I don't know about you, but every year I go on a serious spring cleaning kick. With my philosophies of living light and practicing sustainability, I go through these cycles where all I want to do is clean out my closet, tidy my shelves, and clear my mind.
The act of burning sage is a beautiful tradition that is believed to have a cleansing and purifying effect. When you're airing out your home for some spring cleaning, there's nothing more meaningful than engaging in a new tradition that represents your intentions.
Smudging has its roots in the tribal ceremonies and healing rituals of indigenous peoples around the world. It has been used for everything from headaches to cleansing a home after an illness and even regaining strength after childbirth.
This beautifully historied herb has so many uses today that harness its purifying properties. A study done by the National Botanical Research Institute in 2007 showed that sage smoke can disinfect approximately 94% of bacteria from the air. Such a powerful plant!
Everyday moments you should burn some sage include...
- When moving into a new home or apartment
- Before starting a new job or launching your own company
- Before yoga or meditation practices
- Before and after entertaining guests in your home
- After recovering from an illness
- When returning home from travel
- Moments when you just want a little strength or clarity
For our shelves, we gather our sage bundles locally, right here in Washington.
The desert in Western Washington has bountiful wild Sage Brush (Artemisia tridentata), which has been widely used in tribal practices. Sage brush flourishes in dry areas from BC to southern California, but it's less commonly harvested than White Sage, making it a far more sustainable choice.
It's so important to source local varieties of sage rather than what's popular; plant populations can severely suffer from over harvesting, and there are many herbs and varietals that hold the same wonderful properties.
Plus, it's such a beautiful and spiritual experience to forage and gather what you need from the land. Here's my other half Jarod wandering the Ancient Lakes area while I picked a fresh batch of sage:
To do your own harvesting from the wild, there are some guidelines you should follow. A few of our favorites include:
- Be sure you've identified the right plant; harvesting the wrong species is wasteful and damaging to the environment.
- Harvest only 5% of the plant to avoid stressing a certain area
- Make clean cuts - "snip don't rip." Rough cuts or tears create pockets where bacteria can populate; just like us, plants have a higher risk of infection from open cuts.
- Take mostly new growth; it's the healthiest for the plant and also the most fragrant!
- Only take what you need.
- Ask permission from the oldest plant in the area; express gratitude.
You can see more guidelines for harvesting here.
I love harvesting sage for my own uses, and it makes my heart so full knowing our sage bundles will be a part of important moments in your life like a move, a new career path, or even just celebrating with friends. Pick up a bundle for yourself, we promise it comes with lots of good desert vibes.