Smudge (literally: smouldering fire), in sticks or in a bundle, is a completely natural ceremonial incense that is used by indigenous people in America, for example in sweat houses. Yerba santa means ‘holy herb’ in Spanish. The leaves of the yerba santa were once used to treat asthma, respiratory infections and nasal cold (rhinitis). Other Native American tribes used it to make some kind of porridge to treat wounds, insect bites, broken bones and ulcers.
Doctors, therapists and bodyworkers are starting to discover the beneficent effects of the herb. Bundles of smudge are used around the world in order to get back in touch with the power of mother nature. Using smouldering plants and resin possibly originated in the primeval times, in campfires in caves. The ceremony of cleansing people, places and attributes with smoke is still performed today. Furthermore, the smoke of particular plants (smudge) proved not only to be handy in expelling annoying flying insects, it also preserved foods and hides. Lastly, particular sorts of smoke were used as protection against invisible ghosts and thoughts.
To apply those protecting and healing practices, leaves and resins were burned to create smoke. With large feathers, this smoke was then used to stroke the person or object with. Furthermore, the smoke of particular plants was used in healing practices, while other plants were used for their more general powers.
The smudge smoke is created by placing dried plants or herbs on smouldering coals, or by burning dried herbs in a pottery bowl or a large shell. White sage is burned during ceremonies to expel the evil spirits, negative thoughts or influences. The leaves are famous for their extraordinary smell, and they are used as natural expeller against moths (in clothing) or mosquitoes (in a room).
Ca. 10 cm – 12 cm
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