Tag Archives: Native American smudging ritual

Aromatherapy and Native Americans: Smudging rituals to keep bad spirits at bay

Ancient rituals used aromatherapy as a means to fight against negativity and evil. Our ancestors believed that good aromas ward off evil beings and keep bad creatures at bay. Essential oils were used to eliminate things that were not good for health or human well being. It was strongly opined that aromatherapy had a profound effect on one’s life and hence should be mandatory in all kinds of cleansing – physical, emotional, spiritual or psychic. Right from the ancient Egyptians to Greeks, Hindus, Romans and Persians, everyone advocated aromatherapy as an alternative kind of medicinal system.

Native Americans and Aromatherapy: Native Americans, like the ancient civilizations, have been using essential oils in their daily routine and spiritual/domestic rituals for a long time. They possess a respect for mother earth and use everything natural in their day to day life. They believe that essential oils, with their strong aromas, can fight against evil spirits and enhance their well-being. Native American practices use fragrant herbs and oils for cleaning a space. They have faith in aromatic herbs like Sage, Sweetgrass, Juniper, Cedarwood, Pine/Pinion needles to help cleanse and clear the air of negative influences and attract positivity into life.

But why should we talk about the Native American way of aromatherapy? Reason: It is simple, useful, primitive and natural. They have a wider sense of aromatherapy than most aromatherapists and know which oils or herbs are the best to ward off intense emotions, mental havocs and other bad energies from life. Most of the herbs/oils used by the Natives are common to all and can be purchased from aromatherapy stores or online. Though they do not make attractive blends (like popular aromatherapists do), they use herbs in their most natural form – as herbs with aromas. Below are a list of herbs preferred for use by aromatherapists.

Native American essential oil recipes: The natives do not follow any particular recipe except the use of smudging sticks or what is called the smudging ritual. Tying together sage sticks into bundles, the Natives use them as smudge sticks. As sticks, Sage is often used as a form of incense. The aroma of Sage cleanses the space and frees the air of negativity.

Sweetgrass is another commonly used herb/oil by Native Americans. They believe that Sweetgrass will cleanse a room, scent and purify a space. Unlike smudge sticks, Sweetgrass is generally made into a braid of about 12 inch thickness. Several other herbs or oils are also used by Native Americans, but most of them are burned raw, without addition of any other synthetics. Another way to use Sweetgrass or Sage or Juniper etc. is to use them as hydrosols. This not only saves money, but also reduces the intensity of the aromas. On the other hand, such hydrosol usage should be checked for any additional synthetic additions.