Many different herbs are used in smudging, each with its own unique properties. Some of the best herbs used include white sage, cedar, sweetgrass, and juniper. Each herb carries a specific purpose related to the ritual and they are usually combined together to create a powerful blend. The herbs you choose will depend on the specific intention of your smudging practice but having the knowledge of what each herb is traditionally used for will help you create a powerful blend.
Our spiritual connection to herbs has been around for centuries, with many ancient cultures believing in the medicinal and magical properties of plants. Herbs were often used to heal physical ailments, but their spiritual uses were paramount in most cultures. They were used to help purify spaces, remove negative energies and evil spirits, and attract beneficial energies.
Smudging has been around for centuries and is believed to have originated from native american tradition and Indigenous peoples in North America. It is a ritual that involves burning herbs to cleanse the energy around you, create balance and act as a form of prayer or meditation.
Historical Uses Of Herbs For Smudging
Throughout history in ancient times, various different herbs have been used as part of different cultures’ smudging rituals.
- Native Americans – traditionally used the four sacred herbs —white sage, cedar, tobacco, and sweetgrass.
- Celtic cultures – used juniper, bay leaves, rosemary, and lavender.
- Vedic cultures – used holy basil (tulsi), camphor, and sandalwood.
- African-based religions – used frankincense, myrrh, copal, and dragon’s blood.
For these cultures, the sacred plants native to the land were used to create their smudging blends, and it is important that you take into consideration the herbs that are native or nearby in order to respect their traditional practices. You can do the same by utilizing herbs from your area that are also known for their cleansing and spiritual properties.
How To Smudge Herbs
You will need the following items in order to smudge herbs:
- Dried herbs or plants (sage, cedar, sweetgrass, copal)
- Matches or a lighter
- An abalone shell or heatproof dish
- A feather (optional)
Before beginning the smudging process, take a few deep breaths and set an intention for the ceremony; concentrate on connecting with your intention throughout the ritual. Next, light one of the matches and create an open flame to ignite the edge of your bundle of dried herbs until they catch fire; gently blow out the flame so that only the sacred smoke remains emanating from them. You may need to relight your bundle periodically during the ritual if needed.
Now that your herbs are burning, walk counterclockwise around each room visualizing any negative energies being pushed away from you as you go; pause at doorways and windows so that no negativity escapes when you clear it out of your home or office space. Be sure to open windows while they are smudging so they can release any unwanted energies outside into nature. Say a blessing, prayer, or anything that feels natural and spiritually meaningful to you.
Finally, when you have completed smudging the entire space, allow the herbs to burn out in a safe container. Once you are finished, thank the energy of the herbs and ask that it leave with only positive energy in its wake.
To help you get started we collected a list of the 35 best herbs used for smudging. Each herb has its own unique properties and specialties which we will explore in more detail below.
You may also find interest in:
- A Beginners Guide To Smudging
- How To Make Your Own Smudge Sticks
- 60 Statements To Say When Smudging Yourself
- 21 Smudging Prayers To Remove Negative Energy From Home
35 Best Herbs For Smudging
1. Sage – Sage bundles are the most common and comes in many different varieties including white sage, desert sage, blue sage, and black sage. The sacred sage is primarily used to ward off negative energies and purify an area. It’s best to use sage when you want to remove negative energy from your home, when you’re moving into a new home, or if you’re you’re feeling stuck or stagnant and need a little help to move forward in life.
2. Cedar – Cedar radiates potent, wise, and majestic energy that makes it an ideal guardian spirit. Furthermore, its power is renowned for healing the body and soul alike. Cedar is best used when you need a spiritual lift, to remove unwanted energy, or invite positive influences into your life.
3. Sweetgrass – Sweet grass has been called the hair of Mother Earth and is traditionally used to invite positive energy or good spirits into space. Its gentle properties make it perfect for cleansing and clearing out stale energies, as well as providing protection from negative influences. Sweetgrass is best to use when you want to evoke a sense of trust, calm, and peace.
4. Juniper – Juniper has been used for centuries to ward off negative energy, as well as attract positive vibrations. Juniper berries’ strong, protective properties make it an ideal smudging herb to create an atmosphere of protection and safety. Juniper is best used when you need help balancing your emotions, increasing your mental clarity, or if you’re seeking an emotional reset.
5. Lavender – Lavender brings a very sweet nourishing energy to your ritual that works to restore balance and calm. Just like with essential oils, the calming aroma of this herb is perfect for helping you relax and let go of any stress or tension. Use lavender when you need a little extra help in the relaxation department or if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
6. Pine – Pine can bring forgiveness and understanding to difficult situations, making it an ideal choice for cleansing negative energy. It is also great for enhancing your strength and courage, as well as providing a sense of stability and grounding. Use pine when you need help letting go of the past, inner strength, or if you’re hoping to bring more joy into your life.
7. Rose – Rose petals are often used with lavender as they have the energy of harmony, love, and heart healing. Rose has the power to heal and release painful memories, while also opening up our hearts to receiving love. Use rose when you need help healing a broken heart or if you’re looking for divine guidance in matters of the heart.
8. Rosemary – Rosemary is used to protecting from negativity, as it has powerful cleansing properties. Rosemary is also very invigorating and energizing, making it a great tool to use rosemary when you need help getting out of a rut or if you need an extra boost of motivation.
9. Thyme – Thyme is often used with rosemary and other smudging herbs due to its purifying properties. It also helps to sharpen mental focus and can be used to reduce stress, fatigue, and anxiety. Use thyme when you need help with concentration or if you’re seeking a sense of clarity.
10. Yarrow – Yarrow is believed to clear away old blocks and obstacles, as well as invoke courage and confidence. It also has the power to heal and soothe the soul, making it perfect for peaceful meditation and prayer. Yarrow works well when you’re facing difficult times or if you need an extra boost of optimism in your life.
11. Mugwort – Mugwort is known for its powerful dream-enhancing properties and can be used to aid in lucid dreaming and astral traveling. It has the power to open up your intuition, stimulate psychic awareness, and bring clarity to difficult decisions. Mugwort is great for when you’re hoping to access a deeper part of yourself or if you need help with problem-solving.
12. Copal – Copal resin has high spiritual vibrations that can help to open up the inner realms and provide guidance from divine sources. This potent herb is known for its ability to bring clarity, purification, and protection from harm. Use Copal when you’re looking for guidance, seeking a different energy in life, or if you need an extra layer of protection in your life.
13. Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus is a rejuvenating herb that has the power to cleanse and purify negative energies. Its sweet aroma can help to relieve stress, tension, and fatigue while also providing clarity and focus. If you need a fresh start or if you’re looking to cleanse your energy field eucalyptus is helpful.
14. Mint – Mint can be used to reduce stress, increase concentration and focus, and bring clarity to difficult decisions. It has the power to help you clear away any mental fog and open up your creative channels. Mint is great to use when you need an extra boost of energy or if you’re feeling mentally exhausted.
15. Palo Santo – Palo Santo is a sacred tree from South America that has been used in spiritual ceremonies for centuries. This holy wood and its calming aroma can help to reduce anxiety, stimulate creativity, and bring a sense of peace and serenity to your space. It is best to use palo santo when you need to remove negative energy or if you’re looking to create an atmosphere of joy and optimism.
16. Yerba Santa – Yerba Santa is an herb that has been used for centuries in ceremonial practice as a means of restoring balance and harmony. Its smoke can help to open up your inner vision, encourage healing, and provide protection from harm. Yerba santa works well when you need help connecting with your intuition or if you’re looking to create a sense of peace within your space.
17. Dragon’s Blood – Dragon’s blood has been used for centuries in ceremonial practice as a powerful protection tool. Its smoke is said to ward off negative energies, bring clarity to difficult decisions, and enhance spiritual connection. If you need protection or a general herb for spiritual practice, dragon’s blood is a great option.
18. Frankincense – When Frankincense is burned, it releases a sweet and spicy aroma that has the power to open up your intuition and stimulate your crown chakra. This holy herb helps to promote clarity of thought, reduce stress, and bring harmony to any space. When you’re feeling lost or confused in life frankincense is a great option.
19. Lemon Balm – Known for its uplifting energy, Lemon Balm is perfect for when you need to be in a positive and energized state. Its smoke helps to reduce stress, clarify thoughts, and bring mental clarity and focus. Use lemon balm when you’re looking for an extra boost of optimism or if you’re feeling mentally exhausted.
20. Basil – The energy of Basil is said to be healing and uplifting. Its smoke helps to reduce stress, improve focus and concentration, and bring clarity to difficult decisions. If you find yourself struggling to stay motivated or if you need help accessing your creativity, basil can be helpful.
21. Lemongrass – Lemongrass has the power to cleanse and purify negative energy and bring harmony to any space. Its aroma helps to improve focus, reduce stress, and open up creativity. Use lemongrass when you’re looking for an extra boost of motivation or energy.
22. Yerba Mansa – Yerba Mansa is a healing herb that has been used for centuries in ceremonial practice. Its smoke helps to clear away negative energy, stimulate creativity, and bring clarity to difficult decisions. When struggling with indecisiveness or if you need direction in life Yerba Mansa is helpful.
23. Bay Leaf – Mood-lifting Bay Leaf has a calming and clarifying effect that helps to reduce stress and open up your intuition. It is great to use when you need an extra boost of energy or if you’re feeling mentally exhausted. If your mood has been feeling a bit off or low, burning Bay Leaf in your smudge ceremony could be beneficial.
24. Dill – The energy of abundance and prosperity, Dill has a sweet aroma that helps to bring joy and optimism into any space. If you need good luck or extra motivation, burn Dill to help manifest your dreams.
25. Sagebrush – The smoke from Sagebrush is known for its cleansing and purifying properties. It can help to clear away negative energy, reduce stress, and bring harmony to any space. Sagebrush is great for when you want to cleanse your aura and create a safe and sacred space.
26. Catnip – Catnip has a calming and soothing aroma that helps to reduce stress, improve focus and concentration, and open up your intuition. The sweet and spicy scent helps to bring clarity to difficult decisions and create a sense of peace within your space. During times of stress, anxiety, or confusion catnip is a wonderful herb to smudge.
27. Anise – Anise has a sweet and slightly spicy aroma that is said to have the power to stimulate creativity and open up your intuition. It helps to reduce stress, improve focus and concentration, and bring harmony to any space. If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas or making decisions, anise may be able to help.
28. Oregano – Peace and protection are associated with Oregano, which is said to have the power to bring clarity to difficult decisions and create a sense of calmness within your space. Its smoke helps to reduce stress, improve focus and concentration, and stimulate your crown chakra. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need help connecting with your intuition, oregano is a great option.
29. Dandelion – If you need a spirit guide, Dandelion is said to be a powerful ally. Dandelion can help call on a spirit guide or to enhance psychic powers.
31. Calendula – This purifying herb has a sweet, calming aroma that helps to reduce stress and bring harmony to any space. Its smoke is said to have the power to stimulate creativity and open up your intuition. Need to detoxify the negative energy around you or in your home? Invoking a smudging ritual with Calendula can be of great help. This plant has long been known for its highly beneficial properties and will bring lightness, harmony, and positivity into any space.
32. Hyssop – This cleansing herb is said to have the power to clear away negative energy and create a sense of peace within your space. If you’ve been feeling stuck or stressed, hyssop can help you to move forward.
33. Fennel – Fennel is said to have the power to bring clarity to difficult decisions and stimulate creativity. The sweet and spicy aroma of its smoke helps to unblock stagnant energy and open up your intuition. Use fennel when you need an extra layer of protection or if you’re looking for divine guidance.
34. Chamomile – Comforting energy is associated with Chamomile, which has a sweet and calming aroma that helps to reduce stress, improve focus and concentration, and open up your intuition. We like to use chamomile during sad moments when we’re feeling overwhelmed and in need of restful sleep.
35. Elderberry – During times of sickness and distress, Elderberry can be used to bring comfort and healing energy. Known for its healing energy, elderberry is great to smudge when you need to recover from an illness or if you’re looking for protection during a vulnerable time.
Where To Get Your Herbs For Smudging
If you can grow your own herbs, then this is the best way to ensure that your smudging rituals are as medicinal as possible. But if you can’t grow them, then it’s a good idea to buy from reputable sources who are certified organic and have ethically sourced their herbs. We use a local herb farm for our smudging needs, but there are plenty of online retailers who sell organic herbs as well.
Some online brands that we have used include:
Smudging is a powerful ritual that can be used to purify and protect your space and it is a great way to improve your mood. Whether you’re looking for creative inspiration, spiritual protection, or want to clear away negative energy, the herbs listed above are some of the best plants for smudging. Be sure to purchase certified organic herbs from reputable sources and enjoy the peace and serenity they bring to your home.