While those of us currently in this third millennial world may use chemical sprays like Febreze to freshen the air and disinfect, the fully functional herb known as sage has been the Indigenous People's choice for generations.
Amazingly, our post-modern world's conventional view actually supports this dynamic plant as a benefit as well. Science has now actually validated that "it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space" by burning sage the way many of our Indigenous relatives around the world have traditionally.
The Native Americans have called the ritual practice of burning herbs and incense like Sage, Palo Santo, Copal, Frankincense, and Myrrh "smudging". The expression "medicinal smoke" is the term the scientific community uses. Remarkably, in 2007 investigators reported the fact that "medicinal smoke reduces airborne bacteria". Recent scientific studies show that the burning of sage as a medicinal herb causes an astoundingly 94% reduction of bacteria in the air. Artemisia, belonging to the daisy family, is not the same sage to be confused with the culinary delight in our kitchen pantries. This particular plant has marvelous strength and resiliency with an awesome capability to survive some of the toughest terrains to thrive and grow. Nature typically fashions this plant into an herb or shrub which oozes essential oils in its veins known to be quite chemically powerful. Coming from a famous family line of herbal notables like tarragon, mugwort, and wormwood, the Native American Indians and many other Indigenous People across the globe have long held the sagebrush sacred.
There are many diverse varieties of sagebrush. However, currently the most common kind used for space clearing is a shrub species of the sunflower family found in western North America. It is scientifically called Artemisia californica and is also known as California Sage.
Sagebrush is typically sold in small to large rolls of quaint dried up bundles. Many health food stores and new age markets carry it. Sage can also easily be found for sale online. Luckily, it's a very common plant, so it shouldn't be too hard to find.
Once you've acquired some sage, the sacred herb to bless your space, next decide upon a receptacle to place the sage in. Some choose to burn sage in a clay pot, a shell, or flat rock. Finally, when the herb is lit and smoldering, a feather is often used to fan the smoke throughout the space. Of course feathers can be found out in nature or via your local shaman. Other more urban contemporaries may buy feathers from specialty shops or even online. This find may require a bit more focused intention to get, but it's still very possible.
Now fully equipped with the sacred sagebrush, a vessel to burn it in, and a feather to fan the flames, you are all set to "smudge" and clear out any negative energies that are present. It is very important to begin with your intentions being pure and focused. Afterward, go throughout the space ardently summoning only positive energies. Remember to simply maintain moderation in your activities and always be aware of any excessive use of the fire and smoke when clearing the space. Ultimately, the presence of the medicinal smoke and your prayerful or focused intent is all that is needed to call forth the wisdom, clarity, spiritual elevation and effective cleansing forces the ancient ritual of burning sacred sagebrush offers.
Brodie, E.L., DeSantis, T.Z., Moberg Parker, J.P., Zubietta, I.X., Piceno, Y.M., Andersen, G.L., 2006. Urban aerosols harbor diverse and dynamic bacterial. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, 299–304.
Ebrahim Afshinnekoo et al, Geospatial Resolution of Human and Bacterial Diversity with City-Scale Metagenomics, published online Cell Systems, Feb. 2015