‘Smudging’: is there room for traditional beliefs in modern, scientific, natural medicine?

Ahhh the irony ‘smudging’ my new room in the integrative medical practice where I proudly use scientific, research methodology to help people get better.

Have you heard of smudging? It’s an ancient practice of native Americans where they burn herbs, mainly white sage, to waft smoke through the air of a space to cleanse the location and sometimes people of any unwanted energies that may be lingering.Sonia McNaughton herbalism naturopathy evidence based medicine thyroid pmt pmdd pcos

Sometimes balancing my passionate belief and practice of evidence-based, natural medicine with the kookier cross-cultural traditions of  herbalism makes me dive straight into a peer review journal article to see if I can find some kernel of fact in these practices.

Guess what I found?! A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology proved medicinal smoke produced from burning wood and a mixture of smelly medicinal herbs caused a 94% reduction of bacterial counts in 60 minutes!
Link to study here if you want to check it out.

It seems as if there may be some basis in fact to why native Americans used to burn herbs to clear their air.  Whether or not my efforts create a fresh space remains to be seen …at least there will be less chance of catching a bug in my rooms 😉

If you are keen to ‘smudge’ your space please make sure you keep the smoke well away from your smoke detectors and sprinkler systems unless you want to add a water element to your ritual.

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