White Sage

Biological Name:

Salvia apiana (White-Sage)

Natural Habitat:

White sage is a type of flowering plant that is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is typically found in dry, rocky soils, such as open woodlands and chaparral.


White-Sage is a perennial herb that is native to North America. It has small white flowers and opposite oblong leaves. It is often used in traditional medicine and as a culinary herb.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What does white sage used for?
A: A 2016 research project for the University of Mississippi established that white sage (Salvia apiana) is rich in compounds that activate certain receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for elevating mood levels, reducing stress, and even alleviating pain.

Q: How does sage work spiritually?
A: When sage is burned, it releases negative ions, which is linked to putting people into a positive mood. The Latin word for sage salvia stems form the word heal. Other qualities believed to be associated with sage when burned are giving wisdom, clarity, and increasing spiritual awareness.”

Q: What does sage represent spiritually?
A: Sage became a popular symbol of wisdom, believed to improve memory and grant wisdom. The very word sage means a wise man. There was also a superstition that sage thrived when all was going well, but would start to wilt when things were going badly.

Q: What is the difference between sage and white sage?
A: The key distinction is in how the two species are used. While common sage is often used in cooking, white sage is more commonly used in incense rituals and as a fragrant plant. This is because white sage exudes a much more intense, tart and resinous scent. Another distinguishing feature is the leaves.

Q: Who should use white sage?
A: It’s also a sacred herb to several Indigenous communities, including the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Navajo. The Chumash people, for instance, who are native to central and southern coastal regions of California, use white sage in healing sessions to purify the central nervous system.

Q: Is white sage sacred?
A: White Sage and other smudge products (burning sweet grass, palo santo, etc. in order to “clear negative energy”) has become increasingly popular among non-native people. However, the practice of smudging and these plants are considered sacred medicine to many Native American/Indigenous Nations.

Q: What healing properties does sage have?
A: For a long time, sage (Salvia) species have been used in traditional medicine for the relief of pain, protecting the body against oxidative stress, free radical damages, angiogenesis, inflammation, bacterial and virus infection, etc., Several studies suggest that sage species can be considered for drug development …

Q: What natives use white sage?
A: The Cheyenne use the white sage in their Sun Dance and Standing Against Thunder ceremonies (Hart 1976). Other tribes who used white sage include the Arapaho, Comanche, Gros Ventre, Creek, Navaho, Tewa, and Ute (Nickerson 1966, Carlson and Jones 1939, Hart 1976, Thwaites 1905, Denig 1855, Elmore 1944, Robbins et al.

Q: What is the best sage to burn in your home?
A: White sage is probably the most common and popular herb for smudging. It is associated with purity and has a strong and heavy presence. It’s very useful when you need a major space cleansing.

Q: What are the benefits of burning sage in your home?
A: Removing bacteria from the air.Repelling insects.Improving intuition.Purifying specific objects.Improving mood and reducing stress and anxiety.

Q: What should you not do when burning sage?
A: Sage burning 101: Always stay present! If you see little embers fall on the ground, tamp them out immediately. Never let the burning sage stay unattended for any reason. Also, take care not to inhale too much of the smoke.

Q: What religion uses sage?
A: While sage is commonly associated with smudging and several Native American, First Nations, Inuit or Métis cultures may use forms of sage that are local to their region, the use of sage is neither universal, nor as widespread as many believe.

Q: What is the smell of white sage?
A: The aroma of white sage is said to be herbaceous, bright, and cleansing. It’s scent is thought to be powerful, without being overwhelming. White sage has a versatile aroma which pairs well with palo santo, desert sage, lemongrass, lavender, and other florals.

Q: Which sage is best for cleansing?
A: Each have their own unique qualities. For example, blue sage is often used in cleansing and healing rituals, while desert sage is used more for purifying and protection. White Sage is used for releasing what is troubling the mind and for removing negative energy.

Q: What is the best sage for healing?
A: Use white sage, if possible: Healers and herbalists often prefer to use California white sage, also known as bee sage. Of course, there are alternatives, and each has its own healing properties: blue sage is often used in cleansing and healing rituals, and desert sage is used for purifying and protection.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.