What is a White Sage Smudge Stick?
Have you ever seen someone burn a rustic-looking bundle of dried herbs to cleanse their new home or work space? Well, that herb was most likely white sage. Though some people may find this practice a little odd, burning sacred herbs as a safeguard against evil or negative energy actually dates centuries back, to Ancient Babylonian practices. In most recent history, Native Americans continued this ritual throughout North and South America, and burnt this culturally-sacred herb to ward off negative energy and rid their homes and temples of bad spirits. The botanical word for sage, ‘Salvia’, actually comes from the Latin words, meaning “to heal”, and its medicinal properties as well as its natural ability to repel insects (like ladybugs), is probably at the root of its mystical history.
If you plan to use white sage as a smudge stick or to smolder for cleansing, makes sure you harvest the leaves in the late summer through early fall . Spread them out to dry slightly, allowing them to wilt until the leaves become leathery feeling. Then, bind them together with string and hang in a moisture-free place to continue drying. This will ensure that your white sage smudge stick lasts longer (up to two years) and will burn slower. Whether you are growing white sage to spice up your rack of lamb or to cleanse the energy of previous tenants from your home, this beautiful, silvery herb is a lovely attraction in the garden.
Commonly known as “man sage”, “prairie sage” or “Mexican sagebrush”, white sage is a versatile herb. Used to season meats, veggies and breads, much like its more common culinary relative, garden sage, white sage also lends a savory flavor to your favorite dish. Medicinally white sage is very valuable. An antibacterial and decongestant, it can be applied as a poultice, taken in tea form, or chewed for its healing essential oils. Throughout history white sage has been used to cure everything from the common cold to lessening the effects of a heavy menstrual cycle, and modern medicine has proven that it may help the body absorb and maintain insulin more easily, making it of great potential to diabetics. The USDA has also deemed white sage safe and approved as an effective eczema treatment and it has also shown strong signs of curing strep throat.
How to Make a Smudge Stick with White Sage
White Sage Smudge Stick,
The most important point: use White Sage (Salvia Apiana) or another appropriate herb when making a Smudge Stick as there are many herbs that can be either 1) toxic or 2) set off an allergic reaction or simply 3) does not burn well. Harvest nice large, healthy leaves in the early AM on a clear and dry day. Pick enough leaves for a nice, fat bundle and try to harvest similarly sized leaves (the larger the better).
Bundle the leaves together, pressing tightly
Tie a sturdy knot around the stem end, leaving a long ‘tail’
- Remember to use a natural twine, a material that will burn easily (embroidery thread is a good choice)
- Wrap your bundle from top to bottom, and then from bottom to top so that you end up with a zig-zag pattern
- Wind the string around the top of the bundle and leave another ‘tail’ on the opposite end of your stick
- Tie the 2 ‘tails’ together to create a handle, and hang your White Sage Smudge Stick in a dry, dark and moisture-free place until it is completely dried