General Question

cadetjoecool's avatar

Are there negative health effects to smudging ceremonies?

Asked by cadetjoecool (215 points ) January 19th, 2013

A nice lady I met the other day said she smudges herself daily (at least with sage if not other herbs) ceremonially, she seemed very interested with Native American culture.

I’ve heard that breathing in any kind of smoke is bad for your lungs, but is that true? And if so to what extent?

Is there a safe way to practice smudging?

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11 Answers

dabbler's avatar

Smoke, “products of combustion”, aren’t good for your lungs, but seems to me there would be a big difference between inhaling some of the smudge smoke and smoking a cigarette.
Also some people use a LOT of smoke when smudging, some just enough to know it happened. Your own practice can be using just a small amount.
I.e. moderation is the key. Also keep in mind your own allergies. Some people would have a tough time being exposed to sage on a regular basis, some would not notice.
The amount of smoke is inconsequential to the results, the effect comes from intention and your focus on the ritual.

Pachy's avatar

Agree totally with @dabbler. Smudging from time to time would be less injurious than, say, sitting next a smoker or driving on the freeway with the windows open. Anyway, I hope so ‘cause I myself have done a bit of smudging in my time.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Agree with @dabbler and @Pachyderm_In_The_Room….
Obviously this is a no-brainer question if someone is an asthmatic – depending on the severity of it, it may be preferable to avoid it altogether.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I would say if you are smudging daily to switch to sweet grass, it is less harsh than sage. And like others have said, moderation is the key, it doesn’t take a lot to do the job unless you are performing a sweat.

laureth's avatar

While technically it may have the same problems as breathing in any smoke, I’d say that with all the environmental hazards we’re exposed to every day, it doesn’t rank very high on my worry list. :)

Sunny2's avatar

Ah. Another subject about which I know nothing. I know smudge pots are used to keep fruit trees from freezing. Shall I look it up or could one of you tell me what benefit there is supposed to be for breathing in, what I gather is, aromatic smoke?

FreshlyBaked's avatar

Daily is a tad excessive. I’ve only ever heard of smudging done to cleanse a new place to live, and then it’s not repeated at all. But then, I’m just a Wonderbread kind of man (if you catch my drift), so what do I know.

Hey, I do know something. I smoked cigarettes for a long time. Breathing it can’t be any good, but I’m just adding to the bandwagon now.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Sunny2 smudging is used to bless or purify in Native American cultures. It is similar to the burning of incense in other religions, but its use can be vastly different from tribe to tribe.

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cadetjoecool's avatar

Alright cool, thanks everyone!
Something I forgot to mention, I did notice that she has a slightly raspy voice, like a smoker, but not a super heavy smoker. So ya, you’re right, I think everyday might be to much.

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