Homemade Smudge Sticks

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What is Smudging? Smudging is the act of burning herbs and flowers and has been done for thousands of years. Smudging was traditionally a ceremony for purifying or cleansing. The smoke is said to help purify the air and invite good energy into the home. It smells like incense burning and can be used by anyone to bring the smell of the great outdoors inside.

“Native Americans and other indigenous peoples have burned sage for centuries as part of a spiritual ritual to cleanse a person or space, and to promote healing and wisdom. It’s been used since the time of the ancient Egyptians and Romans to treat digestive issues, memory problems, and sore throats.” Direct quote from WebMD.

Make your own smudge sticks using herbs and flowers from your own garden or source locally.

Some commonly used plants include:

Sage
Frankincense
Lavendar
Mint
Catnip
Sweetgrass
Juniper
Rosebud
Lemon balm
Cedar
Rosemary
Thyme
Cinnamon sticks
Pine
Bay leaves

I used lavender, purple sage, catnip and mint in the smudge sticks I made, all from my garden and flower beds.

Cut your selected herbs or flowers all about the same length 6-10 inches long. You can make your smudge stick as thick or thin as you like. Whatever you use to bind the bundle will eventually burn so use a natural fiber twine or cotton string to tie the plants together. I used natural twine on some and embroidery thread which is 100% cotton on others.

Tighten your string around the stems and tie in a knot, leaving a 1 – 2 inch loose piece on one side.

Wrap the other end around the bundle tightly at an angle up to the top of the bundle.

Crisscross the string as you wrap back down to the base. Wrap the string around the base a few times to create a handle. Then tie in a knot to the loose end of the original knot at the base of the stick and cut off the excess.

If desired clip off or tuck in any any loose leaves or flowers.

Hang to dry in a well ventilated area, outside is fine if the weather permits. A thin wire or an ornament hook works well for hanging, just loop it through the handle and hang the smudge stick upside down. You could also lay them flat to dry on a rack or screen. It generally takes about two weeks for fresh smudge sticks to dry completely.

When you’re ready to use your smudge stick, hold onto the handle and light the other end, a candle or match is recommended. Once it’s burning, blow out the flame and allow the stick to continue smoldering and smoking. Be sure you have a dish to catch the cinders and ashes in. This can be a clay bowl, an ashtray, any non-flammable container or even a traditional sea shell.

To extinguish, smother or crush the lit end until it goes out. Submerging in a bowl of sand works well to put out the cinders. If you use water to extinguish, you will need to re-dry the stick before being able to use again.

It is recommended that you open windows in the home after smudging to let fresh “new” air in.


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