White sage is at risk; here’s what to smudge with instead

Smudging is the practice of burning dried plant material – traditionally white sage – to cleanse and purify a space.

The practice of smudging homes has become more widespread, but with that comes issues: white sage is now an at risk species due to over harvesting in the wild.

Fortunately, there are sustainable sources out there and a few alternative, more abundant plants you can smudge with instead. Here's are a few eco-conscious ways to source your smudging supplies.

Ethical sources of white sage

When you buy white sage, choose organically grown white sage. Avoid wild harvested sage and sage smudge sticks. If the seller can’t tell you the origin, that's not a good sign.

You can purchase white sage and smudge sticks from First Nations people who use sustainable practices. 

You can also choose a trusted supplier of organically cultivated white sage, such as:

You can also grow your own white sage if it will do well in your area – this is by far the most ecologically sound choice!

Alternatives to white sage for smudging

If you're not too tied to the white sage plant, you might consider using an alternative for smudging. Many other types of sage are actually very abundant and possess many of the same cleansing properties.

Making smudge sticks doesn't differ too much based on what plant you use – things simply need to be arranged differently to hold together. You'll figure it out! This tutorial from Frugally Sustainable has great instructions and photos for assembling a smudge stick.

If you've come across a good source for white sage or if you've had success smudging with other plants, tell us about it in the comments!

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Kylie Worthington is on a mission to help women master their own self care. from right where they are with herbalism, DIYs, and mindfulness. After seeing the devastating effects of neglect, low self-esteem, and toxic relationships, she founded Everblossom in 2009 to serve as a haven for holistic self-care. Welcome.

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8 Responses

  1. Lauren

    Making your own smudge sticks (from white sage or one of the other plants mentioned) is also a really relaxing ritual in itself, definitely worth the extra effort 🙂

  2. Binyamina A'apushana

    Hi Kylie!

    Thanks so much for such a thoughtful article. Just needed to mention that using the term “smudge” is culturally appropriative as it refers to a specific Native and First Nations practice. Non native folx are now using other terms that don’t adopt a practice not culturally theirs.

    Thank you and blessings,

    Binyamina A’apushana

  3. Kylie Worthington

    I am privileged AF. I acknowledge that, appreciate it, but don’t feel any shame around it and won’t be made to. You won’t be able to fool me into thinking that you speak for the entire culture that my language supposedly appropriates from. How arrogant that is. Since we’re sharing unsolicited advice, I suggest finding ways to spend time that focus on growth, progress, and unity rather than limits, fear, and divisiveness.

  4. Anna

    Kylie, when someone kindly tells you that you are using a term that is appropriative and asks you not to use it, why dismiss them instead of taking the opportunity to grow, progress, and learn how to be a better ally to native peoples? Here is an article I found helpful https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.asaliearthwork.com/blog/2016/2/21/on-smudging-and-appropriation%3fformat=amp

    Anyway, I came to your article as a way to shift my practice away from using white sage after hearing that using it offends some native peoples and also that it is endangered. And if you feel like continuing to grow and become better ally this is the article that originally led me to do more research on how using white sage can be problematic as well as tips to be an ally to Native peoples. Perhaps you already know some of these tips. https://www.google.com/amp/s/broadly.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/pa5a3m/how-to-be-an-ally-to-native-americans-indigenous-people

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