Salvia apiana - cleaning the chaff off of the seeds of White Sage. Seed saving for the seed bank at the Mojave Desert Land Trust. I never understood before working with the plants and becoming an herbalist of the impact that commerce and that people have on the plants. Of course I understood the drought but how we live and act in nature has a crucial impact on the environment.
Not only do folks disrupt the land but the critters are also impacted by people’s actions in the wild. I will rant about dogs being taken in areas where they should not be. I LOATHE the dog owners who don’t mind the rules because they feel entitled to bring their four legged buddies with them in areas where it is protected and clear about NO DOGS ON TRAILS. The actions of these sort of selfish, mindless and rude people really have me annoyed and I have even had words with people who don’t understand why their dogs have an impact. I have literally been so upset after they admitted to knowing the rules of the National Park that I’ve told them “this is why people like you should not be allowed to leave the city”. Folks are loving the National Parks and the outdoors to the point that they have a negative impact on the environment. When your dog poops or pees out where the areas say NO DOGS, it is because the scent of the dogs will be picked up by the critters that call this area home. The coyotes, big horn sheep, the endangered birds, the tortoises all of these critters and more will be scared away kept out of their own area that is home because they picked up the scent of a dog. I would compare this to a home invasion. Shit, that feels awful when someone breaks into your home and destroys your stuff, even weaving out cars broken into. It feels like shit! So why do people feel it’s their right to do what they want just blows my mind and makes my blood boil.
Now back to White Sage, it makes me sad when I see folks foraging for White Sage to make smudge bundles. This plant is actually on the list of “to watch” threatened plant species here in California - United Plant Savers will show a list of threatened or to watch plants in your state/region.
If you like to use the sacred smoke of White Sage for smudging, consider growing your own plant for this purpose or if you are buying smudge bundles ask where they are sourced. 9 out of 10X the folks working at the stores will not know so just assume that they are not harvested for this mere purpose of smudge wand making.
Usually the ones we see for sale are all wildcrafted for commerce. If we STOP supporting businesses who are purchasing wildcrafted White Sage smudge bundles we can hopefully make a positive impact. The plants don’t have a voice BUT WE CAN speak for them and share with others about it not being sustainable then hopefully this will stop and this plant can thrive once again.
On top of that we have the drought which has impacted many of the plants especially those in desert regions. So save this plant, look into other sacred Blessing herbs to use for clearing, purifying, Blessing etc.... I have made smudge bundles using Sagebrush, PiñonPine Juniper and Rosemary & Piñon Pine (resin) available in my SHOP Shameful plug but I discourage folks buying from companies who are sourcing wildcrafted White Sage.
Ethically wildcrafted Piñon Pine & Sagebrush smudge wands
I once saw the Urban Outfitters was carrying White Sage Smudge Bundles - now these folks shopping online or in the store KNOW NOTHING about the plant other than its “cool” to have a smudge stick and they light it aflame and walk around thinking they know about smudging, so these folks who know nothing about this plant and how it’s in threat are contributing to the exploitation of White Sage.
Now there are medicinal benefits when smudging with certain plants aside of the whole spiritual side of sacred smoke or sacred blessing herbs. Certain plants have been used aside of in ceremony for purifying the air after or during an illness. Certain plants have anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial properties that will help clear the space as well as purify. I like to burn Sagebrush - Artemisia tridentata when I have a cold, flu or respiratory problems. It’s a refreshing clean smell that opens my lungs, clears stagnation and uplifts me.
Don’t mean to bash on people as they don’t know and personally I found it sickening to see it at shops like Urban Outfitters. We need to be stewards of the land and protect Mother Earth and her plants.
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