Sage

Using a smudge stick is part of many Native American traditions.  The burning of herbs for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification is also common practice among many religious, healing, and spiritual groups. The ritual of smudging can be defined as “spiritual house cleaning.” In theory, the smoke attaches itself to negative energy and as the smoke clears it takes the negative energy with it, releasing it into another space where it will be regenerated into positive energy.

Put the smudge stick to flame using a match or candle light.  Wave the flame with your hand to put out the fire. Allow the smudge stick to smolder, freeing the smoke to circle in the air. Fan the swirls of smoke around your body’s aura from head to toe.

In some cultures there are herbs that are connected to prayer, ceremony, meditation and other traditional ways. These herbs are considered to be sacred.

Smudging is the act of cleansing by fanning the smoke from a smoldering herb around an area, a person, or an object.  Some of the elements more commonly used for smudging are White Sage, Gray, Pinyon, Cedar, and Juniper.

I have made the Herbs of Grey Sage, White Sage and Sweetgrass available on this site.  The Sage and Sweetgrass have been wildcrafted and gathered in a good way. It is my hope that this will be of some assistance in that which you seek.

“Sage makes the bad spirits sick. They go away from it when it is burned. It does not make the good spirits sick. They will not leave when it is smoked. Sweetgrass is pleasant to all the spirits. Good spirits like it. Bad spirits like it. All like it. The smoke of Sweetgrass is pleasant to the good spirits. They come to the smoke. They are pleased with one who makes this smoke. They will listen to what such a one asks. But the bad spirits come also to enjoy the smoke. So, Sage must be burned to make them sick. Then, Sweetgrass to bring good spirits.”

In the semi arid mountains of Southern California grows a particular type of sage that is highly revered by American Indians – White Sage (Salvia Apiana).

For spiritual or medicinal purposes white sage is a powerful herb. The name salvia comes from the Latin word salveo, meaning ‘to heal’ (as in salvation). Apiana refers to the many bees that are attracted to its small white flowers.

White sage does not like the shade but prefers to grow on well drained slopes where temperatures can reach as high as 110 degrees. While other plants die in this extreme heat, white sage absorbs the suns energy to create aromatic oils that keep its leaves supple and alive. Because of the abundant amount of essential oils produced, white sage burns well as incense or smudge. American Indians have said that the smoke is useful not only for the purification of the body, but for material objects as well. For this reason sage is considered a sacred plant to many tribes.

For sweat lodges, some tribes boil up wild sage into a tea to splash on the heated stones when more steam is required, as well as to splash on their own bodies. Other tribes have placed pieces of sage in between the firewood in the belief that the plant will help to purify even the fire itself. In the Lakota yuwipi ceremony, a stem of sage is placed behind the right ear so that the spirits will know you.

>From ancient times sage has been associated with longevity and strength; its healing and fortifying properties have been realized through out the world. At one period in time the Chinese carried on a barter trade with Dutch merchants, exchanging as much as three times the weight of their own tea for the sage.

As well as being a culinary herb which helps digestion, sage is antispasmodic, stringent, antiseptic, antibiotic, and carminative. It relaxes peripheral blood vessels, reduces perspiration, salivation, lactation, reduces blood sugar levels, and is a mild sedative. Sage is also useful for dysentery and the early stages of a cold or flu. Being an excellent astringent and antiseptic, it’s a useful antidote for mouth infections, bleeding gums, cuts, burns, or insect bites. Some Indian tribes have used a salve of the leaves mixed with grease to treat skin sores.

Being an antispasmodic and astringent is of particular benefit in slowing the secretions of fluids. Thus it has been used for excessive perspiration, night sweats, or to stop the flow of milk. In many countries sage has been used as an anti fever remedy as well. Jamaicans use a cooling drink of sage tea as a treatment against fevers, while American Indians have applied sage tea rubdowns and sage baths to reduce fever.

CAUTION: Sage contains thujone, which should be avoided by epileptics or pregnant women.Recently published studies by a team of scientists from the Department of Microbiology and Chemotherapy at the Nippon Roche Research Center in Kamakura Japan, informed that powdered sage or sage tea helps to prevent blood clots from forming, and is quite useful in the prevention and treatment of myocardial infarction and general coronary pains.

Sweetgrass – Sweetgrass grows in the Plains area of the United States, and in Alberta, Canada. It is a tall, wide-bladed green grass with a reddish base. It is harvested when it reaches about fourteen inches in height. It smells pleasantly sweet when dried, and is traditionally braided together in long strands for storage & use.

Sweetgrass can be burnt as a purifier similar to sage. It feels lighter than sage, and is often burnt after using sage. It encourages positive vibrations to enter an area or room. Sweetgrass is also used in sweat lodges. Clippings are placed on the hot rocks throughout the sweat. Participants can rub the leaves on their bodies.

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