I was recently inspired by the sickness that plagued my husband over the last few days to talk about how sage and herb burning can help ward off bad germs in the air.
Herb burning or “smudging” as most people might know it as, has been used and done throughout history for a number of different reasons. Most people know sage or herb burning to be part of rituals for cleansing the air of negative energies or for warding off evil or unwanted spirits. Although I can say I have been guilty in the past to not see it anymore beneficial then beyond those circumstances, I failed to see that burning sage, palo santo and even juniper have shown to be quite beneficial when cleansing a home after someone has just been ill. Due to sages antiseptic properties it has shown to clear the air of up to 94% of harmful bacteria for up to 24 hours!
When it comes to the winter months, my husband works in the public with lots of people, therefore he is exposed to a lot of germs and a lot of ill people day in and day out, so when he does bring something home we try to make sure we practice good hygiene so that our little one does not catch every single sickness he has. Among the many things that we do I have found that this method has shown to be quite effective when clearing the air, but there are many other benefits to smudging than just clearing the air of bacteria.
Smudging has shown to help do other things like:
- Relieving stress
- Reliving anxiety
- Relieving headaches and tension
By burning sage it is said that this is a quick delivery system to the brain and shows to be quite effective when using it for spiritual healing reasons. In a 2007 study titled, “Medicinal smoke reduces airborne bacteria,” published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, we now can see that smudging may be one of the most powerful antiseptic technologies ever found.
We have observed that 1 hour treatment of medicinal smoke emanated by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs (havan sámagri=material used in oblation to fire all over India), on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts by 60 min and the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24 hour in the closed room. Absence of pathogenic bacteria Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonas syringae pv. persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens in the open room even after 30 days is indicative of the bactericidal potential of the medicinal smoke treatment. We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.”
So if your looking to clean out a “sick room” it may not hurt to bring out the smudging herbs!