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Cleansing and Smudging

What is the Purpose of Smudging? [Finding the Right Herbs]

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Written by: Tina Caro

Smudging is a very popular practice, but do we really know what its purpose is? I think that only by knowing everything about this practice can we use it in the right way and enjoy all the benefits! So, let’s dive into this article dedicated to what the purpose of smudging is.

What is smudging?

Smudging is a shamanic practice done with completely natural incenses that exploit the healing power of a plant. Smudge sticks are easy to make but above all, they are the best alternative to the classic incense sticks that you find on the market, which are highly harmful to health among other things.


Smudging serves the purpose of cleansing and purifying energy in a space or person.

It is a ritual that involves burning herbs, like sage or Palo Santo, and allowing the smoke to clear negative or stagnant energy.

People use smudging to promote positive energy, remove negative influences, and create a sacred or peaceful environment.

It can also be a form of spiritual or ritualistic practice for various purposes, including meditation, healing, or connecting with higher consciousness.

Smudging a House

What is the purpose of smudging?

According to countless sources of ancient knowledge, all plants possess a sacred spirit, a transcendental spirit. And it is this pure and sacred nature of plants (and our interconnectedness) that has made its functions known:

  • Healing (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual)
  • Purification (purifies a space or our body)
  • Consecration
  • Guide
  • Protective
  • Social
  • Religious

Contrary to popular belief, the use of these plants for these purposes is not a new concept, nor a new age idea or the result of superstition. It is more a series of methods that humanity has used for millennia to keep in touch with the Earth and with the spirit of the world. It is something that helped us heal and support.


Shamanic incense: the smudging of American Indians

As Jane Alexander says in her book The Smudging and Blessings Book, smudging, that is, shamanic incense, has several abilities that can help us in various ways:

  • Eliminates negative energy from a place (e.g. in a house we have just moved into, or a place where we had a heated debate, etc…)
  • Helps to leave old relationships behind and to meet new acquaintances;
  • Celebrates several occasions throughout the year;
  • It helps to wake us up in a good mood in the morning, full of life, energy, and hope;
  • Stimulates sleep;
  • Takes away stress;
  • It helps to feel more protected from the chaos of the world.
Buy this book here (Amazon).

Likewise, many religions and cultures believe that plant smoke brings their prayers to heaven. “Smudging” is a practice that consists of burning packaged, intertwined, or untied herbs.

It doesn’t matter if the plants are wrapped up, twisted or loose, the smudging process remains the same: the smoke is directed around the body using your hands or a feather made specifically to wave smoke like this. Or it is directed around a place, depending on the goal of those who practice this technique (e.g. purify or heal).

Also read:
How to Light Sage for Smudging? [A Quick Guide]
Can Smudging Make Things Worse? Can it be Dangerous?

Which plants are best to use for smudging?

Each plant has a special effect and it can be used according to your needs. Let’s see which are:

  • Sage smudge sticks (many varieties such as white and garden varieties): purifies negative energy and removes nightmares. In addition to protecting against evil influences, it also ensures good health. Find out how to make sage smudge sticks here.
  • Sagebrush: treats wounds, migraines, and colds. Artemisia also defends against bad luck and evil spirits.
  • Cedar leaves smudge sticks: cedar leaves are famous for purifying the environment but also the person. Find out how to make cedar smudge sticks here.
  • Fir balm: purifies. In Asia, it is considered a tree symbol of the cosmos. Its ash has propitiatory properties.
  • Stevia: heals, purifies, and brings positive energy (even more effective if burned after smudging)
  • Mugwort smudge sticks: makes dreams clear, purifies, and calms the mind. It defends against evil spirits and bad luck. Use it to protect your home and the people you love. Find out how to make mugwort smudge sticks here.
  • Juniper: for a long time, it has been a tradition to burn a juniper branch on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It was used to purify the air. It keeps danger, sickness, and misfortune away.
  • Basil: basil is said to ward off economic problems. It protects and attracts prosperity.
  • Rosemary smudge sticks: it is a symbol of immortality. Gives joy and courage. It purifies the environment and drives away evil spirits. It was believed that it could protect people from curses. Find out how to make rosemary smudge sticks here.
  • Lavender: it was the sacred plant to the vestals. It was used to take away the evil eye and to attract fertility and prosperity.
  • Mullein: purifies the rooms of the sick and heals and improves respiratory functions.
  • Rose petals: they help in meditation, calming the mind, and attracting love.
  • Chaparral: purifies negative energies, protects, and calms the mind.
  • Peppermint: heals and protects.
  • Yarrow: eliminates toxins present in the body.
  • Lemon balm: purifies the spirit and calms the mind.

To prepare for smudging and to choose which plants to use, I highly recommend looking around and seeing what grows nearby. It’s a great way to connect with nature even more and start creating a bond with magic.

If you cannot find any of these herbs nearby your home, rely on an herbalist shop or buy it online. The only thing is that you should rely on professional shops with certified products to ensure you use natural and truthful ingredients.

Also read:
A Guide to Cleansing Herbs Magic [Herbs, How-To …]

The power of smoke

Each plant protects a sacred spirit according to the ancient traditions of the American Indians, and it is thanks to this sacred nature of the same that it is possible to derive healing benefits on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level, purify the environments and use them as guides and as protections.

When we feel blocked, negative, lazy, or even decidedly depressed, it is time to light the plants and savor the curative smoke. This is an ancient method, which boasts millennia of history, when the link between the Earth and the spirit was still sacred.

The shamans used the fumigation of aromatic plants mixed with resins to travel between dimensions, drive away evil beings and diseases, and to balance and heal. They immersed themselves in a state of trance, prayed, and invoked the spirits of Mother Earth and the Father Sun.

The smoke created by plants must be directed around the body to feel their energy and power; if you want to purify a room, just spread the smoke in it to feel the benefits.

Burning these herb sticks at home can help eliminate the negative energy that has been created perhaps due to an argument or even in a room where a sick person has lain; it helps to break free from old relationships; it instills energy for the start of a new day but also stimulates sleep by eliminating stress.

Furthermore, smudging helps to give a sense of protection from the outside world, which is hectic and chaotic.

Also read:
What to do With Sage Ashes or Stick after Smudging? [Guide]

Do you feel like you need cleansing? I can help you! I have a special spell for you if you need to cleanse yourself from negativity and have more protection! If you want to learn about what is going on in your life, if you are cursed, or if any negative energy is around you, order a tarot reading and gain special insight from Mystic Amber!

Tina Caro

Tina Caro is a witch with more than 10 years of experience, a yogi, an astrologer, and a passionate supporter of all things holistic! She’s also an owner of the website Magickal Spot where she discusses a variety of her favorite topics.

Magickal Spot has helped thousands of readers worldwide, and she’s personally worked with hundreds of clients and helped them manifest desires to have a happier and more abundant life.

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