Whenever the term “smudging” is mentioned, some people are extremely skeptical about it since they view it as something associated with strange occult and religious practices. But what does it actually mean?
Smudging is a term that refers to the practice of burning the stems and leaves of certain herbs and plants tied in a bundle with the purpose of purifying and cleansing the space, people, and even things with the smoke it releases.
Smudging is a ritual that ancient people have been practicing for ages, using burning incense to transfer them to the spiritual unseen world and to purify, heal and protect the body and soul. The act of burning dried herbs is also used to expel negative energy and to create a beneficial spiritual environment.
The ancient Egyptians were familiar with this activity long before the beginning of the new era, as well as the Israelites who deeply respected it. The North American shamans have commonly burned white sage as a way to summon the spirits of their ancestors for two centuries.
Scientists have endeavored to find out if smudging truly hides some health provisions. They have discovered some astounding facts.
Scientific proof that smudging effectively destroys pathogenic bacteria in the air
The authors of a 2006 study called “Medicinal Smokes” have concluded that smudging indeed has the ability to purify the air and that this practice is very efficient in delivering the medicinal substances to the brain promptly. When they are released through smoke, these substances are also absorbed by our organism faster and more effectively than through other methods. This analysis can be found in the Journal of Etnopharmacology.
Another study from 2007 named “Medicinal Smoke Reduces Airborne Bacteria”, can also be read in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
The researchers reveal their intention at the beginning of the analysis saying that: “This study represents a comprehensive analysis and scientific validation of our ancient knowledge about the effect of ethnopharmacological aspects of natural products’ smoke for therapy and health care on airborne bacterial composition and dynamics.”
They have observed the effects of burning a combination of healing herbs and wood in a closed space in the duration of 60 minutes. The result was astonishing: almost all the harmful airborne pathogens were destroyed, or 94 percent of them, to be precise. And that is not all. “The ability of the smoke to purify and disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24h in the closed room”, according to the authors’ observation.
The air in that space maintained its purity and remained free of a large number of harmful microbes in the following month. The scientists have further concluded, “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.”
Which popular herbs can be used in smudging?
1.Different varieties of sage, or Artemisia tridentata, are effectively used in smudging. White sage is most commonly associated with this practice. The Latin name of sage has its root in the word “salvare”, which means to heal and to save.
2. Bay leaf has been used for a long time to prevent common colds and flu.
3. Cedar smudge has a very powerful cleansing ability.
4. Rosemary activates and refreshes the body and soul and dispels negative forms of energy with its sharp aromatic vapor. It also boosts one’s self-confidence.
5. Juniper leaves emit warm, fragrant and spicy vapor that is thought to have a strong protective activity. It also believed to bring abundance into a home.
6. Mullien smoke has been considered as an effective remedy for a wounded soul. Its fragrance has a very relaxing effect on the nervous system.
7. Orris root in combination with celery seeds sharpens the focus and improves concentrations.
8. The evergreen leaves of pine, fir and spruce possess an especially potent cleansing ability.
9. Fennel is thought to dispel bad energy and soothe the nervous system.
10. A mixture of plants can also be used to create a smudge. In this case, you will obtain a combination of different fragrances and medicinal properties.
Why is smudging beneficial for people who live in urban settings?
More than ever before, our environment is full of toxic substances. Pathogens are being genetically modified and stubbornly resistant to antibiotics. The number of people who suffer from anxiety and depression is rapidly growing. Smudging represents a simple and effective natural method of cleansing the living space and lifting up the spirits.
Science has confirmed what the ancient people only sensed intuitively. So, those of us who are still skeptical about it should perhaps give it a try in the future. Who knows, we may even get to like it.
A word of caution
Smudge sticks should never be left unattended.
Also, the idea of smudging is not to produce huge amounts of smoke and to inhale it. This can result in respiratory problem, which would completely ruin its goal. Furthermore, smudging should not be practiced in a room where there are pregnant persons, children, and people who suffer from allergies, asthma or respiratory diseases.