Burning Sage

The Many Benefits of Burning Sage

Have you been considering burning sage to improve your home’s air quality, reduce anxiety or depression, and improve your well-being in general? If you are looking for a way to adjust the energy of your home, the healing and antibacterial properties in sage make it one of the best tools for creating a fresh environment.

Also known as Salvia, sage has been used for a very long time both as a health booster and as a spice. It has been historically used in Rome, Egypt, and Greece, and has been part of the healing traditions of many Native American cultures. Burning sage is done as a way to protect, heal, boost defense against disease, and some believe that the smoke can clear negative energy from people and places. The ancient practice of burning sage has a long history, and it is still a popular focus within many rituals today.

The Different Types of Sage

There are many different types of sage products for you to consider. Some of the most well-known sage bundle options includes white sage, Chinese sage, Spanish sage, and common sage. The botanical term for the common variety is Salvia officinalis, and it comes as a sage stick or smudge stick. For each type of sage you will burn the smudge stick until smoke comes out. All types of sage are said to have the same energy clearing properties and can help many areas within your home.

Can You Use Sage Internally?

There are many different methods of using sage to improve your well-being, and many of them can be applied for different purposes.

Not only can you use sage by burning it in a process known as smudging, but you can also take it internally in capsule, lozenge, tablet, liquid, or spray form.

While there is research pointing to the many benefits of sage in all of these different methods, it is still preliminary, and more research is required in order to clearly define the benefits of ingesting sage over using sage for burning.

How Sage Benefits Your Body

  • Protects from free radical damage
  • Reduces oxidative stress in your body
  • Provides headache relief
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Provides relief for a sore throat
  • Improves mood and reduces depression
  • Protects against memory loss
  • Helps digestion
  • Protects against viral and bacterial infections

Overall, it is believed that many of the benefits provided by sage are related to its phenolic compounds. Not only do these help reducing free radicals in your body, but they also have a powerful antioxidant effect. There are two compounds in sage that are known to have this effect, which are carnosic and Rosmarinic acid.

The Benefits of Burning Sage in Your Home

There are different reasons for why you may want to either burn sage or take it internally in one of its many forms. The burning of sage itself is actually a historical spiritual ritual, often referred to as smudging.

It’s undeniable that many health conditions are linked to poor air quality. Fortunately, burning sage is known to be a very cost-effective way to purify the air, to a certain extent. Sage is actually known to have excellent antimicrobial properties, which help kill viruses, fungi, and bacteria alike.

Despite its air-purifying effect, it’s important to remember that burning sage creates smoke, which can be a significant problem for people who are prone to respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Many practitioners of alternative medicine feel that burning sage can be a good way to help release negative energy, and that taking it internally can help with your energy as well. A lot of people choose to even use a cleansing sage spray in their homes.

Some of the known benefits of sage burning includes:

  • Repelling insects
  • Purifying air or objects
  • Removing bacteria from the air
  • Reducing anxiety and stress
  • Improving mood
  • Improving intuition

The Effects of Sage on Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, not enough research has been done to check whether the claimed benefits of sage are true. This means there isn’t clear support for the use of sage as a practice to aid any type of mental health condition. Nevertheless, preliminary research has shown that there may be certain mental health-related benefits associated with its use, and many do believe that it can get rid of negative energy, which can definitely help your mental health.

According to a study in 2005, sage is able to improve both cognition and memory. Larger doses were shown to be able to improve feelings of alertness, calmness, contentment, and a generally improved mood.

Some of the active compounds in sage have also shown to protect from certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Is Sage Safe to Use?

The benefits of sage for health purposes has been generally recognized as safe. It has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to be used as a seasoning or spice.

It’s important, however, to keep in mind that certain species of sage contain a compound called thujone, which is known to have a negative effect on the nervous system. A dose of more than 12 drops of sage oil is known to be toxic, as well, so be sure to practice caution.

As with any substance, sage can have side effects, especially if used incorrectly for an extended period. Symptoms can include vomiting, kidney damage, tremors, seizures, vertigo, and rapid heart rate, although this is extremely unlikely from just burning it.

Just as is the case with any type of complementary alternative medicine, it’s important to let your doctor know if you plan on using sage, regardless of whether you do it internally or by burning.

When it comes to pets or children, it is safe to burn sage around them as well unless they have any respiratory conditions that may be aggravated by the smoke. They might not like the smell, though.

How to Begin Burning Sage

If you’ve been thinking about starting to burn sage in your home, the good news is that there isn’t any significant likelihood of any negative effects.

Regardless of the lack of definitive evidence supporting this practice, there is no reason not to burn sage if you believe that doing so benefits either your mental or physical health. As well-being practices go, burning sage is relatively harmless and cost-effective, and it’s always good to try something new.

That being said, in order to start smudging, another term for burning sage, the first thing you need to do is find a source.

Most people find their source of sage either by searching online, visiting a health store, or going to a traditional energy healer or shaman.

You also have the option of growing your own, and then later drying it for burning. If you do so, remember to trim the sage instead of pulling it out by the root. Avoid cutting stems from your plant until you are 100% sure that the remaining plant will be able to sustain itself. Once your sage is cut, all you need to do is gather it in a bundle, tie it, and hang it somewhere dry. The bundle should be dry enough that it crackles when squeezed.

A lot of traditional sage users believe that your intention matters when it comes to burning, and many of them would suggest that you purchase it from a safe place or from someone that you trust. If you’re a beginner, a good way to start is with a pre-wrapped bundle, or maybe a stick of white sage, which will be easier to handle.

Regardless of how you go about obtaining your sage, the basic steps for burning it won’t change much.

The Steps for Burning Sage

First of all, you’re going to need something in which to burn your sage. A good option would be a bowl, or maybe an incense train which will catch the ashes as the sage burns.

Another option is to buy a sage burner, which you should fill with earth or sand. Remember not to use a flammable container, and to always keep water readily at hand.

Before you start burning your sage, it can be a good idea to open a door or window, in order to allow the smoke to exit your house. Once you took the safety measures, all you need to do is put your sage in your burning container and light it up. After letting you burn for at least 30 seconds or so, you can start blowing it out so it keeps smoking. If you notice it’s not emitting smoke anymore, you can light it up again.

If you plan on using your sage for a spiritual purpose, it’s a good idea to set an intention for the process. For instance, if you’re looking for a new beginning, you can keep that idea in your mind.

After the stage starts burning reliably, you can walk into each room in your house that you want to purify. Just remember not to let any of the rooms fill up with too much smoke, and avoid inhaling the sage smoke directly.


Burning sage is a practice that has been around for centuries, and it still maintains its popularity today as a source of improving your overall well-being. Native American cultures relied on sage for energy healing, and research has also shown sage to be beneficial due to its antibacterial properties.

If you’re looking to ward off insects, have fresher, cleaner air, or if you’re looking to practice holistic means for reviving good energy in your home, consider smudging as part of your new daily routine.