Drying sage and making smudges with these beautiful scented plants has been happening by ancient cultures and tribes for centuries. Back then, they were used in cultural rituals and to heal ailments. Today it can be a spiritual pursuit, with the added bonus of clearing the air in your home and relaxing the body.
The natural aromas of salvias can relax the nervous system, ward of stress, depression and calm people for readiness to sleep.
Spiritually smudge sticks are used in rituals to purify the energy around your body, spaces or objects using their powerful scents which are given off in the light smoke.
To make the most of the herbs and sages I have been growing in the garden, I decided to look into making smudges and using them to provide calm in my home.
It’s important that you know which plants you are growing and if they are suited for smudging. Some salvias can cause adverse effects if they are burnt, so you should do your research so you know which ones are safe to use. Always use a heat-proof dish to smoulder your smudge in, so there is no risk of fire. Be safe and responsible with smoking embers.
Clary Sage - this sage was thought to be used in the Middle Ages to “clear” the eyes. It has a strong scent and high oil content. Its thought that it can calm extreme emotions and restore inner tranquility. I love it’s smell, I find it soothing. The leaves grow quite huge in our red dirt, and we are enjoying growing it.
Mountain Desert Sage - native to California, this sage has a strong peppery bay or mint quality, as it is quite herbaceous. The leaves are quite small but the plant produces a beautiful flower and it adds a lot of zing to a smudge! Used by native Americans to purify, cleanse, burned for protection and inner strength.
Culinary Sage - common sage, that you can add into your cooking can also be used in smudges, if you aren’t able to grow any fancy ones, it will do! This is one that is multi-purpose so as long as your intent is pure, smudge away. In fact it has many beneficial properties that are similar to White Sage, which is the salvia superstar of smudging.
You can add all sorts of herbs to your smudges. I have basil, mint, rosemary and lavender to add in there. Some people also add dried rose petals and flowers (like calendula) for their oils and fragrance.
The meaning of 'Salvia'
It’s interesting to note that the name “Salvia” comes from Latin word salvere, meaning to heal, preserve or redeem.
Luck, wisdom and togetherness.
Burning Sage has had long ties with bringing good luck, associated with protection and granting of wishes. It appears in many spells of European Witchery. Its known to build emotional strength and can offer calm.
It’s said to be unlucky to grow Sage for yourself, you must receive the plant from others so get a seedling from a friend or swap. It shouldn’t be planted by itself (it’s bad luck) in a bed or it may not thrive, apparently the plant loves company and should be planted with other flowers in a bed or pot.
Burn the Sage, clear the air...
Sage plants repel pests, probably due to the oils contained in the leaves, which means they are very hardy and easy to grow. They also thrive in the heat and dry conditions, so growing it here in Australia is very simple.
I found one of my son's in particular has responded very well to the smudge we burn, has slept better and enjoyed the scent that lingers in the house. While its not for everyone, its great that we can use our herbs in yet another way around the home.