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Cleansing and Smudging

What Kind of Sage is Used for Smudging? [Different Shrubs]

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Written by: Tina Caro

Every morning, when we wake up, we usually open the windows in the rooms where we slept to change the air. Allowing oxygen in and sending out the stagnation of carbon dioxide of the night cleans up the environment: it’s like a burst of energy to start the day in the best possible way.

The same principle can be applied to the whole house or to a place that is vital to you (like a new business).

In fact, it can happen that our home is filled with “heavy air” and conditions our life negatively with states of tension, fatigue, and perhaps even migraines. Painting, thorough cleaning, and washing may not be enough!


The type of sage commonly used for smudging is known as “white sage” (Salvia apiana).

White sage is native to North America and has long, silvery-green leaves.

It is considered sacred by many Indigenous cultures and has been used traditionally for purification and spiritual cleansing rituals.

White sage is known for its strong, aromatic scent when burned, which is believed to help clear negative energy and promote positive energy in a space.

It’s important to source white sage sustainably and respectfully, as it is an important plant in Indigenous traditions.

Do you want to purify a new house? Or give vitality to your workstation? Nature is your friend, in this case, thanks to an ancient and widespread practice that allows you to balance the energies of a place: burning incense or herbal mixtures. Fumigation has millenary origins. Traditionally, it was used for healing rituals.

Sage VarietyDescriptionTraditional Uses
White SageGray-green leaves with strong, earthy aromaPurification, cleansing, and spiritual rituals
Desert SageSilvery leaves with a lighter, sweeter scentClearing negative energy and promoting harmony
Blue SageGrayish-green leaves with a subtle floral scentRelaxation, peace, and soothing atmosphere
Black SageDark green leaves with a strong, aromatic scentProtection, banishing negative influences
Garden SageSilvery-green leaves with a savory aromaHealing, wisdom, and attracting positive energy
Clary SageGray-green leaves with a musky, herbal scentEmotional balancing and enhancing intuition
Mugwort (White Sagebrush)Silvery leaves with a strong, herbal aromaDivination, lucid dreaming, and psychic work
Table 1: Common Types of Sage

Even today, it is widespread in sacred places: just think of the incense used in churches during the most important celebrations.

We all know sage has strong, powerful cleansing properties, but did you know that there are many different varieties of sage and each one of them has special properties for certain spiritual goals?

Let’s see all we need to know about each kind of sage and how to choose the right one to cleanse our space, ourselves, and feel amazing in tune with some fresh, positive energy.

What kind of sage is used for smudging?

Sage VarietyScentColorTraditional UsesAvailability
White SageStrong, earthyGray-greenPurification, cleansing, and spiritual ritualsWidely available
Desert SageLight, sweetSilveryClearing negative energy and promoting harmonyModerately available
Blue SageSubtle, floralGrayish-greenRelaxation, peace, and soothing atmosphereModerately available
Black SageStrong, aromaticDark greenProtection, banishing negative influencesLess available
Garden SageSavorySilvery-greenHealing, wisdom, and attracting positive energyWidely available
Clary SageMusky, herbalGray-greenEmotional balancing and enhancing intuitionModerately available
Mugwort (White Sagebrush)Strong, herbalSilveryDivination, lucid dreaming, and psychic workModerately available
Table 2: Smudging Sage Comparison

White sage (Salvia apiana)

To purify, protect, and refresh the energy around you

White sage is the most popular and used sage for smudging. It is one of the most used medicinal plants in the world of natural medicine since it maintains all kinds of benefits and no contraindications. Its cleansing and purifying power is enormous.

Its scientific name is Salvia Apiana and it grows wild in the southwestern United States, mainly in California, and northwestern Mexico. Its size can reach more than one meter in height and its leaves are whitish with very particular bluish tones. White sage is ideal to burn as incense.

Traditionally, the Indians of North America burned white sage with a seashell, which represented water. They introduced the burning coal representing fire, and by burning the sage in the shell, they obtained a white smoke with a unique aroma representing the wind. The man was the earth and the union of all the ingredients formed the fifth element, the spirit.

For these tribes, it was a sacred plant, and when it was burned in their ceremonies, they were smoked with the white smoke that it gave off to purify both their physical and emotional bodies and places and objects. Most of the medicinal properties of white sage are in its leaves, which absorb the energy of the sun and produce a large number of essential oils that aromatize the plant. When we burn its leaves, they give off a very pleasant aroma, providing a feeling of well-being, peace, and good energy.

The use of white sage incense is especially useful in times of great change in our lives when we can end up intoxicated by stagnant energies or negative and obsolete thought patterns. Salvia has the power to eliminate these vibrations, purifying our energy fields, and bringing sufficient clarity and strength to remain firm in our goals.

White sage is also very beneficial when taken as an infusion, as it serves as a natural sedative, calming the nervous system and controlling anxiety.

Common sage (Salvia officianalis)

To purify objects, people, and places

Sage is a symbol of the Goddess, even though it corresponds to the male, to the planet Jupiter, and to the element of air. The most common use in the holistic and spiritual environment is that of spreading its aromas in the air, through essential oils, or, even more traditionally, through smudging.

Probably deriving from shamanic traditions, the creation of bundles of sage, held together with a thread of cotton or natural hemp, is an ancient method of preparation and drying of this plant, especially for the white Californian species.

The bundles are lit on one side to generate a flame for a few seconds and then extinguish with a breath, so that an aromatic smoke comes from them and is used to purify environments, objects, and people.

Blue sage (Salvia azurea)

To perform spiritual cleansing rituals

The smudge of blue sage (a bunch of herbs and leaves) comes from a plant that grows in the deserts of the southwestern United States. It is named for its abundant blue flowers. It has thin leaves and an herbaceous and floral fragrance, similar to lavender.

A close relative of white sage, it has a less pungent scent and is ideal for people who prefer more delicate aromas. In the esoteric field, blue sage is recognized for its beneficial and purifying properties. The combination of these elements makes this smudge ideal for spiritual well-being and energetic cleansing rituals.


Black sage (Salvia mellifera)

To cleanse night energy

Black sage is appreciated for aiding rest and sleep; it is also used to facilitate astral travel and shamanic experiences. The combination of these elements makes this smudge ideal for finding relaxation and inner peace.

Black sage comes from a plant that grows along the mountains that stretch from western California to British Columbia. Black sage is widely known for its spiritual and esoteric properties, so if you are dealing with nightmares and sleeps paralysis and you think it’s because of some dark entities, black sage is the right ingredient.

Desert sage (Salvia dorrii)

To cleanse your thoughts

The smudges of desert sage are burned to purify environments and raise thoughts; tradition has it that it can instill pleasant thoughts and a sense of relaxation, ward off worries and pessimistic visions, and stimulate inner strength.

Once the smudge is lit, you can purify the house by entering each room and walking around the perimeter of the rooms in a counter-clockwise direction; when you want to act on yourself or someone else, wrap your body up with smoke. A smudge of desert sage lasts for several smudging rituals.

How to choose the right kind of sage for smudging?

Just think about what you want to achieve. What’s going on that is generating negative energy? Which part of your life needs some energetic boost? Try to listen to yourself and your intuition to unveil what’s truly going on within yourself and around you.

Many times, negative energy around us is the result of our internal struggles and feeling off-balance. Try to focus on this and choose the perfect kind of sage to smudge and cleanse!

Do you feel you need some fresh, new energy? Do you need protection, or do you want to cleanse yourself, your place, and your aura from some heavy, dark, negative energy?

If you don’t want to smudge your place but you need a change, don’t forget I can help with my spell casting service! Check out my shop and select the best options for you and for your specific situation!

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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