Why You Should Think Twice Before You Give People White Sage For Christmas

Bundles of white sage are being stocked at department stores, and trinket shops are busy adding the herb to their counters for quick access. However, buying white sage may have more consequences than you think. Nevertheless, it also has countless benefits, making it hard not to see why this herb is so popular.

Some believe white sage can help get rid of negative energy and release old patterns, which is why many use it upon moving into a new home or when they want to, quite literally, clear the air in their living spaces. Used in various cultures for centuries, sage is thought to remove bacteria from the air when it's burned, providing a better sense of clarity and potentially an immunity boost, Verywell Health explained.

Unfortunately, as with many traditions, burning sage now runs the risk of becoming commodified. White sage has a long history of ceremonial use in Native American cultures as well as other civilizations across the globe. Without proper respect, burning sage can become a quick fix when it once served as a powerful tool used during sacred rituals for generations. If you want to burn sage or give it as a gift this season, make sure that it's with intention and respect for these ancestors as well as your own.

White sage is endangered

As more people have learned about the benefits of this plant, the demand for its healing properties has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, this has made way for rapid over-harvesting. "With an exponential increase over the past five or ten years for burnable, ritualistic herbs such as white sage, the market has changed," Jennifer Seagle of Garden Apothecary told Eco-Age. "Unfortunately, less eco-conscious companies are using wild-harvested plants from locations where the plants are indigenous. This may seem holistic, but with zero regulations, it quickly becomes an issue of over-harvesting and unethical practices."

Traditional sage is harvested properly with respect for the land from which the plant originated as well as the centuries-old traditions. Currently, there are few regulations in place to make sure that all of these things are accounted for, the outlet explained. If you're looking to purchase this plant to burn, find a reputable seller that explains the harvesting methods they used. If you want to avoid sage altogether, you can use other plants. Various healers recommend burning plants like lavender or even a cinnamon stick for a sustainable alternative. 

Just remember, what matters more is the ritual and intention behind your practice. If you want to give an energy-clearing plant to your loved ones this season, do your research and consider doing your practice together in a respectful way.