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  • Writer's pictureDr. Blake Banner

Let's Talk Smoke! - Medicinal Smoke

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

I hope you all had a great July 4th! Due to the holiday falling on the regular Wednesday post day, this blog was delayed so you all could enjoy your 4th in peace! But now we're back to the regular schedule and as always, we're highlighting yet another unconventional method of healing and wellness. Burning sage along with others plants or wood products is something I began a couple of years back and I've found so much pleasure and peace with the activity. I typically use sage before meditation or when I'm trying to get rid of stagnant energy in my environment. Below I'll go into depth on a little bit of the benefits of this act. Also as an added bonus, at the end of this blog post you'll find information on how to purchase YOUR OWN sage sticks/bundles that I personally crafted and handmade! If there are any questions you have after reading this blog post you can always reach out to me via email through the website, instagram or my twitter page.

The Background

Like everything else discussed on this blog, burning herbs/wood is something that has been around for HUNDREDS of years. It has been a popular method of purification and also has its ceremonial purposes in different religions and cultures. White Sage, Lavender, Sandalwood, Palo Santo and are just some of the plants/wood used for the purpose of cleansing, healing and improving overall health and well-being. White Sage in particular has been called the "foundation of treatment" because of all the healing properties it possesses (some say this is the origin of the phrase 'holy smoke!'). Native Americans started the tradition of using sage during smudging ceremonies to seek blessings of health and prosperity but to also ward off negative spirits. Now, people of all backgrounds utilize sage and other plants/wood products (some listed later below) to assist them in their day to day lives.

Uses and How To Use

  • Relieves Anxiety

  • Stress Relief

  • Improves Sleep Quality

  • Cleanse Air and Room

  • Eliminate Emotional Blockages

  • Mood Improvement

Saging involves lighting the tips of dried sage leaves or bundles, blowing them out and allowing the smoke to escape into the air. To burn a sage stick, light the tip of a few leaves and blow it out. You can either wave the stick in air or place stick in a fire-safe container that contains salt or sand. You can also burn individual dried leaves in a fire-safe container or heat proof bowl so it can be used like incense. The key to saging is INTENTION, keep your thoughts positive and remember the purpose for performing this act.

Common plants and wood used for medicinal smoke include:

Lavender: induces sleep and rest, happiness, healing, relaxation

Yerba Santa: used when courage or empowerment is needed, releases emotional pain, increases spiritual strength

Palo Santo: inspires creativity, brings love and good fortune, physical healing

Frankincense: good health, home purification, spiritual awareness, stress relief, attract good luck

Chamomile: peace, harmony, and calmness

Cedar: protection from unwanted influences, eliminate negative energies, attract good fortune and love

Rosemary: improve memory, relaxation, increase mental concentration

The Science

Okay, so since I don't want to get too technical on this topic (because this can get VERY technical based on the research I've discovered on the uses of medicinal smoke) I'm going to take excerpts from research articles that discuss some of the uses described above.

On Indications and Method of Administration:

"The most frequent medical indications for medicinal smoke are pulmonary (23.5%), neurological (21.8%) and dermatological (8.1%). Other uses of smoke are not exactly medical but beneficial to health, and include smoke as a preservative or a repellent and the social use of smoke. The three main methods for administering smoke are inhalation, which accounts for 71.5% of the indications; smoke directed at a specific organ or body part, which accounts for 24.5%; ambient smoke (passive smoking), which makes up the remaining 4.0%...this review argues in favor of medicinal smoke extended use in modern medicine as a form of drug delivery and as a promising source of new active natural ingredients." - Mohagheghzadeh A, et al. (2006).

On Improving Mood:

Positive Ions are proven to make you feel fatigued, burned out and sluggish. Research shows that burning sage changes the ionic composition in the air by releasing negative ions in the atmosphere that improves mood as well as health and is said to treat illness. Negative ions are said to help normalize serotonin in the brain (hormone that makes you feel good!) to combat depressive symptoms.

"White sage has active ingredients that include “anti-inflammatory compounds, antibiotic compounds and anti-anxiety compounds” - Adams, J. D., & Garcia, C. (2005).

On Reducing Airborne Bacteria:

"We have observed that 1 h treatment of medicinal smoke emanated by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs, on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts by 60 min and the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24 h in the closed room....We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space." - Chandra Shekhar Nautiyal, et al. (2007).


Always ensure that you are in a well ventilated area before performing the burning of any wood or herb products. Cracking a window or door are just some ways to reduce heavy concentrations of smoke. Always use caution when burning sage and other products and practice good fire safety.

Saging is contraindicated during pregnancy. I urge pregnant women to avoid the burning of herbs/wood due to the smoke as well as other unknown side effects as a result of concentrated smoke exposure

Sage spray is a smoke free alternative and is available HERE on amazon, but there are others as well for purchase elsewhere.

I handcraft and create sage stick bundles that contain white sage, rose, lavender, a selenite wand and are coated with frankincense essence. All sage sticks are Reiki infused and are ready for burning as soon as your receive it! You can find the link to purchase HERE or click the title above!

Happy saging!

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