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Chances are, you’ve heard of sage smudging at some point, but did you know that there are a ton of different types of smudging used similarly? Of course, you could always use incense and wave it around to do your smudging, but true smudging requires dried botanicals. So what additional herbs used in smudging ceremonies are there, and why?
What is Smudging?
Let’s start with the basics. What is a smudging ceremony? The concept of burning herbs (then putting it out to produce smoke), and using it to create wards, cleanse auras and energies dates back to indigenous cultures, although cultures across the world have used variations of this just as long (IE: incense).
It’s an important spiritual ritual, creating a cleansing smoke bath for your home, environment, or self to energetically purify (PS: this totally counts adding to your self-care regimen!)
What are the benefits of smudging?
The complete answer depends on what you are using to smudge. But in a general answer, smudging is used to purify places, ward against things such as negativity, or create a protective shield. Ultimately it is used to affect the energy or aura of a person or place.
How do you Smudge?
I’ll be going into further detail another day, but in short, you need intent, the appropriate materials, and to create a ritual. Let’s talk about each briefly before we talk about the specific herbs used in smudging ceremonies:
Intent | Do you want to ward off evil or cast protection? Do you want to cleanse negative energy or invite positive energy? Are you cleansing a sacred place for meditation? Adding protection to your home? Choose your intent wisely so you can use the correct herb(s).
Materials | You will need the correct herb(s) aligned to your intent, a charcoal tablet if you are using loose herbs or resin, something to hold the smudge stick (or the charcoal tablet), something to light it, and something to put it out.
Ritual | Many cultures and religions have specific rituals; including walking through your home in counter-clockwise, leaving windows and doors open through the process, or saying a specific prayer to cast your intent. Research each to find out what is recommended for your specific intent and feel free to choose what feels comfortable and appropriate to you.
Common Herbs Used in Smudging Ceremonies
🌿 SAGE* | Let’s start with the best-known herb used in smudging ceremonies. Sage is known for cleansing and purifying energy. It’s commonly used to remove deep-seated negativity in a home, and to create neutral environments for meditation. It brings prosperity, good luck, and protection during house blessings, and is often used for mind, body, and soul ceremonies as well due to it’s spiritual channeling energies.
*It’s important to mention that there are quite a few different types of Sage, with White Sage being the most widely used. Although all have similar uses, this description is for White Sage specifically.
🌿 LAVENDER | Long been linked to peace, love, and happiness, people have been using lavender for hundreds of years to fight insomnia, depression, even anxiety, and restlessness. Acting as a ward, lavender smudging banishes evil spirits, while it purifies harmful energies, inviting positive energy, and promoting longevity and happiness.
🌿 MYRRH | Ancient Egyptians used the resin Myrrh for both healing and embalming, while Abrahamic religions use it for anointing and pain relief. It is known for enlightenment, healing, and grounding the consciousness. One of the more expensive herbs used in smudging ceremonies, this is great for creating healing environments, summoning spirits, and casting protection.
🌿 BASIL | OFten acting as a substitute for Sage for those with allergies, basil is the perfect household herb for cleansing any space. It is known for inviting happiness, steadying the mind, and establishing peace within your sacred space while also attracting both love and money.
🌿 CLOVES | A strong herb for banishing negative energy, improving hostile environments, and purifying areas. Cloves are known as psychic enhancers as they can produce spiritual vibrations, and are often used for attracting love, and healing relationships.
🌿 CHAMOMILE | Popular in the beauty world, this fragrant flower is known for attracting happiness, money, and love. It is also used for creating calming and tranquil spaces as it purifies and leaves protection wards, as well as purifying, removing, and blocking curses.
🌿 COPAL| This resin is a sacred sap to the native people of Mexico, often used as a gift to the gods. It is believed it has a direct link to other spiritual planes, and due to this connection, it is often found in exorcism rites and consecration rituals. It also has purifying and cleansing abilities which makes it a great
🌿 DILL | A fantastic household herb used for attracting money, protection, good luck, and even lust. Perfect for house blessings and room cleansing as it banishes evil spirits, and purifies the mind to be cognizant of the supernatural.
🌿 GINGER | This protective herb is great for summoning adventure and new experiences. Its commonly used for inviting passion, confidence, prosperity, and success into a space or person. In the magickal world, ginger is considered a very powerful token.
🌿 ALLSPICE | Known for its uplifting properties, Allspice increases positive energy and determination. It’s used for attracting money, good luck, abundance, and prosperity. Mayans and Aztecs used allspice leaves for embalming, and healing and consequently it is still used today for the same healing purposes.
🌿 SWEETGRASS| Seneca grass is a sweet vanilla scented grass that grounds connection to mother earth. It brings happiness and healing to all – in fact so much it’s often burned with sage to ‘uninvite’ unwanted guests. It’s used to home blessings, and before big events to bring happiness and positivity to all. Native American’s used it for Shamanic and healing rituals as well.
🌿 DANDELION | Generally used for divination, dandelions are known for their ability to call upon spirits, enhance psychic abilities including second sight and lucid dreaming. All while healing and purifying to remove negative energy. Great for readying a sacred space, making wishes, and bring good luck and protection to your home.
🌿 PALO SANTO | The name Palo Santo means “Holy wood”, and is used for deep healing and clearing energy. Perfect for removing curses from your home or aura. The citrus-like scent is the ideal healing herb as it is known for relieving the symptoms such as headaches, inflammation, emotional trauma, and even colds.
🌿 THYME | This memory-boosting herb is great for removing obstacles, mental blocks, and negative feelings. It attracts loyalty, good luck, health, and affection while providing warding from grief, negative energies, and even nightmares. This household herb is often used as a general cleansing and purification substitute to sage when allergies abound.
🌿 CALENDULA | This pretty scented flower is a fantastic all-purpose herb to keep around. It can be used in anything from purification to ceremonial purposes. It brings the home protection, keeping evil from entering, and makes wishes come true. It also enhances psychic and spiritual powers and brings positive outcomes in legal matters.
🌿 ECHINACEA | A powerful herb to add strength to any intent. It’s particularly powerful for healing purposes. Known to the natives of the Americas for curing anything from snake bites to colds. Providing the user with strength, determination, and good luck, it also invites money into the user’s life.
🌿 BAYBERRY | Bayberry is a magical shrub, where every part is good for something. The roots are antibacterial, the berries contain a wax used in candles, and the leaves are fragrant. This is usually an herb added to your smudge bundle for added protection, good luck, and money-drawing. It is often used for house blessings and seasonal tidings.
🌿 PINE | Generally used for cleansing the home of negative energies, and invite protection, Pine is also associated with prosperity, good health, success, and grounding. It is a great herb for home blessings and new beginnings and bringing persistence and confidence to the user.
🌿 CATNIP | This therapeutic herb is great for both humans and cats! Inviting love, happiness, positive spirits, good luck, and beauty into the home while cleansing of negative spirits, and purifying the atmosphere and providing protective wards to the home or sacred space. It is said to be able to rid bad dreams, behavioral problems, and bad habits.
🌿 FRANKINCENSE| Another resin important to Ancient Egyptian and Abrahamic religions, Frankincense is used for death rituals to cleanse and protect the soul. It is said to ease depression, reduce stress and tension, and enhance psychic abilities as well because it can access ancient knowledge to draw spiritual influence. Great for cleansing highly negative or stressful environments, and enhancing the spiritual atmosphere in sacred spaces.
🌿 BAY | Bay leaves are a great household herb for inviting protection, good fortune, success, healing, and even strengthening psychic powers. Not only inviting protection, it blocks against black magick while banishing negative energy. It is said to be able to bring wishes to life, as well as boosting moods, and calming anxiety.
🌿 LILAC | The soothing, relaxing, and grounding scent of lilacs is the perfect addition to any smudge bundle. It is also known to bring wisdom, good memory, good luck, romance, and even spiritual aid to the user. In fact, it is said to allow the user to walk between the worlds, thinning the veil for a time. Lilac is also strongly associated with renewal and spring.
🌿 ALFALFA | This money herb is said to invite money and prosperity into the user’s home while warding against poverty and hunger and providing good fortune in money related events. It also is a healing herb, promoting enjoyment in life, and confidence.
🌿 AMARANTH | The spiritual herb Amaranth is known for its ability to remove intuition blocks and summon spirits. It also aids in healing, and comfort, especially for broken hearts. The flower also goes by the name Flower of Immortality, offering protection to the user.
🌿 PEPPERMINT | This household herb is a popular winter home cleansing blend with its refreshing and soothing scent. It is used to increase vibrations of your home or sacred space, as well as heal and purify, clearing out sickness and negative energy. It can also be used to aid in sleeping ailments, and bring about prophetic dreams while boosting love and abundance wishes.
🌿 CEDAR | Cedar trees are very old making them both wise and powerful spirits. It’s great for home blessings to banish fear and evil spirits, and leave protective wards on people and places. Besides protecting, it’s linked to renewal and grounding and is used to enhance physic powers. Cedar is a great beginner smudge stick because it invites positive spirits while eliminating negative energies.
🌿 ROSE | Roses are of course linked to love, happiness, and prosperity. Smudge sticks that include rose are often used to attract love, increase sexual appetites, uplift low energy, all while cleansing negative energies. Rose is often combined with other herbs used in smudging ceremonies simply to avoid too many love-struck spirits joining the party.
🌿 JUNIPER | Specifically linked to Natives from the Americas, it is great for stimulating the mind, body, and soul, waking the senses, and accessing psychic abilities and planes. Historically it was used for purification and cleansing of temples. It’s perfect for the home to remove negative energy and attract positive energy and good fortune!
🌿 MUGWORT | Mugwort is usually mixed with white sage to create ‘Black Sage’, which is what you’ll find more often than just ‘mugwort’. However alone, it is a cleansing herb used to remove negative energy. Known as the ‘dream weed’ it is most commonly used to deepen intuitive abilities as it increases psychic visions, and aids in astral projection, lucid dreaming, and divination.
🌿 ROSEMARY | Soothing and peaceful, Rosemary is a powerful cleansing herb that removes negative energy. Great for readying meditations and divination sacred spaces. It is commonly added to sage to enhance its abilities and bring about healing energies.
🌿 ASPEN | Traditionally, Aspen is used for protection, especially against thieves. It’s also a well-known anxiety reducer and general healing. It is also popular during Samhain to protect from unwanted spirits and helps disperse fears, invite eloquence, and promote clairvoyance.
🌿 EUCALYPTUS | Well known for its healing properties during the cold season, as well as headaches and muscle relief, it also boosts the healing vibrations in your home. A great cleansing and protective plant for energizing and purifying your space. It can also be used for healing relationships and boosting mental health.
🌿 LEMONGRASS | Lemongrass is ideal for purifying and cleansing spaces with its energizing and refreshing scent. It encourages clarity and focus in the home, and invites psychic cleansing and romance while banishing evil spirits, and releasing stress and anxiety. The perfect uplifting plant for any smudging ceremony to create a positive atmosphere.
🌿 CINNAMON | The household spice Cinnamon is best known for its healing properties including against colds, the flu, anxiety, and lowering blood sugar. But burning cinnamon still has the same healing and protection benefits. It also invites money, success, power, love, good luck, and prosperity. Use it to draw protective vibrations, and stimulate psychic powers.
🌿 BLUE SPRUCE | Due to the high cost, Blue Spruce is arguably one of the most expensive and therefore rarest option for smudging your home. It has a very welcoming earthy scent great for cleansing and purifying and invites serenity, grace, and nobility into the home or sacred space.
Smudging is a hugely personal and versatile activity. There are a variety of herbs used in smudging ceremonies. If you have allergies to one herb, chances are another will provide the same effects without the allergic reactions. Allergies aside, feel free to mix and match to personal preference and needs to amp up (or down) your environment, and enjoy the lovely smells!
IMPORTANT: Smudging herbs are not intended for internal consumption. Smudge sticks should never be left unattended and used by an adult only. Consult a physician for allergies prior to use. Information for educational purposes only, no guarantee the herbs used in smudging ceremonies will work for you.
There you have it, common herbs used in smudging ceremonies. Perfect for shaking things up in your home, or enhancing certain intents based on your needs. Do you use any of the aforementioned herbs in your smudging rituals, or anything different? Drop a comment below and let me know your favorite herbs for smudging!