Are you not supposed to buy sage? Is it supposed to be given to you?

Are you not supposed to buy sage? is it supposed to be given to you?

What a great question, and a complex one at that.

There are many varieties of sage that many Native American’s use, and it is quite popular with non-Native’s as well, what is most commonly used is the California White Sage. There are two issues here, 1) the traditional practice is gifting medicine and 2) the impact of colonization on this medicine. I cannot say if it is right or wrong to buy sage, you have to use your best judgement. Being gifted medicine is a special gift. Here is an article written on the subject, that also highlights the appropriation of traditional medicines.

Many traditional people believe that you should not purchase sage, and yet there are other traditional people who do not have an opinion on this. Traditionally, healers were gifted or harvested these medicines so they did not have to buy them. In this society now, this is not practiced as much and for some people it’s not an option, especially if you live in a city.

Due to climate changes, over-harvesting, and water shortages in California, this plant is in great danger. On top of the ongoing problem of over-harvesting and drought conditions, fires in California last year damaged much of the land where sage traditionally grows.Though the sage is showing signs of a comeback, time is needed for regrowth and repair. Even then, the issues still stand regarding drought and over-harvesting of wild white sage.

If you must use white sage, grow it yourself or purchase ethically cultivated white sage. Or you can use something else. Some alternatives to white sage smoke for clearing and cleansing (and you should always do as much as you can to seek out herbs grown from ethical cultivation and sourcing no matter the plant, by the way):

  • Rosemary
  • Mugwort
  • Cedar
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Garden Sage (salvia officinalis)

I hope this helps.

Auntie Manda

See more from Auntie Manda
Topics: Activism|Culture and Language|Mental Health|Non-Native Allies|Spirituality

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