Before we had the technology to extract the essential oils from plants, burning leaves, flowers, roots and resins would have been the earliest and simplest forms of aromatherapy (the use of aromatic plant extracts for healing). The practice of burning dried plants also called ‘smoke cleansing’ has been carried out extensively across cultures, often but not always in connection with spiritual practices.
Smoke cleansing was once common place in hospitals, places of worship and the home. It was believed to promote health, clear the air, enhance meditation practices, celebrations or remembrance ceremonies and cultivate a sense of protection and grounding.
Burning herbs takes many forms. You may be familiar with the term smudge stick or smudging, which refers to a specific Indigenous American sacred smoke ceremony. Most cultures across the world have developed their own forms of smoke cleansing from burning resins, to incense sticks or cones, loose herbs or smoke sticks.
When we burn herbs an aromatic smoke is released containing many of the beneficial compounds of the plant itself. Research suggests that burning is a fast and effective method for delivering the therapeutic properties to an individual, with different plants offering a rich variety of benefits. One study noted a 95% reduction of airborne bacteria in a room after burning a mixture of aromatic herbs with Mango or Pipal wood for an hour. A reduction of bacteria in the room was still noted up to 30 days after the burning.
As well as the therapeutic benefits that we obtain from the plant itself, the process of burning may well have its own healing benefits. Fire has long been associated with transforming energy from one state to another. Using fire imagery, or burning something can give us a sense of change, transformation or release. You may like to have a go at our guided smoulder stick ritual.
We grow and respectfully gather all of the plants that we weave into our Smoulder Sticks and Smoke Cleansing blends. Please do remember that plants are powerful, and it is important to ensure that we work with them in relationship by ensuring that we gather them respectfully and that they are suited to us and our current health needs.
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