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How to do an Herbal Cleansing

Over the last few years, the West has assimilated the indigenous practice of burning herbs for cleansing purposes.

This isn't just a trend, but a way of life for spiritual wellbeing.

In this article, we'll address the basics of how to conduct an herbal cleansing.



The practice of burning herbs has been in existence as long as humans have. As burning plants we an essential part of survival, we began to learn about their characteristics and applications to physical wellness and esoteric knowledge.

Herbal cleansing has different ritual names according to different cultures. For example, with Native Americans, this act is called "smudging."


As mentioned, herbs were usually burned during rituals and ceremonies within the community; sweat lodge, meditation, invocation, evocation, and exorcisms are a few examples of their application.

Modern-Day Applications

In the modern world (particularly in the West), using herbal smoke in a room is utilized for both spiritual and aesthetic purposes.

Unfortunately shortcuts are made during the production of herbs for cleansing wands, herb bundles, and incense, and what would be ethically sourced herbs are now substituted with synthetic fragrances or exported from abroad.

To avoid encountering such products, it's important as a consumer to look for transparency in the company that sells such items; honestly, this refers to everything we buy as a consumer but let's stick to the topic.

Here are a few things to look for:

  • Ingredient list

  • Source of materials

  • Fair exchange of trade

  • Latin and common names of plants

Step by Step Guide

You've acquired your herb bundle and now you're wondering, how do I use this?

Before you begin, there are a few things you can do to enhance the experience. Firstly, declutter the space as much as possible. Energy tends to be condensed in cluttered spaces, so by clearing that you allow for the energy in the room to flow more freely.

Secondly, ground and shield yourself. This is a routine I personally incorporate into my daily ritual and advocate for others to do as well. This is like turning on the security system in your home; an activation, so to speak so you are grounding in the earth and in your purpose and have your senses in sync as you maneuver the day. If you're doing this in an unfamiliar space or are cleaning low vibrational energies, this is extremely important to protect your energetic field as well.

Once those two steps have been considered or practiced, now it's time to set your intention and light up the herb bundle.

Open your windows and doors, if possible. As you light it, look for red embers to appear. This will ensure there is a steady burn do you don't need to relight it.

Begin wafting the smoke around your energetic field to clear the space there.

Proceed to waft and walk around the space. You may also set the wand/bundle down on a fire proof bowl or plate.

As the smoke permeates the air, continue to set and affirm your intentions.

To diminish the fire, dab the lit end into sand or powder. Refrain from using water as this will make it moist and difficult to burn the next time.


Moving Forward

Sit and bask in the cleansed space, in gratitude to the plants for their offerings. It is encouraged to continue working those intentions afterwards. Persistence and consistency is a crucial aspect of alchemy, magick, and working with the laws of the universe.

In regard to how often to cleanse a space, this is dependent on your situation. You can gauge this by accessing your needs, goals, how often you are around people, what environments your daily life entails, your state of well-being, etc..

Here are general recommendations:

  • Maintenance and Upkeep: weekly or biweekly

  • Heavy spiritual work: daily

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The herbalist, chemist, and medicine maker at Asili Apothecary, Gloria created this space to facilitate healing and learning for yourself and those around you. The apothecary and homestead is based in Fayetteville, NC. Gloria enjoys time with her family and Mother Nature.

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