Clear Your Cleanse: 6 Herbs to Burn Instead of Sage

September 5, 2019

The act of using a smoke cleanse to ward off negative energy and to clean a home or room of spirits has been a common practice in witchcraft in many years, but has become more popular thanks to the trendiness of witchcraft. Everyone from social media influencers, wellness websites, and even major chain stores are talking about the benefits of smoke cleaning your space. In fact, smudging is a sacred ritual that has been practiced by indigenous people for centuries. And, unfortunately, an issue with this increasing popularity is the overuse of sage—especially white sage.

Salvia Apina, also known as California White Sage is a herb used to bless, heal, and purify any person or object. Indigenous tribes in North America such as the Lakota, Chumash, and Cahulilla use white sage—and only white sage—for their smudging rituals. These days, many businesses are capitalizing on this trend by creating “smudging kits” containing white sage; and as such, white sage is being over-harvested or harvested incorrectly because of the high demand. Many native people are now worried that the plant could become endangered if this mass harvesting continues.

But worry not! Should you choose to eschew sage, there are countless other herbs that, when burned, offer similar clearing benefits. Here, a list of herbs to help you to cleanse your space with without being culturally or environmentally insensitive—because who wants that negative energy?

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Rosemary is a common garden plant that you can grow almost anywhere—even at your kitchen window. Rosemary is said to protect your house for negativity and to bind your soul to your body. The herb also improves memory, creates energy flow, and promotes fidelity. Honestly, this is just a great herb to have on-hand for every occasion.


Like Rosemary, Lavender is a common garden plant that can be grown at home, and is very pretty to look at when you are not using it for spells or cleansing. When burnt, Lavender releases a pleasant scent that can calm and relax the user. It is said that Lavender can help heal trauma, grief, and relieve anxiety and depression. It offers protection and promotes love and peace of mind.

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Juniper is a tree that looks similar to a pine bedecked with tiny blue berries. When Juniper is burned, it is said that it protects against accidents and theft and creates a calm environment free from negativity.


Cedar is associated with power and longevity. When burnt, it can be great for cleansing and purifying a place or certain objects. Cedar can also protect again negative spirit from entering the home and can attract love and wealth.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are very popular in witchcraft and can be added to many spells, rituals, and potions. When using them in a smoke cleanse, the power of the leaves can banish negativity and evil spirits and can create psychic visions. It is also said that they can relieve anxiety.

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Cinnamon sticks can be found in anyone’s spice cupboard and can work in a pinch for any spell or ritual. Burning a cinnamon stick promotes cleaning of a space, and enhances a person psychic ability while raising their spiritual vibrations. It also attracts healing, love, and success, and promotes healing. Plus, it smells great.

Please remember to stay safe when doing a smoke cleanse and to always practice fire safety. And as a reminder, do your best not burn or consume any herb or plant without researching it first. The more you know, the better the intention.

Happy cleansing!

Art by Olivia M Healy