Burning Sage to Kill Bacteria in the Air

Burning Sage to Kill Bacteria

Did you know that by burning sage to kill bacteria in the air, you can actually purify your room, home or space with this centuries old traditional remedy?

White Sage has strong historical ties to the Indigenous or Native Americans as they pioneered this practice over over a thousand years ago. Not only that, other cultures like the Greeks, Egyptians and other Northern European countries have also practised this form of cleansing.

Burning Sage to Kill Bacteria in the Air

White Sage is known to have antimicrobial properties that help kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi while also working as an insect deterrent.

Sage smoke is believed to produce negative ions, which bind themselves to positive ions in the air and these particles can be viruses, bacteria, dust, mould spores, and other harmful particles that may be present.

White Sage Plant
This is what natural white sage looks like growing in the wild.

Research shows that by smudging or burning sage in an enclosed area or room for one hour has helped to reduced airborne bacteria by 94 percent, and the place stayed almost entirely bacteria-free for 24 hours.

Some strains of harmful bacteria could not be detected for up to 30 days during that experiment that was conducted in a 2007 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacol.

The process is when the smoke “smudges” the air in the room or space and the properties in the smoke will kill most of the existing bacteria in the air. It is also recommended to do this between 30 to 60 minutes for the effect.

White Sage is 100% natural that is harvested from the wild and will not cause allergic reactions for people with scent sensitivities. There is also much research done about various sage plants and traditional Chinese medicine.

Smudging to Kill Bacteria
By smudging, you can rid your room or space of harmful bacteria.

How to Burn Sage?

There are two ways to burn sage where one is by using a sage smudging stick and the other is by burning just loose sage leaves.

Burning A Sage Smudging Stick – These are pre-wrapped dried sage in bundles that are tied together with cotton string. The bundles come in various sizes like 4, 5, 6, 7 and even up to 10 inches long.

This is the most easiest method of burning the sage where you just need a flame to light the end of the sage bundle, letting it catch fire and then blowing off the fire. Think of this like lighting a cigar.

After you have doused the flame, the ember will continue to burn the sage bundle emitting smoke, and this is when you go around to smudge or smoke your space.

When doing this, ash will drop therefore it is recommended to carry along a fireproof container when you do your smudging or cleansing. This is considered as a smoky method.

Burning Loose Sage
Burning of loose sage in a fireproof bowl.

Burning Loose Sage Leaves – This is when you buy loose sage to burn using a charcoal tablet disc and is not as common as the first method. However, there are those who prefer to burn sage this way.

A charcoal tablet or disc is lit from the side and placed in a fireproof container or burner. That charcoal disc usually burns for around 30 to 40 minutes, and the loose sage leaves are placed on it to burn.

This is considered no as smoky as above and you can control how much you want to burn or even mix the sage with other herbs or resins.

Direct Burning Sage – You can just burn the sage leaves directly over a fireproof bowl or container without a charcoal disc. This is a simple method but still works.

Caution when Burning Sage

Of course there are certain precautions one must be aware about as burning sage creates smoke, which can and may cause health problems for individuals who are prone to asthma and other respiratory conditions.

There have been rare cases where pets do not react well to the smudging process hence it is highly recommended to perform this with no pets or anyone around. Overall, it is known to be safe for both pets, kids and adults.

If you are sensitive towards any kind of smoke, do not worry as not all is lost. We also have a smokeless method using our store-made smudging spray which is equally useful.

Killing Bacteria by Burning White Sage
The smoke from sage helps to neutralize the bad air.

Benefits of Burning Sage:

There are numerous benefits of burning sage and it depends on where you get your information from. While most westerners will claim that sage is best used for cleansing, that is not exactly true.

Sage is well known to be a purifier rather than a cleanser, and this accurate information is obtained from original Native Americans. However, over the centuries, there has been much research and experiments done with sage.

At the end of the day, it is known that burning sage can help with;

  • Removing bad and harmful bacteria from the air
  • Improving intuition
  • Provides grounding
  • Purifying and area and specific objects
  • Improving mood and reducing stress and anxiety
  • Repelling insects
  • Better your quality of sleep
Dried loose white sage leaves
This is what white sage leaves look like when dried.


There are many articles available online about burning sage and so on, and some of them have their own methods in doing so. At the end of the day, it is what you are comfortable with that matters.

If you visit the Green Daun new age shop, we can explain in person, which is recommended for those who may want to learn more about the smudging process or about other smudging products we sell.

We can even do a basic demonstration of burning the sage, to test the scent and see how much of smoke is emitted when smudging. We can share our knowledge with you, which makes us different from other shops or the online sellers out there.

At the end of the day, knowledge is shared and not kept and burning sage to kill bacteria in the air is something that we should look at in this day of time.

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