What is Burning Sage And Its Purposes

purpose of burning sage

What is burning sage?

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Burning sage is an ancient ritual utilized by Native peoples for cleansing and praying. It is commonplace to have smudging ceremonies in the Western hemisphere. Burning sage is a beautiful ritual that has been around for centuries. It was used in ancient times to purify spaces, spiritually cleanse people, and heal the sick. Today, you can find it at many spiritual centers and churches as well as homes across America. It has been reported that 150 indigenous groups from North America alone utilize burning sage for spiritual reasons. Smudging is just one way of healing yourself with something natural.

Burning sage has been used for thousands of years for cooking, cleaning, spiritual cleansing, and so much more. In addition to being herbaceous, it helps attract butterflies and hummingbirds while keeping away rodents, making it a great addition to any garden. Although burning sage is widely used by indigenous people, it has become increasingly popular in Western cultures for use with meditation and smudging.

What are its benefits?

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Again, the results are mixed. Some people say it can be used to reduce stress and anxiety while others claim that burning sage increases stress and anxiety. The same goes for its supposed ability to remove bad energy or attract good fortune; both claims are made by supposed experts, but no one seems to agree on which is true. One thing that everyone does seem to agree on is that smelling like smoke isn’t very pleasant (and neither is spending money when you could simply light a stick of incense instead). Beyond the unpleasantness of the smoke itself, there’s also the fact that burning any plant material releases carbon emissions, so in effect, you’re adding more pollutants to your indoor air quality than cleaning it. So unless you consider headaches, irritated eyes, and a low tolerance for incense enthusiasts “beneficial” then it’s best to avoid burning sage.

It may help boost cognition:

There has been recent research that suggests that the active ingredient in sage, salvinorin A, may have short-term effects on cognitive performance. However, this does not mean that smoking or ingesting large amounts of this plant will reliably improve your cognition. The results are mixed, and generally, this research has involved taking very large doses of the main ingredient in sage. As always when you are looking to use herbal supplements or incense for cognitive purposes, it’s best to stick to what is known to work reliably. If you’re interested in using sage for cognitive purposes, just stick with smoking it because the dosage is easier to control. The research does suggest that there may be something potentially beneficial in using Salvia Divinorum for cognitive enhancement, but more research will need to be conducted before any conclusions can be drawn.

For stress relief:

While these results were promising, they have not been replicated by other researchers so it would be best not to rely on them alone. It is best to stick to what is known and recommended by a large body of evidence-based research. Sage has been shown to have antioxidant properties, which can help fight off free radicals that cause aging. While this does not necessarily mean that sage will slow the process of skin aging, it may be helpful for those who are particularly interested in preventing fine lines and wrinkles. This study showed that treatment with sage extract inhibited the production of certain enzymes involved in creating oxidative stress, but this would likely require ingesting very large amounts of sage every day.

This means that using oral supplements or smoking sage daily would likely produce results similar to drinking excessive amounts of green tea, so if you’re only going on a whim you should probably try vaping instead of burning sage in a stick form.


Burning sage has no proven benefit and poses an unknown risk during sexual activity. Its only “benefit” is that it makes your house smell like smoke, which seems like an undesirable outcome unless you’re setting fire to one room as part of a Halloween prank. There’s also the very real possibility that using sage instead of an incense stick could increase carbon emissions and worsen indoor air quality rather than improve it as is commonly claimed. In short, there’s no reason to burn sage during sexual activity and plenty of reasons not to.

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