Burning Sage and its Impact on Airborne Bacteria
The practice of burning sage has a long tradition and its roots can be traced to various Native American customs and is also used in Chinese medicine. Many individuals turn to sage burning as a method of cleaning the air of negative energy or to create a spiritual space that opens the door to clarity of the mind. The term smudging may be familiar for such a sage burning ritual. Not all Native American cultures practice sage burning and the particular purpose and method can vary from community to community.
What many do not realize, however, is that the practice of sage burning also carries potential medicinal benefits. Many of those that only use western medicine, in particular, may be unaware of the many benefits of sage. As the seasons shift from autumn into winter, and the corresponding season of cold and flu arrives, thinking about keeping our living and work spaces as clean as possible certainly becomes a priority and it is important to incorporate as many healthy and natural practices into our routines as possible to promote a lifestyle of wellness.
Research has shown us that burning sage has the potential to kill 94% of bacteria in the air. Refer to a 2007 study published in Ethnopharmacol which looked at the connection between burning herbs and the reduction of airborne bacteria for up to 25 hours. Sage is an herb that is antimicrobial and therefore has the potential to improve air quality. Such a reduction in bacteria in the air can aid against getting ill as well as help keep insects away. Its antimicrobial properties also work against viruses, bacteria and fungi. While it is not advisable to inhale smoke, the resulting cleaner air from sage burning could mean less exposure to harmful bacteria.So, what kind of sage should be used to cleanse the air? Typically, healers recommend using white sage. White sage is easy to find – you might try your local farmer’s market or you can even grow it on your own. If you are growing it yourself, after gathering some cuttings you’ll need about a week to let it dry thoroughly. Bundled sage is then easy to use when purifying an indoor space. Simply light one end of your sage and waft it about to evenly distribute the smoke throughout the enclosed space, being careful not to directly inhale too much smoke. You might also set the sage down to burn in a dish or incense holder.
Some who enjoy the ritual of cleansing the air with sage like to envision that every crevice of the room receives the cleansing wafts of sage and that any negative energy in the room is slowly pushed out towards the door or window. You might choose to use a fan to help move the burning sage evenly throughout the room. Then, once the space has been sufficiently cleansed, opening that door or window fully will let out any bad air. Others might find that moving the sage bundle through the room in a circular fashion, walking slowly, can connect the individual to the ritual of the air cleansing and also ensure good coverage of sage throughout the entire room.
Considering your work or home environment, it may be beneficial to burn sage periodically. Many of us interact with different people throughout the day and cleansing the air from time to time may not only purify the space from different people spending time there, but also cleanse the space with a new energy for the next person who spends time there. Sage burning may be especially desirable when moving into a new house, or cleansing the air after having guests stay over.
Beyond the air purifying effects of burning sage, it may be beneficial to look at the other beneficial effects of sage as an herb. Sage contains flavonoids which may improve our brain health. It may also have benefits such as improved memory capacity. On top of those benefits, some individuals see improvement in anxiety and depression. The promotion of digestive health is also a commonly touted benefit of sage. Some opt to consume sage as an essential oil or to infuse tea.
Many also find that sage burning has spiritually cleansing effects. A reduction in stress and overall improvement in mood are similar benefits that can be experienced when cleansing the air with sage. A lot of these benefits come from anecdotal experiences rather than a plethora of research, yet the practice persists and individuals from diverse cultures speak to their own successes in burning sage.
These many lived benefits are why sage burning continues to thrive as an ancient healing practice and why it draws new interest from those invested in natural healing remedies. Take some time this year to cleanse your space and share the impacts you notice with others. Being open to alternative or complementary health practices can bring unexpected benefits that are both economical and practical. It is easy to spend a fortune on a top-of-the-line air electronic purifier, but many families don’t have the extra funds to spend on those kinds of products. Throughout the years, sage burning has been used to achieve the same results that many expensive consumer items also boast. On top of that, sage burning fills your space with a pleasing aroma that can refresh old, stale air. The aromatherapy effects of sage burning alone can greatly improve your home or office.
Sage burning brings with it a number of health and spiritual benefits. We will be interested to follow new research on the science behind sage burning, but the versatility of its uses and the ancient traditions that have relied on it, as well as individual experiences, mean that the practice of sage burning will likely continue to thrive in popularity.
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