Back to top

Quick Reference Guide to Native American and Other Ceremonial Herbs & Resins

Desert Sage Artemisia Tridentata

Dessert Sage Artemisia TridentataUses: Purification

How:

  • Fan smoke from burning dry herb over person, place, or object.
  • Place dry herb on hot rocks of sweat lodge
  • Place dry or fresh herb in bucket of water for the sweat lodge
  • Drink dry or fresh herb as an herbal tea
  • Use fresh as a poultice on wound
  • Place dry or fresh leaves in hot water and soak.
  • Can be burned during any bodywork session.

White Sage Salvia Apiana

White Sage Salvia ApianaUses: Purification

How:

  • Fan smoke from burning dry herb over person, place, or object.
  • Place dry herb on hot rocks of sweat lodge
  • Place dry or fresh herb in bucket of water for the sweat lodge
  • Drink dry or fresh herb as an herbal tea
  • Use fresh as a poultice on wound
  • Place dry or fresh leaves in hot water and soak.
  • Can be burned during any bodywork session.

Lakota Sage Artemisia Vulgaris

Uses: Purification

How:

  • Fan smoke from burning dry herb over person, place, or object.
  • Place dry herb on hot rocks of sweat lodge
  • Place dry or fresh herb in bucket of water for the sweat lodge
  • Drink dry or fresh herb as an herbal tea
  • Use fresh as a poultice on wound
  • Place dry or fresh leaves in hot water and soak.
  • Can be burned during any bodywork session.

Sweetgrass Heirochloe Odorata

Sweetgrass Heirochloe OdorataUses: Blessing

How:

  • Fan smoke from burning dry herb over person, place, or object
  • Place dry herb on hot rocks of sweat lodge
  • Place dry or fresh grass in tub of hot water and soak.
  • Can be burned during any bodywork session.

Cedar or Juniper Cedrus Atlantica or Juniperus Communis

Uses: Blessing & Strength

How:

  • Fan smoke of burning dry needles over person, place, or object
  • Place dry needles on hot rocks of sweat lodge
  • Place dry needles in home or on altar
  • Place dry or fresh needles in bath tub and soak
  • Can be burned during any body work session.

Bear Root or Osha Ligisticum porteri

Uses: Protection, Spiritual and Physical

How:

  • Burn dry roots on hot rocks in sweat lodge
  • Chew dry root to soothe sore throat.
  • Singers chew dry root to keep throat from getting sore during ceremony.
  • Boil dry root to make a tea for bronchial infection, colds, indigestion.

Willow Bark Salix

Uses: As a natural herbal smoke in the pipe

How:

  • The dry inner bark can be used in a mixture of herbs for the sacred pipe or smoked alone.

Tobacco Nicotiana Tabacum

Uses: Prayer, Offering, Honoring

How:

  • Offer dry tobacco to Mother Earth before removing anything or before harvesting.
  • Offer dry tobacco to the 6 directions
  • Offer dry tobacco to the ceremonial leader before the ceremony as a sign of respect.
  • The smoke of the tobacco is blown over people or objects to bless
  • The smoke of the tobacco is blown to the directions during the pipe ceremony, which carries the prayers to the Creator.
  • The smoke of the tobacco is used to purify our words so that only the truth comes forth during prayer or council meetings.

Corn Zea Mays blue, white, red, or yellow

Uses: Blessings, Offerings

How:

  • The dry corn kernels and the pure corn pollen is offered to Mother Earth during prayers.
  • A touch of corn pollen to the tongue is eaten as a blessing.
  • Used by the Navajos & Apaches during religious ceremonies by applying it to the body.

Star Anise Illicium Verum

Uses: Blessing

How:

  • The dry seed pods are added to smoke mixtures for its spicy taste.
  • The dry seed pods are burnt on the hot rocks of the sweat lodge.

Pinon Resin Pinus Edulis

Uses: Purification

How:

  • The dry sap is burnt on charcoals and the smoke is allowed to waft through the area.
  • Dried sap or resin is placed on the hot rocks of the sweat lodge.
  • Can be burned during any body work session.

Copal Resin Bursera Microphylla black, golden, or white Mexico

Copal Resin Bursera MicrophyllaUses: Purification; to sustain the departed ones on their journey in the spirit realm; trance- work

How:

  • The dry sap is burnt on charcoals and the smoke is allowed to waft through the area.
  • Can be burned during any body work session.

Frankincense Resin Boswellia Carteri North Africa

Uses: Purification; meditation; uplifts the mind, body, spirit

How:

  • The dry sap is burnt on charcoals and the smoke is allowed to waft through the area.
  • The resin can be burnt on the hot rocks of the sweat lodge.
  • Can be burned during any body work session.

Myrrh Resin Commiphora Myrrh North Africa

Uses: Purification; strengthen the soul; anointing the dead

How:

  • The dry sap is burnt on charcoals and the smoke is allowed to waft through the area.
  • The resin can be burnt on the hot rocks of the sweat lodge.
  • Can be burned during any bodywork session.

Dragon's Blood Resin Croton Lechleri South American rain forest

Dragon's Blood Resin Croton LechleriUses: Purification

How:

  • The dry sap is burnt on charcoals and the smoke is allowed to waft through the area.
  • The resin can be burnt on the hot rocks of the sweat lodge

Palo Santo Bursera Graveolens Peru

Palo Santo Bursera GraveolensUses: Purification

How:

  • The wood sticks are burned and the smoke is used to clear the area of negative energies in ceremonies.
  • Can be burned inside the sweat lodge
  • Can be burned during any bodywork session.