What Does Sage Smell Like? – Everything You Have to Know About it
For many people sage is not a new to them. It has many uses as the leaves have antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antispasmodic properties. The botanical name of sage is Salvia, which means in Latin to heal or be well.
Sage has a reputation as a medicinal herb over the centuries and simple to grow and doesn’t need much care. If you wondered, what does Sage smell like? Keep on reading as we have covered it in detail.
Why do you need to use sage?
Sage has several uses and commonly used in cooking, medicinal, and fragrance products. Many households use sage such as nutmeg and allspice for turkey stuffing and breakfast sausage.
High-end restaurants use the fresh leaves of sages to add them to roasted pork or poultry, baked beans, or frying them in butter for gnocchi. The evergreen flavor of sage cuts through dishes with high-fat content, and it helps with the digestion of fatty foods.
The sage is an herb that comes in different varieties. For example, Purpurea sage has green leaves with light-violet stripes. Tri-Color sage has variegated leaves. Golden sage has green leaves edged in yellow. Greek sage is mainly used in the salad wraps.
The tall, large-flowering biennial clary sage has been used to treat eye ailments. Several types of sage such as Chia are harvested for their seeds to make Chia Fresca beverage, which is well-known in Mexico.
The White sage or greasewood is burned as ceremonial smudge sticks to clear bad energy and spirits from your home.
Diviner’s sage is a highly potent psychoactive plant that was once restricted to shamanistic usage in Mexico. Now some people also used it recreationally, but it has a short effect.
Sage is safe to use in normal amounts. But never take sage essential oil internally as it contain toxic thujones.
What does sage smell like?
The sage belongs to the family of mint and widely used in culinary, tea, incense, and essential oils. The smell of sage is like smelling a mint that brings coolness to the nostrils and gives you sharp cooling sensations inside your head.
When you use sage in food, you feel the strong fragrance, but if used in excess, you may not like it. The fresh leaves of common sage can be bitter and sometimes taste fishy. You should avoid old sage leaves as these are very harsh and emits a powerful aroma.
What Does Burning Sage Do?
People burn sage smudge stick for various purposes. The smudging is famous among people as it’s based on the belief that sage smoke removes the negative energy from the house and bring happiness and positive vibes to the place.
For some, this may not sound very logical, and there is indeed no scientific evidence behind it. But sage is an herb that has several medicinal properties. When you burn and smudge the sage, it releases the chemical that helps cleanse the aura and the physical environment.
Many people claim that burning sage smudge stick and spreading it inside their house helps them relax and feel good about themselves. They claim it to be an excellent stress reliever and use it as a spiritual ritual for self-care.
Several civilizations had the tradition of burning herbs to bring positive vibes, and the North American had a deep-rooted practice of burning sage. They chanted secret mantras and followed strict procedures to get the most benefit out of it.
What Does Burned Sage Smell Like?
Many people get confused if burning a sage smudge stick smell like marijuana or a cigarette. Sage is a herb, but it doesn’t have addictive chemicals such as THC or nicotine as present in weeds and cigarettes.
Depending on the sage you’re burning, the sage will smell like a burned grass or generate light fragrance.
For example, the white ceremonial sage is used in the incense, and it has a distinct light aromatic smell. If you’re smudging, you have to light up and burn the sage in a well-ventilated area, then blow it out and walk around the house with smoking sage.
Smudging With Sage
How To Smudge Your Apartment With Sage
If you’re new to smudging, then it’s the process of burning dried plants and herbs and use its smoke to cleanse the place and objects. The essential oil in the plant when heated up get released from the plant and provide antiseptic and antimicrobial effect inside the house.
You can combine several different types of herbs in the sage to get the aromatic effect that may feel you relaxed and put you at ease. Lavender, Cedar, Rose, and Rosemarie are herbs that you can include with sage for smudging.
Here is the step you need to take when smudging your place.
- Start by cleaning and organizing your room. You want the place to fill with a positive vibe. The cluttered and dirty area remains the hindrance as it increases the number of dust particles inside the home.
- Fold the bedsheets and open the windows and curtains so fresh air can circulate inside the home. You want the sunlight to come directly inside the house as it reduces the level of moisture and helps kill some small germs and microbes.
- Use a candle to light the sag stick and leave the candle lit as holds the positive energy during smudging.
- Unwrap the sage bundle and remove and plastic wraps, if any. Lit the sage through the candle flames and let it hold fire for a few seconds.
- Douse the sage flame in the metal bowel, so there is no fire. Make sure only smoke comes from the sage stick.
- Rotate the smudge anti-clockwise around your body and circle it around the home, including closets, and under the bed. Don’t blow on the smoke, but use your hand to direct the smoke.
- If you’re a spiritual person, you can choose to pray; otherwise, you can focus on keeping your mind calm and do the smudging process to remove negative energies and spirits.
- Keep the window open to let the fresh air come, and the place doesn’t get too much smoked. Excess smoke may trigger the fire alarm, so be aware of that fact.
- Pets don’t like to be smudged as they get irritated by the smoke. Keep pets away while you’re smudging.
- Once done the process, make sure you safely douse the smokes to prevent any fire hazard and dispose of the leftover sage.
If you’re looking to buy high quality sage smudge stick, then check out NewAge Smudge and Herbs wand. It comes in a pack of three and is a long lasting with favorable customer experience. It’s made of California white mini sage and is a 3 inch long wand.
Is Burning Sage Bad For Your Lungs?
Any smoke, when used in excess, is bad for lungs, including sage. But the sage doesn’t have any addictive substance as in weed or cigarette.
However, when you burn sage, you inhale the small burning particles. There is no scientific study conducted that indicates any side effect of burning sage and impacting lung functions.
But if you have asthma or other respiratory conditions, then be careful when burning sage. The smoke may cause difficulty breathing, and you have to keep windows and doors open or get outside to get fresh air.
As an alternative, you can use sage essential oils that you can use in a diffuser to get the same result.
Does Burning Sage Smell Like Cigarettes?
Burning sage doesn’t smell like a cigarette. The cigarette smoke gets its distinct smell due to several other thousand chemicals inside it and the distinct smell of tobacco leaf itself.
Burning dried herbal sage doesn’t contain the tobacco leaves or any other chemicals used in cigarette manufacturing.
Similarly, the burning sage doesn’t smell like marijuana either. Sage doesn’t have the necessary chemicals inside its leave that are present in the weeds to produce marijuana smell.
How Long Does It Take For The Smell Of Sage To Go Away?
The burned sage smudge stick smell isn’t permanent and doesn’t linger long or stick to the clothing. If you’re smudging your place, the sage smoke lingers for an hour to two hours and gradually fades.
You can speed up the process by opening all the windows and doors and turn on the fan to let the smoke get outside the house. If you keep the doors and windows closed, then the smell may last a couple of days.
Which Sage Smells The Best?
There are different varieties of sage that produce a distinctive aroma. The fragrance is unique to individuals, and the best smell depends on your liking.
But Salvia Clevelandii is a trendy sage plant whose leaves are used in essential oil and incense manufacturing. It has a fragrant light blue-violet color flower and grows up to 3 to 4 feet tall.
The other famous sage that has pleasant smells are:
- Salvia Dorisiana: It’s also known as Fruit scented sage that generates light fruit smell.
- Salvia Elegans: It grows up to 3 to 5 feet tall and blooms flowers in bright scarlet color flower. Its scent resembles a pineapple.
- Salvia Clevelandii: Also known as California Blue Sage. It blooms blue-violet flowers. It’s used for smudging or incensing as it has a natural tendency to release fragrance without needing to rub it to release the aroma.
Sage has multiple benefits, and it’s great to plant in your garden. The antioxidant properties of sage make it ideal to use in herbal tea. A few chopped leaves steeped in hot water is helpful to rinse sore throats or gingivitis.
The soothing and fresh mint smell of sage makes it perfect to use in various cuisines. Through smudging, the medicinal and aromatic properties of sage also bring positive energy and calmness in your home.
Do you want to know what does sage smell like when you cook it, or burn it? Or maybe you want to get rid of sage smell. Click here for all you need to know about sage.
Sage Smudging – Burning Sage to Cleanse your Home
Smudging is the ancient (indigenous American) practice of burning sage and other sacred plants to clear negative energy, purify and bless an environment.
What is Smudging?
Smudging dates back thousands of years. Many (though not all) Native American cultures burn sacred plants and use the smoke from the plants to remove negative energy and bring peace to a space.
You can use many herbs, plants, and even types of wood for clearing negative energy. Each of the smudging herbs have different properties and scents, but all are said to rid a space of negative energy.
Sage cleansing and burning Palo Santo are two of the more popular ways to smudge. As with everything in the metaphysical world, I encourage you to try different routes and methods to find what works best for you.
White Sage Smudge
There are hundreds of different types of sage, but for the purposes of this page, I’ll stick to sharing the kind of sage used for white sage cleansing.
White Sage – Salvia Apiana
Out of the many different varieties of the sage plant, I’d be willing to guess you’re probably familiar with garden sage which is widely used in cooking. While garden sage is delicious added to pasta dishes, it’s not the best type to use for smudging a house. The type of sage that is used in a smudging ritual is called salvia apiana, commonly known as white sage.
White Sage Smudge Stick
White sage is dried out and tied into sage bundles. These bundles are often referred to as smudge sticks, or as sage sticks. The terms can be used interchangeably – so feel free to choose your preference!
It’s common to have a sage smudge stick containing only white sage, but some contain an assortment of different herbs and flowers. Each flower or herb added to the bundle will give it an extra dimension. For example, adding lavender to a smudge stick gives it a calming quality in addition to cleansing the space.
Some metaphysical stores even tie a crystal (like Rose Quartz) to the smudge stick, as pictured in the smudging basket above. Take note that the crystals included in the bundles are not meant to be burned – they’re a compliment to the white sage smudge sticks.
The Benefits of Burning Sage
If you’ve come to this page chances are that you aren’t looking for a scientific dissertation on sage – you’re probably looking for a way to improve your living space and remove negative energy.
Below, I will provide the spiritual and scientific benefits of sage to the best of my ability. As with anything in the spiritual and metaphysical world there isn’t always evidentiary proof that it works, but those who believe in it swear by it.
Remove Negative Energy
Smudging has been used for thousands of years to remove negative energy and purify a space. This page focuses mostly on sage cleansing for clearing negative energy.
It also touches on using sage to lift your mood, and reduce bacteria in the air. For whatever way you choose to burn sage, this article will teach you how to do so safely and effectively!
Smudging Reduces Bacteria in the Air
There are some reports that in addition to removing negative energy, smudging has also been proven to remove some bacteria in the air.
A 2007 report published on the U.S. Library of National Medicine reported burning medicinal smoke over the course of an hour resulted in “over 94% reduction of bacterial counts”. It went further to say “the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24h in the closed room”.
Note: I would not recommend smudging in a closed room because you want the negative energy you’re cleansing to have an escape path, and if there are no open doors or windows there’s no way for it to escape.
Burning Sage Lifts your Mood
Let’s talk about ions. There are two types of ions – cations (positively charged ions) and anions (negatively charged ions). Have you heard the term “opposites attract”? This is true for ions too! Since cations and anions have opposite charges they are always attracting each other in order to form ionic compounds.
Normally, a negative is a bad thing, but not in this case. Negative ions (anions) are produced by natural sources. A 2018 report states that negative ions are produced by sources like sunlight, waterfalls, thunderstorms, and plants.
A 2013 report on air ions and mood outcomes states that “Negative air ionization was associated with lower depression scores”.
I am in no way advocating smudging to replace modern medicine or a doctor’s advice. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your health plan – they are trained professionals and can help incorporate new practices if they’re right for you.
How to Burn Sage
Now that you know why using sage for smudging is beneficial, let me teach you how to smudge. It’s a simple practice, and requires very few ingredients.
You need a smudge stick, the intention to remove negative energy, a source of flame, a heat proof smudge bowl or abalone shell, and something to waft the smoke (I prefer using a feather, though some people use their hands).
Smudge sticks can be made of sage, palo santo wood, cedar, sweetgrass, herbs, or any other sacred plant you feel drawn to. Experimenting with all of them over time is the best way to find the type that resonates with you.
I started smudging with sage, but your smudge stick choice is completely up to you! If you’d like to know a little more about my journey with crystals, feel free to check out my about me page.
Having an abalone shell, or some type of heat proof smudge bowl is a safety requirement, and one you shouldn’t skip. When you’re done smudging a house (or yourself, or your crystals), you’ll want to have a way to extinguish the smudge stick.
To put out the smudge stick, tap the end on the abalone shell until all the smoke is stamped out. Make sure it is completely extinguished before putting your smudging tools away.
Source of Flame
Some people use a match to light their bundle of sage, but I prefer using a candle. Using a candle makes it feel like an intentional smudging ritual.
When I light the candle, I light it with the intention in my mind to cleanse and purify my space. I watch the flames dance for a few moments while taking deep breaths, and when I feel ready I light the smudge stick.
Let the smudge stick catch fire, when it does, gently blow out the flame. You’ll be left with a trail of smoke coming from your sage stick.
After you’ve lit your smudge stick you’ll want to move the smoke around the space you’re cleansing. If I’m cleansing crystals or myself, I don’t worry about using anything to waft the smoke, because the smoke doesn’t need to travel very far.
However, if I’m smudging a house I’ll use a smudging feather. Turkey feathers are the traditional feather for smudging. Some people use their hands to waft the smoke but I find a smudging feather to be more effective.
What to Say When Smudging a House
Many people who use sage to smudge, incorporate a smudging prayer as part of their smudging ceremony. To me, this step is optional depending on the type of cleansing you’re doing.
If I’m just cleansing a house with sage because I feel that it hasn’t been done in a while, or it feels like it’s overdue, I’ll forgo the sage smudging prayer.
However, if I feel that there’s a negative presence in my house, I will elect to say a sage cleansing prayer. I don’t have a set prayer that I say- instead I try to vary what my wording based off of the situation.
If I’m smudging a house for negative spirits, I’ll say out loud “This is my space. Any negative spirits are unwelcome and must leave. I do not welcome any negative spirits in my home. Get out now!”.
If I’ve had a large group of people in my home and feel a drain on the energy of my space (whether it be the entire home, or just a room), I’ll say “I welcome positive energy into this space. This space is beautiful, vibrant and energized. I embrace positive energy in this space”.
Your burning sage prayer is personal, and completely up to you. Listen to your instincts and know that if you’re speaking from an open heart and throat chakra, your words will be heard and listened to!
Some people use the words they say in their smudging ritual as smudging prayers for protection. I normally use what would be better described as smudging affirmations. However, as I mentioned before, this is YOUR ritual – do what feels right for you!
Types of Sage Cleansing
Now that you know how to burn sage, let’s talk about the different situations in which you’d use cleansing sage. For clearing negative energy, burning sage is a powerful tool. You can sage your home, your crystals, and even yourself!
How to Sage a House
When you sage your house, it’s important to open any windows in your home. Think of it this way – if you’re cleansing a space of negative energy, you don’t want it to stay trapped in your home so you need to give it an escape route.
Most people sage homes by starting at the front door and moving in a clockwise direction. I have a large sliding glass door that leads to my patio, so I like to start there and move clockwise.
Since sage uses windows and open doors to expel negative energy, I find starting by my sliding door to be the best course of action for me. I encourage you to look at your space and find the spot that makes the most sense to you.
Once you light your sage, use the smudging feather to waft the smoke. Be sure to do so while focusing on your intention to clear the space of negative energy.
Waft the smoke upwards towards the corners of the rooms. Negative forces can sometimes try to hide in the corners of the rooms, so make sure you feel those areas are clear before moving on.
As you’re moving around your house don’t forget areas like closets, basements, garages, and nooks and crannies (like behind shower curtains). Those areas need to be cleansed too!
Once you’ve cleansed the inside perimeter of your home and have returned to your starting point, extinguish your sage stick. Take a few deep breaths and say thank you to the the sage and thank you to your space.
Sage Cleansing Yourself
One of my biggest tips for smudging would be to begin (and end) your smudging ritual by smudging yourself. If you’re clearing your home of negative energy, the best place to start is with yourself!
Now that you’ve learned how to smudge your house, smudging yourself will be easy! Take your smudge stick and gently waive it over your body.
Start at your head and work your way down your body, making sure to cover every area, from the top of your head to the middle of your back and all the way down to the undersides of your feet.
Take deep breaths as you sage yourself, breathing in positive energy and breathing out stress and negativity. If it helps you, you can visualize a warm white light surrounding you – purifying and protecting you.
Cleansing Crystals with Sage
Smudging crystals is my favorite ways to use sage. I can always tell when my crystals need a little refresher, and sage is a great way to keep them performing at their highest potential.
Light your smudge stick as you would with smudging yourself or your home. If I’m smudging a lot of crystals, I like to use sage because it seems to produce smoke longer. If I only have a few to smudge, I’ll use Palo Santo because I love its sweet smell.
Hold your smudge stick under the crystal you’re cleansing and watch the smoke dance around the crystal. The amount of time you smudge each crystal is up to you – listen to your intuition. You’ll know when the crystal is clear and you’re ready to move on.
I like to cleanse mine for 10-20 seconds each, but again, it’s up to you. Experiment with different timings and you’ll find what works! I have full faith in you and know you’ll find the best way to smudge for you!
My biggest tip for you would be to breathe. Burning sage can seem like a daunting process, especially if you’re doing it to clear a negative presence. Trust in yourself and know that you can do this!
I like to meditate before I smudge – this clears my mind and puts me in a relaxed mood. I find the calming myself before burning sages makes it seem easier!
You don’t need to meditate for a long time, just a few minutes of meditation will do – enough to center yourself and ready your mind for the task ahead.
There is no “wrong” way to smudge. As long as you’re handling the fire with safety and extinguishing your smudge stick at the end of your ritual, you’re doing it correctly!
If you’re a crystal enthusiast looking for a refresher course, or a metaphysical newbie looking for a smudging for beginners guide, I hope you’ve been able to find something to help you in your journey.
I’ll leave you the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on smudging. Be sure to let me know if you have a question that isn’t answered in this post in the comments section – I’ll be happy to answer it!
Q: Does Smudging Smell Bad?
Well, this one is kind of up to you. I will say that burning sage smells pretty similar to weed. My boyfriend came home one day after I’d smudged the apartment and asked me if I’d been smoking weed.
I don’t mind the smell, but if you don’t like the smell of weed, you probably won’t like the smell of burning sage. If you don’t like the smell of sage, you can always burn something else.
I think Palo Santo smells lovely! Palo Santo wood comes from the the Palo Santo tree in Southern America. It literally translates to “holy wood”. This holy wood had a faintly sweet smell, and is less aggressive on the nose than sage.
Q: Does Smudging Make You High?
While we’re on the topic of weed, I thought it would be good to address this question. Smudging does not make you high. The property of weed that produces a high is called THC. There is no THC in sage, so you can’t get high from it.
Q: Is Smudging Religious?
Smudging is not considered a religious practice in all religions and cultures, but it is in some! Many indigenous American people burn sage and other sacred herbs – though not all do. The uses of herbs and meanings vary between different cultures.
Q: Does Smudging Invite Spirits? (and/or) Can Smudging Bring Bad Spirits?
The purpose of smudging is to drive out negative energy and spirits, and to cleanse a space, not to invite spirits in. Sage clears negative energy and makes space for positive energy, but it doesn’t call forward spirits.
I have never had any negative experiences with spirits being invited into a space after smudging. However, if it’s something you’re concerned about, be clear with your intentions when you smudge your space. If you do not want any spirits of any kind, say that out loud! They will listen.
Q: Can Smudging Be Dangerous?
Any time you’re dealing with fire, you should use extreme caution. Never let children near fire, and make sure when you finish smudging that you extinguish your smudge stick. As with any candles, incense, matches, or items that create smoke and fire, please use caution!
Q: Does Smudging Work?
My short answer is yes. I’ve worked with spaces that held extremely negative energy and once I smudged the space, the negative presence was gone.
My long answer is still a yes, but with an addendum. I believe that like anything in the metaphysical world, smudging is 50% action and 50% belief.
Do I believe the act of smudging drives out negative spirits and energy? YES. However, do I also think that you have to believe that smudging drives out negative spirits and energy? ABSOLUTELY.
The mind is a very powerful tool – however you choose to use it. Belief is just as powerful and doubt, and fortunately for us, this life is made of choices and we get to choose how we want things to play out.
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Smudging: How to Smudge using Sage
A guide to smudging your home, crystals, and self. Quickly and efficiently remove negative energy from your life.
Smudging is the ancient (indigenous American) practice of burning sage and other sacred plants to clear negative energy, purify and bless an environment.