Ancient Practice of Smudging Clears the Air

Smudging is the technique of burning sacred plants and using the smoke for both medicinal and ceremonial purposes. With the fall season upon us and winter approaching, this transitional time of year often brings with it colds, flu, and respiratory illnesses. Smudging is a useful method for purifying and cleansing an indoor space, both physically and energetically.

There are several plants that are traditionally used in native North American smudging rituals such as sage, cedar, and sweetgrass. The leaves and grasses are gathered, dried, arranged into bundles or braided, tied with string, and burned for their purifying properties. Another excellent smudging tool is Palo Santo (which translates to 'holy wood'), a sustainably harvested wood from native South American trees.

To use these herbs and wood for smudging, light the tip of the stick or bundle until a flame catches and then extinguish the flame by blowing gently on it as it burns. Loose or powdered forms can be burned on charcaol in a heat-resistant container filled with dirt or sand. The sweet, aromatic smoke can be used in the treatment of colds, flu, asthma, inflammation, stress, anxiety and depression, and is also an effective insect repellent. In addition, the smoke can be used to energetically purify a space in preparation for meditation, prayer, and ritual.

Juniper Ridge is a company in Berkeley, California that produces wild harvested bundles of herbs, as well as incense sticks, essential oils, and loose-leaf tea. Learn more about their sustainable practices at:

Sacred Wood Essence, a company based out of Ashland, Oregon, offers Palo Santo sticks, powder, and essential oil for purchase. For more information about these sacred wood products, visit:

Locally grown sweetgrass braids harvested by the Wedge's own Julie Aponte are also available in-store.