The science of smudging


Burning a sage smudge stick

I’m taking a moment to burn some sage and “smudge” my wordpress……………………Ah that’s better… my blog is now cleansed and purified! ha ha ha

Nah but seriously did you know that smudging may actually have life-saving implications by literally purifying the air of harmful bacteria?

Smudging (in case you don’t know) is the ritualistic burning of fragrant or medicinal herbs usually bound together to form a stick. It’s is a traditional practice among many indigenous cultures but more recently it’s been popularised by new age and neo-pagan enthusiasts.

Many view smudging a type of magical practice, but recent scientific studies have shown that medicinal smoke is a powerful antiseptic that can purify the air of 94% of harmful bacteria for up to 24 hours.

One study even found that a full month after burning sage “seven other pathogenic bacteria in the open room were still non-detectable”.

To be honest I don’t really think or concern myself with potential harmful bacterias floating about.. but it’s just so interesting that smudging does have this literal property.

I recently bought and dried my own sage (cheaper than buying a pre made smudge stick).. and cleansed my house with it. Yep I did it like a hippy to shift some negative “vibes” .. Something I noticed almost immediately was that I felt very relaxed and almost “stoned.” This has happened to me before and I’ve attributed it to the carbon dioxide of the smoke or the placebo effect of “cleansing” my space.

However I really did feel intensely mood-altered so I wondered if there was perhaps a mild psychoactive component in sage. A quick trawl of the interwebs led me to this site which said

“Modern science has proven that the aroma of sage increases the oxygen supply to the brain, producing a physical relaxation of muscle tension. When burned, sage and other herbs release negative ions, which research has linked to a more positive mood.”

I’d have to dig deeper to validate this claim but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s true. A few friends have also said they felt stoned after burning sage so I don’ think it’s just my imagination.

Regardless of the hard evidence, I enjoy burning sage and my place does feel better somehow afterwards. There’s just a different vibe. Ok so there’s nothing scientific about that last sentence but I’m pretty convinced at this point there’s more to sage than magical thinking.

vital mind pic





2 thoughts on “The science of smudging

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s