Should Montanan’s Stop Burning Sage? Some Experts Says Yes
I'm confident that just about everyone is familiar with the practice of burning sage as a spiritual cleansing ritual. The Native tradition has now become an almost mainstream way to remove "bad energy" from a place or situation. Vogue wrote about sage's rise in popularity way back in 2016 and the cultural appropriation of smudging sage hasn't seemed to slow down.
Does smudging sage really work?
When ingested, sage does have medicinal benefits. According to research shared by WebMD, sage extract appears to improve brain function and may help ward off Alzheimer's. It may help reduce depression and anxiety and herbalists have used the plant to help relieve upset stomachs. However, regarding the science of burning sage they wrote,
While sage burning might offer a kind of metaphysical or spiritual cleansing, its medical virtues haven't been well-studied. Very little research has been done on burning sage in general, and there isn't much evidence to confirm what it might do for your health.
Indigenous people have used sage ceremonially for centuries.
Wild white sage is facing extinction.
A Tweet from @ProjectMosaicCO, caught my attention today while mindlessly scrolling through the Twitterverse. It appears that the white sage plant (the most common smudge sage you'll find in shops and online) is being overharvested.
The article at Medium.com cites the problem of overharvesting white sage along the US/Mexico border. They explained,
Curtain delicate plants and many insects, rat species, reptiles, and others depend on the sage for protection. With that protection dwindling, those that depend on the sage are becoming endangered as well. Using white sage could bring down an entire ecosystem and cause immense harm.
They recommend using other plant materials for spiritual smudging purposes, including cedar, lavender, and sweet grass. Of course, thousands of acres in Montana are covered with sagebrush. The most common variety is mountain big sagebrush. Learn more HERE.
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