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Smudging:BurningHerbsToPurifyAirOfHarmfulBacteriaAndEnergies
BundleofdriedsageVia:MonaMakela

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byLukeSumpter
onJune12,2015

Smudgingisthenamegiventotheceremonialanddaytodayactofcleansingandpurificationusingaselectionofherbs,whicharebundledtogether
usingstringtoformasmudgestickandthenignited.Thesmokeemittedfromthebundleissaidtocleansenegativeenergy,influenceorspiritsandpurify
places,peopleandevenobjectssuchastools.
Muchlikewashingthehandspriortoameal,smudgesmokeisusedtocleanseapersonorspaceinanenergeticbathofscentedsmoke,perhapsbeforea
prestigiousorpowerfulceremony.

Thesmudgestickandtheritualitselfaretreatedwithgreatreverenceandrespectamongtraditionalsocieties.NativeAmericanculturesfamouslyutilized
theherbsageinrituals,somethingwhichhasbeenwidelyadoptedbythoseintheNewAgecommunity.Yetmanydifferentherbsareusedforalmost
identicalceremoniesworldwide,suchasjuniper,lavender,cedarandnonprocessedtobacco.
Smudginghasbeenutilizedforthousandsofyears,possiblypredatingNativeAmericanculture.Theactofburningherbsandplantresinsinaceremonial
andreligioussettingismirroredallovertheglobe.Theburningofincenseburrowsdeeplyintoourpast,occurringinEgyptin1530B.C.EandinIsraelin
thefifthcenturyB.C.Einceremonieswherethepracticewassoreveredthatseparatealtarswhereused.
Likemanyspiritualandhistoricpractices,smudgingresidesbehindanerectintellectualbarrierofskepticism,whichisntwithoutitsreasoning.However,
withregardstosmudging,scienceisnowshowingthatancientcultureswereontosomething,andthatthisritualisticactmaygobeyondmere
superstition.
Publishedresearchrevealsthatcleansingherbalsmoke,suchasthatmusteredintheceremonialburningofsmudgesticksandincense,mayindeedcleanse
thesurroundingairofharmfulbacteria,grantingthepracticeprovenclinicalbenefit.
A2006reviewtitledMedicinalSmokespublishedintheJournalofEthnopharmacologyadministeredsingleandmultiingredientherbalandnonherbal
remediesinsmokeform.Theauthorsreported:Themostfrequentmedicalindicationsformedicinalsmokearepulmonary(23.5%),neurological(21.8%)
anddermatological(8.1%).Otherusesofsmokearenotexactlymedicalbutbeneficialtohealth,andincludesmokeasapreservativeorarepellentandthe
socialuseofsmoke.
Theauthorsstatethatambientsmokethetypeofpassivesmokegeneratedbysmudgingisairpurifyingandthatsmokebasedremediesarehighly
effectiveinthattheyofferrapiddeliverytothebrainandmoreefficientabsorptionbythebody.

Contributingfurthercredibilitytotheclinicaleffectivenessofsmudgingisa2007papertitledMedicinalSmokeReducesAirborneBacteriaalso
publishedwithintheJournalofEthnopharmacology.
Theauthorsopenwiththeirintent:Thisstudyrepresentsacomprehensiveanalysisandscientificvalidationofourancientknowledgeabouttheeffectof
ethnopharmacologicalaspectsofnaturalproductssmokefortherapyandhealthcareonairbornebacterialcompositionanddynamics.
Theresearchersanalyzedtheburningofwoodandamixtureofmedicinalherbsoveraonehourperiodinaclosedroom.Amassive94%reduction
inairbornebacteriawasdetectedoverthisshortperiodand,astheauthorsdetail,theabilityofthesmoketopurifyanddisinfecttheairandtomakethe
environmentcleanerwasmaintainedupto24hintheclosedroom.
Averylargelistofpathogenicbacteriawerefoundtobeabsentinanopenroomafteracolossal30daysfollowingtreatment,leadingtheauthorsto
conclude,Wehavedemonstratedthatusingmedicinalsmokeitispossibletocompletelyeliminatediverseplantandhumanpathogenicbacteriaoftheair
withinconfinedspace.
Consideringthesimplisticnatureofwhatsmudgingconsistsof,theresultsitoffersarenothingshortofstunning.Andthebenefitsofsmudgingareeven
moreessentialwhenweconsiderthestateoftheairwithinurbanenvironments,whereahugeportionofthehumanpopulationresides.
AlthoughthetraditionaluseofsmudgingwasnotintendedtoseekanddestroymicroscopicorganismsbaringLatinnames,itcertainlyservesthatpurpose
inthemodernworldaworldfacinganincreasingarrayofantibioticresistantbacteriaandpathogens.Thoughourancestorsdidntviewtheworld
throughamodernscientificlens,itappearsthepracticeofsmudgingwasforgedfromthefiresofintuition.Smudgingisalsoshowingpromiseasan
effectivearomatherapyagent,assistingthoseplaguedbydepression,resentment,anger,fearandgrief.

alsoseenin
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