Since earliest recorded history, there have been accounts of using plants for their aromatic healing qualities. Plants contain volatile oils and other constituents that give them their particular scent. When a plant is processed via distillation or burnt, those aromatic compounds are released. Those compounds then reach our nose, our olfactory bulb and eventually our limbic center, where the scent is then interpreted and then signals are sent to the rest of the body. Our body and mind in turn are relaxed, stimulated and altered depending on the scent.
When we burn plants we are engaging with a very primal form of herbal therapy. Throughout the world must cultures burn plants in the form of smudge or incense for religious, cultural and healing purposes. From the burning of sandalwood in India, Palo Santo in South America, cedar in the Pacific NorthWest and the burning of frankincense in traditional Catholic ceremonies, smudge and incense have long played a central role in many people’s lives.
Some classic herbs that are smudged include
Western Red Cedar, sage, sweetgrass, palo santo, and mugwort
To make a smudge stick, one simply dries leaves of the plant and
then wrap the herb tightly with string. The wand of smudge is usually between 2 and 6 inches long.
There are plenty of other plants that will burn well and can be used in smoking mixes and as incense. Some examples include tobacco, copal, mullein, sandalwood, patchouli and frankincense