Burning White Sage Kills 94% of Airborne Bacteria, research shows. ...

dried white sage bundle
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Whether the season is summer, spring, fall or winter, it is a good idea to clean the air in your home regularly to get rid of germs and all the other unhealthy things you don’t want your family to breathe in.

One great way of cleaning the air around you is by burning white sage. This practice has been around for hundreds of years, but many people have discounted it in the past as an old wive’s tale.

However, recent research has proven that you can clear bacteria from the air by burning sage herb.

Science Says Burning Sage Can Clean The Air And Improve Your Health

Research shows that smudging (burning) WHITE SAGE in a room for an hour reduced airborne bacteria by 94 percent. It also showed that the room stayed almost entirely bacteria-free for 24 hours.

Smudging has been traditionally used to safeguard against negativity that could interfere with sleep. Some research suggests that sage contains compounds that could help ease insomnia.

Classic garden sage (Salvia officinalis) is sometimes burned like white sage. It's also been used to improve sleep and soothe anxiety.

Does Sage purify the air?

Poor air quality may be linked to various health conditions. In this way, burning sage is seen as a cost-effective way to purify the air (to an extent). This is because sage is thought to have antimicrobial properties that help kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Smudging white Sage in process

Who started the tradition?

“Burning sage is handed down from Native American civilizations and is considered a spiritual practice that removes negative energy,” Taz Bhatia, MD, an integrative health expert and author of Super Woman Rx tells, pointing to other benefits.

“Sage, as an herb, is antimicrobial, boosts memory and mental clarity, and can improve air quality, according to science.”

Can it improve air quality?

Bhatia points to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacol that linked burning sage to reducing airborne bacteria.

“Research has shown that burning herbs or medicinal smoke can purify the air and eliminate up to 94 percent of harmful bacteria for up to 24 hours,” - Taz says.

So why is cleaner air important? According to Irina Logman, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, getting rid of airborne pathogens can prevent you from getting sick.

Specifically, white sage “has both antimicrobial and antibacterial properties” that keep viruses, bacteria, and even insects away.

How Burning Sage Herb Works?

Research has proven that burning sage removes a whopping 94% of bacteria in the air. When the researchers tested the air a day later, it was still clean.

The best method for this is called “smudging.”


You take a bundle of dried white sage, then light one end of the “stick” on fire and then blow it out. The resulting smoke “smudges” the air in the room and the properties in the smoke kill most of the existing bacteria in the air. White sage is preferred and you can find sage burners for burning it.
Unlike chemical air “purifiers” that only mask the smells in the air, sage is 100% natural and will not cause allergic reactions for people with scent sensitivities. It also smells great! The research found that the smoke needs about an hour to cleanse the air. So make sure you burn enough sage a couple to last that long.

The Importance of Clean Air

There are many reasons why people are concerned about the air quality in their homes. The primary reason is health related. Poor air quality can cause:
  • asthma
  • coughing
  • respiratory infections
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • lung cancer
  • heart problems

Don’t panic just yet! The chronic health issues mentioned happen as a result of long term exposure to polluted air. But, some of the health issues you or your family are currently experiencing could be a result of the poor air quality in your home.

Burning sage is a cost effective and natural way to clean the air and put your worries to rest.

Practice Caution
Anyone with asthma or respiratory issues should be careful not to inhale too much of the smoke that comes with burning sage, as it can be hazardous.

Also notes that some pets may become irritated by the smoke—especially cats. If you notice yourself or a furry friend becoming sensitive, she recommends opening your window for fresh air and staying hydrated.

white sage smudging starter kit

Check out our smudging items! Burn the sage and let its purifying aroma clean the air in your home regularly to get rid of germs and all the other unhealthy things you don’t want your family to breathe in.

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