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Smudging - Cleansing with Herbs

Updated: Aug 20, 2022

Smudging is an indigenous cleansing technique that dates back thousands of years. It entails lighting a bundle or braid of dry herbs and wafting the smoke about to cleanse individuals and/or places. Smudging cleanses, renews, and balances body, mind, and soul figuratively.

This technique is used by healers, practitioners, and anybody seeking mental serenity. Smudging produces a "cleaning" smoke bath, which mystics claim cleanses the physical and spiritual bodies while bringing harmony and emotional equilibrium. It emits negative ions, which, according to studies, produce a more positive atmosphere conducive to spiritual purification and connection with the spiritual world.

Some believe that burning plants sends aromas and vibrations into the air, replacing bad energies with the earth's healing qualities. Smudging is also now frequently used to break up stagnant energies by cleansing and rebalancing the energies of a place. Indigenous cultures believe that everything has a spirit or energy. When that energy is out of balance it can cause disharmony.

Many individuals conduct a smudging ritual when they move into a new home, after a disagreement, when preparing for the ritual, or when they sense bad energy gathering in their living environment. It is also customary to smudge during the changing of seasons or at the full/new moon. Smudge regularly to maintain a balanced space.

How to Effectively Smudge

To smudge, light the bundle or pieces of dry herbs like you would incense and allow it to settle from a flame to just smoke. The flame should die on its own, but it may be gently extinguished by fanning it. You can also use charcoal discs in a fire-safe bowl/dish (cauldron or other cast iron pot) and place the loose herbal blend on the lit charcoal.

Open all interior doors, cupboards, drawers, and windows to clear out unwanted energy and create a way for new energy. You want to move through each room and space, speaking your intention for the space to remove any and all energies not suited for your highest good. Allow the smoke to permeate into every part of your home/space. Much like sweeping, work your way from room to room, ending at the front door to usher the smoke out of your space.

To smudge yourself or another person, begin by wafting the smoke about your body. Start at your head and ending at the soles of your feet to clear your body and energy field of energetic attachments. Smudge with good intentions and mindfulness, speaking aloud that you are releasing any and all energies, not for your highest good.

Following a cleansing, burning sweetgrass or other sweetening herbs to refill or replace the space of the dispelled negative energy. To guard the entry, place a line of the herbs along your doorways. Below are some recommendations of herbs that are often used for smudging purposes.


Using Cedar for smudging has a similar effect as White Sage in being used for purification but Cedar also provides protection. Cedar is an excellent choice for creating a protective energetic barrier around yourself and your household. It is a powerful plant ally to consecrate your sacred spaces. It speaks to longevity and unwavering protection.


Invoking cypress energy enables a calm, grounded knowledge to permeate your environment and well-being, removing negativity and unwanted energies. Connecting to this ancestral and old knowledge opens the door to psychic abilities such as divination, astral projection, and lucid dreaming. If you wish to utilize cypress for dreamwork, your smudging ceremony should take place just before sleep.


Juniper is a great winter plant for balancing and inspiring divine male energy in a room and bringing in wealth and success while removing bad energy. Juniper is a beautiful method to bring in warmth and brightness while keeping balance and honoring the shadow. Juniper was formerly burnt in temples during cleansing rites. When you burn Juniper in your holy place, you may see your vessel as a shrine to your divinity.

When burnt in a personal ceremony, the soft flowery fragrance of lavender is mesmerizing. Lavender is believed to elevate the mood, remove bad emotions, and bring about a feeling of peace and relaxation in aromatherapy. Lavender may also help to calm the mind and induce peaceful sleep. Its delicate smoke sinks into the deepest corners of our energy and clear the space, like cobwebs from a forgotten cupboard, allowing light to enter us where we need it the most.


Rosemary is ideal for use in cleansing rituals. Rosemary, like sage, is perfect for burning as a cleansing herb. Rosemary is often burnt to make a new beginning in life. Whether it is quitting a habit, starting on a new path, or opening up to greater creativity, the strong and aromatic rosemary may assist in opening doors to the new.

Focus your attention on severing the energy connections that connect your current self to your past while you ignite the smudge stick. Imagine that everything from your past that is keeping you from your heavenly future is dissolving. Allow the smoke tendrils to lead you to your right path.

White Pine

Pine has historically been used to purify and clarify the environment and instill protection and harmony. Its vibrant and aromatic fragrance is an excellent complement to any meditation or smudging practice. Pine is often linked with both mental and exterior tranquility. Burning white pine has been utilized in traditional medical techniques to help ease pain in the body.


Thyme dates back to the ancient Greeks and is derived from their term for "fumigate," suggesting that this plant was often utilized in holy rituals. Thyme may be used in ceremonies to inspire power and bravery. The plant has also been reported to alleviate sorrow, pessimism, and despair, promote peaceful sleep and facilitate contact with faeries.

Palo Santo*

Palo santo is a Spanish word that means holy wood. Palo santo has been utilized in sacred rituals by Amazonian Shamans for thousands of years, going back to the time of the Incas. According to legend, smudging with palo santo benefits a place while eliminating bad energy and driving away evil spirits. Because their characteristics are so similar, they may be used in place of white sage in any recipe that calls for white sage.

Yerba Santa

Traditionally, Yerba Santa has been burnt to aid in healing and also aid in spiritual growth. It is also utilized as a protection herb to help you feel supported on your spiritual journey. Adding the herb to your home routine is also an excellent idea if you're just getting started with practicing greater self-love and self-care in your life.


Throughout centuries, purifying rites have included resins. Because resins are difficult to ignite, you'll need to put them on a charcoal disk to burn them. To burn resins, use a long match or lighter to ignite the edge of the charcoal and put it in a non-flammable container. A few resins commonly used are:

Frankincense & Myrrh

When paired with Myrrh, Frankincense brings the masculine element into balanced purification and protection. It drives out negativity and evil all while uplifting one's mood. It also is used in many consecration blends and also used to induce visions. Myrrh balanced the fiery energy of Frankincense with a cooling watery element. It increases the power of other resins and adds peaceful and uplifting energy when burned in conjunction with other incenses.


Copal is also used for purification along with adding a vibration of sweetness and love when burned. It is used in many consecration ceremonies and also to induce visions. There are over 300 varieties of Copal ranging from subtle sweet-smelling copal to a citrusy pine scent.

How to Work with Resins

Allow it to smolder for a minute before sprinkling a tiny quantity of resin on top. It is believed that the smoke of frankincense transports prayers to heaven. It may also be used to calm racing thoughts, which makes it helpful for mindfulness. Because myrrh is believed to calm the mind and connect the body's energy centers, it is often burned before meditations. Herbalists, medicine people, & rootworkers throughout history have recognized the use of herbs to aid in the removal of unwanted energies as an effective way of improving one's overall health and livelihood.

As you include this into your daily routine, be sure that you are using high-quality herbs and resins that have been responsibly harvested. The Alchemist Den is an excellent example of where you can shop for quality herbs, resins, & incense. Because online shops are frequently not interested in providing a high-quality ceremonial product that is also environmentally friendly, treat your medicinal plants the same way you would treat your food, buy organic and from a local source.

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