9 Sacred Herbs for Purifying & Cleansing

9 Sacred Herbs for Purifying & Cleansing

Posted by Auburn Lily on May 23rd 2018

The act of smudging herbs to clear and cleanse energy is deeply rooted in traditions across the globe. Here at Earth Magick, we smudge multiple times a week to keep the energy in our space fresh, grounded, inspiring and nurturing.

Most of us are acquainted with the classic white sage, but the list of beneficial herbs to burn is limitless. While all smoke is thought to purify, clearing any energetic cobwebs, each plant spirit offers a different energy and vibration on top of the cleansing qualities of its smoke.

Before you dive in, if you are not as familiar with this practice as you would like to be, check out our Smudging 101 for a quick history on the art of smudging and a how-to guide for beginners.


While smudging with cedar can help to dispel negative energy in the same way that white sage would, cedar offers a level of protection that other herbs do not. If you wish to build a protective energy shield around yourself, your loved ones, or even your pets and your home, cedar is the perfect option.

As you light the smudge stick, focus your intentions on surrounding what you are trying to protect with a mirror-like force field, bouncing any impending attack back onto the attacker. In your mind, picture the inside of the force field filling with love and safety.

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Evoking cypress energy allows a calm, grounded (even ancient) wisdom to enter your space and your being, eradicating negativity and excess energies. Connecting to this ancestral and ancient wisdom opens the pathway for psychic work such as divining, astral projection and lucid dreaming. If you want to use cypress for dream work, holding your smudging ritual just before bedtime would be the most effective.


Often seen as a nuisance that runs rampant, Goldenrod is an excellent smudging ally. Infusing the space with a prosperous vibration, the herb has often been used as a tool to step into abundance mindset. Welcoming in the warmth and masculinity of the summer sun, goldenrod is associated with money and luck.


A wonderful wintertime herb, Juniper is known for balancing and evoking the divine masculine energy in a space, as well as drawing in abundance and prosperity, all while clearing negative energy. Burning Juniper is a lovely way to invite in warmth and positivity, while maintaining balance and respecting the shadow.

In ancient times, Juniper was burned in temples during purification rituals. Burning Juniper in your sacred space can help you to view your vessel as a temple to your own divinity.

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Lavender's gentle floral scent is simply intoxicating when burned in personal ceremony. In terms of aromatherapy, lavender is known to uplift the mood, dispel negative emotion and bring in a sense of calm and relaxation. Lavender can also quiet the mind and inspire restful sleepiness. Its tender smoke settles into the darkest parts of our energy and clears the space, like cobwebs out of a forgotten closet, making room for the light to enter us where we need it the most. 


In folk medicine practices, burning mullein as inhalable incense has been used as a method to calm disturbed airways, especially as a remedy for cough, and asthmatic inflammation. In magickal practices, mullein has been used in hexing work – both in casting and breaking curses, as well as banishing the evil eye. 


Rosemary is perfect for burning for purification rites. Like sage, rosemary is perfect for burning as a purification herb. Rosemary is often burned to create a "fresh start" in life. Whether it is breaking a habit, embarking on a new path, or opening up to more creativity, powerful and fragrant rosemary can help open doors to the new.

As you light the smudge stick, focus your intentions on cutting the energetic cords between your present self and your past. Imagine that everything from the past that is holding you back from your divine future is falling away. Allow the tendrils of smoke to guide you onto your true path.

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Dating back to the ancient Greeks, thyme, which stems from their word meaning "fumigate," indicating that this herb was often used in sacred rites. Like the Greeks, you can use thyme in rituals to instill strength and courage. The herb has also been known to dispel grief in times of loss, negativity and hopelessness, as well as bring about restful sleep, and foster communication with faeries.

White Pine

Pine has traditionally been used to cleanse and clear the space, as well as infusing protection and balance. Its bright and fragrant aroma is a wonderful addition to your meditation or smudging ritual. Pine is often associated with peace, both internally and externally. In folk medicine practices, burning white pine has been used as a way to draw pain out of the body.

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Other Earth Allies to Burn

In addition to these individual herbs, you can burn various blends of plants, woods and resins to emanate a unique vibration in your sacred space.

Herbs of Appalachia

On top of all of these wonderful allies, we also carry an array of blended herbal smudge sticks, crafted by local women of Appalachia, like the burning bouquets from Torches Ceremonial (seasonal blends of locally-grown flowers and evergreen clippings), the mystically-aligned blends from Blushing lakes (like Sacred Space or Fairy Realm), and our newest herbal vendor, Appalachian Sacred Smoke, who creates intuitive seasonal blends.

These bundles often combine many of the herbs listed above, in addition to allies like pineapple sage, rose, celosia, globe amaranth and more.

Frankincense & Myrrh

Frankincense has been used in cultures dating all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, and the Christian tradition says the wise men brought frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Always revered as a mystical resin, frankincense is known to purify and cleanse not only energy, but has even been used as a disinfectant. It has also been known to help to open airways, reduce blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote tranquility.

Myrrh is known as the oil of Mother Earth, connecting us not only to the earth, but also strengthens and improves our relationship with our biological mothers. Its sedative-like effect provides peace in meditation and sleep.

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Palo Santo

Palo santo literally means "holy wood" in Spanish. Traditionally, palo santo has been used by Amazonian shamans in sacred ritual, dating all the way back to the Incas.

Smudging with palo santo is said to bring blessings to the space, eradicating negative energy and chase away evil spirits. It can be substituted in any instance that you would usually use white sage, as their properties are fairly similar. Both white sage and palo santo "wipe the slate clean," opening the way for positive energy to enter where there was once negativity.

The palo santo we carry comes from a sustainable source in Ecuador, who replants these sacred trees to give back to the Earth. The palo santo we carry comes from a 50 hectare tract of land, in the Machalilla National Park, dedicated to the conservation of the palo santo tree. Only dead branches that have fallen naturally are used. All good quality palo santo is sustainable because the oil needs years to mature within the dead branch.

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