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Why we burn Sage - The Science

Updated on April 16, 2017
Smudge stick of white sage that has been used to clear positive ions or negative energy.
Smudge stick of white sage that has been used to clear positive ions or negative energy. | Source

How does Sage work? The Science of burning sage and the effects are explained about this common natural herb, White Sage. The knowledge passed down to us by the Native Americans can now be explained by Science.

How it works? The Science of why we burn White Sage

Today it is not uncommon to see a bundle of White Sage sold in our local crystal and metaphysical shops and in every conscious home. It is clearly known that this was a common practice passed on to us by the Native Americans and has great spiritual significance and uses. So is there any science to tell us why it is that this common plant is so valued an is most effective when burned?

White sage Plant - Used to make smudge sticks for energy clearing
White sage Plant - Used to make smudge sticks for energy clearing | Source

The reason why we burn it is because of the negative ions. In science we learn that positive ions are the bad ones. Positive ions are the cause of many of our health and soil problems. Burning it releases the negative ions, which are the good guys and they basically cancel out the positive ones. Negative ions neutralize our energy field therefore naturally improving our health and many other awesome side effects like stimulating the endocrine system and balancing our hormones. Negative ions also help our brains by promoting alpha brainwaves which increase our brain by amplitude giving us a higher awareness level. Even the oil from sage has great benefit. Sage oil contains flavonoids, tannins, alpha and beta-thujone, camphor, cineole and rosmarinic acid. Combined these have antifungal and antibacterial functions. This medicinal and ever spiritual helping herb is one of the greatest gifts of knowledge passed down by the Native Americans.

Postive Ion defined

Positive Ion (Cation): an atom (or molecule) that has lost one or more electrons due to a high-energy impact. Natural forces that generate positive ions include the decay of radioactive minerals, radon gas, forest fires, lightning and ultraviolet rays.

Whiteboard with complicated stuff on it
Whiteboard with complicated stuff on it | Source

Negative ion vs. Positive ions defined

Negative Ion (Anion): an atom (or molecule) that has gained one or more extra negatively charged electrons. Negative ions are naturally generated by evaporating water, ocean surf, waterfalls and ionic minerals such as tourmaline.

Negative ions have all kinds of benefits but most importantly is that is naturally purifies the air. This is already caused in nature by thunderstorms. A large amount of negative ions are generated by electrical discharge and it naturally occurs in thunderstorms cleaning the air we breathe naturally.

When there is a high enough concentration of negative ions in the air, they will attract to floating particles in large numbers. This causes the particle to become too heavy to remain airborne. As a result, the particle will fall out of the air, and will then be collected by normal cleaning activities, such as vacuuming or dusting. Negative ions can also be artificially generated as well. You may have seen Air Ionisers sold in stores which use an external power source or USB. These can even be plugged in your car to freshen the air in your car.

Quiz: White Sage and Positive and Negative Ions

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History and Uses of Medicinal White Sage

Before reading this how familiar were you with White Sage and Negative and Positive Ions?

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White Sage Cleansing and Smudge Sticks

I hope you've enjoyed learning about the science of burning white sage. Please continue on to White Sage for Spiritual Energy Cleansing to learn more about:

  • How to create a smudge stick
  • How to use a smudge stick and your intentions
  • How to clean your home to free of any negative energy or (Positive Ions A.k.a the bad guys)

    You will also learn how to perform a ritual and a prayer you can use before you begin.

Your Comments

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    • Fiona Jean Mckay profile image

      Fiona 13 months ago from South Africa

      I have been using sage smudge-sticks for a while now and never knew why they worked. Now I do!

    • newbizmau profile image

      Guided Abundance 2 years ago from Mobile, AL


      Great I'm very excited that you will be trying it for the first time. May this be an enlightening and freeing experience for you. I hope this will lead to more experiences for you.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      An excellent scientific explanation of the benefits of burning white sage. I may give it a try.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Guided Abundance 2 years ago from Mobile, AL

      @DJ Anderson

      I appreciate your kind words and am excited you think it was entertaining. I will double check the quiz.

      Thanks Sincerely Maurice

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Hello, Maurice,

      I am not an expert on burning White Sage and smudging. Your article

      answered many questions I had wondered about.

      On the Quiz: White Sage and positive and negative ions, you might want to check the second question and answer. You state that the Negative Ions promote Alpha Brainwaves. Yet, the quiz marks that answer incorrect.

      Your hub was both entertaining with the video, and informational with

      your knowledge of positive and negative ions. I look forward to reading more of your hubs.

      Good Job!