the Andes in their religious rites to communicate with the gods and ward off negative energies. This vegetable, when burning, produces a thick smoke with great spiritual power, so powerful that it is used in ceremonies to light sacred fires.

The use of palo santo (sacred wood) is very varied. It is burned mainly to counteract negative energy or planga blanca, an energy that cannot be seen or felt but is often linked to the onset of certain pathologies. It’s great for purifying small rooms and flushing out bad energy that collects in the tightest corners.
Palo Santo smudge is also very effective in meditation to facilitate the connection with nature and everything that surrounds us.

White sage

salviaWhite sage is a sacred plant to many Native American tribes, who use it in a variety of ways, including fumigation. Legend has it that in a Native American tribe, it was customary to make an offering to the White Bison and that a woman, poor but extremely devout, had offered some herbs that she had picked along the path towards the altar, herbs that the purity and sincerity of the gesture were transformed into silver leaves.
It is a plant with numerous properties, used in many purification rituals, to accompany trance, for prayers and meditation.

Sage apiana can be used to purify domestic environments if you believe there are particularly negative energies. Burning white sage in environments also helps reduce the number of bacteria. A smudge of white sage is burned generally at the beginning or ending of a ceremony, but also to purify the room after a painful event, or the first time you settle into a place, such as a new home or business.
In shamanic traditions, burning white sage also serves to purify people or their souls: the smudge is burned and then the smoke is blown on the person, from head to toe. White sage can also be used as a herbal tea, and some tribes use it in dessert mixtures.

Purify yourself to feel better about yourself

Renewing our energies, or the energies of an environment, helps to “clean” our lives to open ourselves up to new and unexpected points of view. Using herbs to purify ourselves opens the mind and puts us back in touch with nature, a connection that is often underestimated, which sometimes we don’t even know we’re missing.
Purifying ourselves through the smudge stick can make us feel better about ourselves and open us up to new experiences, both on a physical and spiritual level.

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