In the west we think of herbal medicine coming from traditional Chinese and native American sources, but our European ancestors were just as knowledgeable about their environment and the plants around them.
The sage herb, a common plant throughout the Mediterranean, is a perfect example as the ancient Greek and Egyptians knew.
Dioscorides, a Greek botanist and pharmacologist, reported that the sage herb could heal wounds, disinfect sores, and treat upper respiratory problems…
…but most of these early sage herb adopters did not mention one of the best uses
Consuming sage as an herb is more common today than it was even a few thousand years ago.
Whether it is French sausage or Italian veal, the sage herb is primarily used for cooking when burning sage sticks as incense or “smudging” may be a more valuable use.
Salvia Officinalis: What Are the Benefits of Sage Sticks?
Because sage (also known as salvia officinalis) is used in food so often, the plant has been studied in numerous contexts.
The sage herb has been dissected, studied, researched, and the conclusions are striking.
In 2017 a study showed that sage could “enhance cognitive activity and protect against neurodegenerative disease” including patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia .
Another showed that sage could boost memory in healthy people as well .
Beyond memory and Alzheimer’s, sage could lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes .
There is plenty of evidence (both scientific and anecdotal!) that sage can relieve sore throat, coughs, and symptoms that come with the common cold .
It’s no wonder sage was once called “sage the savior”. Our ancestors used it for a multitude of reasons and science is finally showing that they knew what they were talking about.
Of course, using sage sticks in order to create a fragrance has not been well-studied, but many thousands of people burn sage and feel comforted by it.
In the following section, we’ll offer some benefits of sage sticks, burning it as an incense, and some of the philosophical benefits to come from using the salvia officinalis plant.
How to Use Sage Sticks
There may be a practical reason for using sage sticks that has been lost with indigenous cultures. With palo santo, for example, burning the wood helps to keep bugs and particularly malaria-ridden mosquitos at bay.
Over time the practical value of these items takes a mythical turn. Humans use stories in order to pass along information and with burning sage it is no different.
Sage is used for many things, but when it is burned it is usually done with the intention of cleansing or providing groundedness (a mental state) of some kind.
In a spiritual sense, the term “smudging” is used to reference a purification of a person, place, or thing. By cleansing a physical space, one can have a much better feeling upon entering. One can feel safer using the room in the knowledge that it has been cleared from an energetic perspective.
Sure, the clearing of a space with energy may be perceived as “woo woo”, but just because we don’t understand or explain it fully doesn’t mean these things do not exist.
The value of smudging and cleansing from a psychological perspective can be far better than one would expect.
Creating a Ceremonial Setting with Sage Sticks
Ceremony and gatherings with a community has been a part of mankind for thousands of years. As men sat around the campfire telling stories, women may have gathered to make arts and crafts. Indigenous cultures were in-tune with the human need for ceremony.
Today we have lost a major element of our humanity in moving to the cities and urban environments. Burning sage and creating a ceremonial environment can help us to reharmonize ourselves in a world bereft of spiritual sustenance.
Our main priority with Oyasin is to help you reconnect with traditional practices. We also desire to support you in creating ceremonies and spiritual significance at home and in your community.