What Happens When You Burn Sage?

Burning sage is a common practice in many homes and communities for certain medicinal and emotional benefits. Native Americans and indigenous populations have used the fragrant plant for hundreds of years. These tribes include the Lakota, Chumash, Cahuilla, and others, explains Healthline. Used to cleanse a space and promote healing, burning sage has been a practice since the time of the Romans, according to WebMD. It was also used to treat digestive problems and even memory problems.

Normally used as a spice, burning sage has recently become more popular in many places around the world outside of tribal populations. The characteristic white smoke is often used to scent rooms and clear negative energy. While often used in cooking, sage can also be taken as a tablet, capsule, spray, or liquid, explains the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. However, while sage has been used as a medicine for hundreds of years, little research has been done on the legitimacy of the claims and the efficacy of sage.

More research is needed to understand the benefits of sage

While many people have used sage for various health benefits, most of them need more research to be proven. Some of these benefits include relieving a headache, lowering inflammation, helping with digestion, reducing depression, and lowering stress, just to name a few, according to Verywell Mind.

The most common reason for burning sage is the antimicrobial and insect-repelling properties of the spice. There are different types of sage, and white prairie sage is both antimicrobial and antibacterial, while white sage is just antimicrobial. Both types of sage also are helpful in keeping away insects, explains Healthline. Sage has been used to remove spiritual negativity and clear a room for centuries because of these properties.

One study from the University of Mississippi showed that white sage, specifically, has many compounds that decrease stress and pain by activating certain receptors in the brain. However, it should be noted that many studies that look at sage do so with sage extract, not burning it. Whether burning sage provides the same benefits as sage extract has yet to be confirmed, explains WebMD. It's also important to note that while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved sage as a spice and seasoning, it has not done the same for the medical and emotional benefits (via Verywell Mind).