What is California White Sage?
Salvia apiana, the white sage, bee sage, or sacred sage, is an evergreen perennial shrub that is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, found mainly in the Coastal sage scrub habitat of Southern California and Baja California.
Benefits of Burning Sage
The most-used types of sage have antimicrobial properties. This means they keep infectious bacteria, viruses, and fungi at bay.
White prairie sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) is both antimicrobial and antibacterial. White sage (Salvia apiana) Is also antimicrobial. And both have been shown to repel insects.
It turns out that sage may help clear the air of lots more than bugs and bacteria.
Though scientifically unproven, burning sage is thought to release negative ions. This is said to help neutralize positive ions.
Common positive ions are allergens like:
- pet dander
If this is the case, burning sage may be a blessing for those with asthma , allergies, bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions. But inhaling the smoke during the smudging can aggravate any respiratory condition. Wait until the smoke clears before going into the room.
Smudging has long been used to connect to the spiritual realm or enhance intuition.
For healers and laypeople in traditional cultures, burning sage is used to achieve a healing state — or to solve or reflect upon spiritual dilemmas.
This may have some scientific basis, too. Certain types of sage, including salvia sages and California White Sage, contain thujone.
Research shows that thujone is mildly psychoactive. It’s actually found in many plants used in cultural spiritual rituals to enhance intuition.
Smudging may also be used as a ritual tool to rid yourself — or your space — of negativity. This includes past traumas, bad experiences, or negative energies from others.
This may help you establish a positive environment for meditation or another ritual. Choosing to sit and let go of negative thoughts in a ritual like this sets your intention and dedication to self-improvement. Choosing to engage in ritual can be the beginning of your change in mindset.
Tradition suggests that smudging can literally lift one’s spirits to banish negativity. Some research supports this.
A 2014 study documented white prairie sage (also known as estafiate) as an important traditional remedy for treating anxieties , depresion, and mood disorders in certain cultures.