One of the core values of white sage smudging involves cleansing, clearing, and blessings. You’re certainly not limited to using herbal smoke to create a safe and spiritually supportive space.
There are many herbs that have nutritional and healing properties. Many have been used historically through native/natural wisdom.
Traditional wisdom dates back far greater than any organized medical practices that now call themselves “traditional”. Now the wisdom and experience of cultures are called holistic or natural, as if that is a bad thing.
Holistic vs spiritual
Okay, it’s not a matter of holistic vs spiritual. In a sense, spirit’s role is holistic in nature.
Holistic means whole, and holistic practices focus on restoring to being whole. What does this mean, to be whole? Is it “feeling good”, strong and full of energy? Is it feeling balanced with your emotions? Holistic health means having integrity on all levels: body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
Your spirit, aka soul, is holistically focused, giving support for all of your physical experiences. At least that’s the idea. Your physical form, a denser energy than your spirit, can be seen as the foundation for “all the above”. How can you bridge between the higher vibrations of spirit and the denser levels of the physical world? Maybe the answer comes from nature, and the spiritual essence of plants that balance, heal, and support life.
Let’s look into a handful of herbs that support body, mind, emotions and spirit. This is not a comprehensive list, that would be a book in itself! My focus has been on plants you can grow, as well as saving seeds and sharing with others. Some plants can be grown indoors year-round, and harvested for both daily wellness and spiritual offering.
This plant has a licorice-like flavor, and both bulb and leaves are edible. Fennel is easy to grow, and will reseed itself, whether wanted or not. You should grow fennel at the edge of your garden, as it’s not really a companion plant. As far as the benefits, fennel is great for digestive issues, bloating, and settling stomach pain. Often I will stop and munch on the delicate leaves as I wander through my garden. Fennel is so gentle it can be given to babies for colic. Women can find relief from PMS, cramps, and other issues with their cycle. Historically fennel was used as an eye or ear wash. Fennel is anti-inflammatory, and supports the urinary tract, helping with kidney stones. Take precaution with the seeds, using with moderation. Fennel tea bags are available: Traditional Medicinals Organic Fennel Tea
In my series on healing herbs, holy basil was my first choice. You can read more about holy basil, aka Tulsi, here
Holy basil is one of my Top Ten’s for everyday holistic health and wellness. I purchase my holy basil dried leaves in bulk from a local, trusted source. Tulsi is the variety grown in India. Kaprao holds the same botanical name, it’s just the Thai variety. I’ve recently purchased Kaprao seeds for my indoor winter garden.
Holy basil is known for it’s calming effect, and support for overall health. It’s an adaptogen, which means it brings balance. Tulsi has been used for bronchitis, asthma, relieving fevers, blood sugar, and mouth ulcers.
When drinking holy basil, you can ask for the blessings and support of the goddess Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu, the god who preserves life.
I prefer to purchase Tulsi, holy basil, in bulk: The Tao of Tea Purple Leaf Tulsi, 100% Organic Tulsi, 1-Pound. You will find some twigs in the mix, but no worries, you’re still getting a whole lot of goodness!
Mint is such a broad category, and many herbs used for health and wellness are indeed in the mint family, such as lemon balm. The mint family is known for its uplifting effect. You can dry branches of mint and add a branch to your sage or cedar mix.
As far as the physical support offered by mint, being an anti-inflammatory is high on my list. Mint is good for heartburn, nausea, colds, and headaches.
Be careful which mint plant you use, for not all mints are good for consumption. Pennyroyal, a plant in the mint family, can cause a miscarriage. Peppermint tends to be the favored mint. You can buy loose leaf peppermint from a trusted source, such as Davidson’s Tea Bulk, Organic Peppermint Leaves, 16-Ounce Bag, purchase seeds, or buy properly identified plants in the springtime.
If you want to grow mint in your garden, you might consider container growing. Mint will spread with delight! I recently cut back several branches this winter, brewing a wonderful mint tea that I quickly donated to the area of my garden where moles have taken over. While mint is healing, moles do not appreciate mint. I did offer blessings, suggesting that the moles move on to their next adventure.
Sage, like mint, is a broad term that covers several plant. For example, White Sage (salvia apiana) is the variety used for smudging wands and ceremonies. It’s also used has a herbal tonic for it’s calming effect. Desert sage (Artemesia tridentata) isn’t known for ingesting, but has been used for smudging and fragrance.
Most of us are familiar with the sage spice used for thanksgiving dinner. The culinary herb is Salvia officinalis. I can only assume that the sage in my herbal garden is the Salvia officinalis variety. If you are buying herbs, its good to know the botanical name of the plant you are buying.
Spiritual Blessings for your Spiritual Tea
Let’s keep it simple. Use everything you’ve got. Ha! While these two statements seem to be opposites, remember that opposites do attract!
- First, start by setting an intent that this simple cup of tea is for you, deep and holistically.
- Brew your tea, giving it time to steep. During that time focus on your senses to help you bring focus to here and now.
- While your tea is steeping, give thought to how you want to feel, what you would like to invite into your life.
- Before drinking your tea, offer the fragrance and steam up to the heavens, and (depending where you are) either turn in each direction, or rotate the cup in each direction. During this step, offer your alliance and opening to holistic support and blessings.
- Enjoy your tea, with thoughts with each sip such as “thank you”, “Aho (amen)”, “I love you”, “I appreciate your support”.