It might be a bit harsh to say to you that you’ve got to stop using your beloved tree. But at this moment the Palo Santo tree is endangered and we should take it slow on the usage of this amazing piece of wood.

There are only about 250 trees left and therefore it would be good to look at a couple of alternatives to make sure that we preserve this tree, which is sacred to some indigenous people.

Palo Santo Endangered

However there are many kinds of different varieties of Palo Santo trees, there are only two types that aren’t endangered.

This means of course that we have to be careful about what we buy. And at the same time make sure that we don’t overuse the other two as well. Because this will make those other two species endangered as well. 

Having a closer look at it, Palo Santo is translated into holy wood. And we have to honor that as well.

With the rising demand for pieces of this tree, it’s hard to keep up with it. The tree itself is sacred and can only be cut when it is dead. Which means it takes a long time before you can harvest some of its branches. 

Not only does this mean that it’s an endangered species. You are also contributing to the fact that some people, like the authentic shamans, will find it harder to get access to their part of the tree. Making some cultural rituals harder to perform.

As yogis, we are aware that we have to be careful and therefore there are a couple of alternatives that you can use when you do want to smudge yourself to clear your energy.

Alternatives for Palo Santo

White Sage

However that white sage is getting overcultivated, it’s not on the endangered list because it’s also easy to grow.

Therefore, if you’ve got some space at your home, put some sage at home and it will grow very rapidly and massively.

Every year I trimmed it down until there was almost nothing left and after a year everything grew back very easily. It’s a tough plant which can withstand a lot of conditions as well.

White Sage is a great alternative for when you are used to smudging yourself with Palo Santo. As I mentioned in my article about Highly Sensitive People, I use it all the time and I even like it better than Palo Santo. This is because White Sage releases more smoke and after smudging myself with it, I always feel more rinsed.

And another great thing about White Sage is like I mentioned before, it’s easy to grow yourself and it’s even easy to make yourself a smudge stick.

How To Make a Smudge Stick

First of all, you’ve got to start collecting some sage branches. Make sure that they are more or less the same length, that the leaves on them are nice and grey-green-ish.

If you want to make just one stick, you can go for about 7 branches. But you can also decide to trim down your whole bush and then you might have enough smudge sticks for the whole season.

When you gathered your sticks, you can already start by dividing them into piles of 7. Make sure that you’ve got a good bunch. At the end of the sticks, you can tie them together. Make sure it’s tight and firm so you won’t lose any branches in the process.

Now, wash them first to make sure that there are no bugs or other insects on the leaves anymore. Make sure you’re not to rough while washing them as there still have to be a couple of leaves left on the branch to make a stick out of them ;).

When you’ve tied them together, find a dry spot that doesn’t get direct sunlight. It’s alright to hang them in a light area, just make sure that they don’t catch the sun directly. If you do have a bit of humidity in the room, it might happen that the leaves of the sage will burn and then you can start all over again…

Leave them hanging there for a couple of weeks. You can see they are fully dried when you try to pick a leave from one of the branches. If they snap easily, it means they are ready.

When this is done, you can put them down again and get yourself ready to make your stick.

Dragon’s Blood

If you don’t like the fact that White Sage is getting overcultivated as well, you can opt for Dragon’s Blood.

Just the name itself makes you want to buy it!

This resin or extract is coming from some tropical trees, whose names are unpronounceable. As it is not specific to one type of plant or tree, it is easier to get and it’s not that high in popularity just yet.

Picture by Andy Dingley on

In this article I’m talking about smudging in particular, but I’d also really like to mention that there are other benefits.

Dragon’s blood has been used for ages already, from the Romans, to the Egyptians, the Indians and so on!

In the olden days, it was said that it could cure all ails! But now it is proven that it is primarily good for the digestion. There are some other benefits as well, but that might be for another article.

For smudging purposes, it is often used together with Sage to make sure that you get a strengthened effect.

It’s also possible to use it on its own though. It’s said that it will clean your space, but also heal and protect it. Just like it will do with you.

So, in a way this tree is even better than Sage or Palo Santo. Although, the latter is holier and it debatable which one is better.

Dragon’s Blood can be found in Smudge Stick form but also in Resin. You can therefore decide if you’d like the smoke or just the scent.

For this you’ll need a couple of things:

– String (one that burns easily, but not too fast)

 – Scissors

 – Plant Sheers

You’ve already tied the ends together, so your sticks should be already bundled. This makes it already a lot easier as you’ve just got to have a long string.

This is to tie up the whole bundle together. Make sure you have enough to go around the whole bundle with the string two times.

Three times would be better to make sure that your stick doesn’t loosen up when you are smudging. This will result in a lot of leaves falling on the ground.

When you have tied everything together, you can use the sheers to cut off the branches that you don’t need. This is more an esthetical thing. You can leave them on if you’d like, it just looks nicer when you cut them.

And that’s it! Now you can use your own, home-made smudge stick!

Smudging Without Smoke


If you can’t stand the smoke from either Palo Santo and White Sage, there is another way to cleanse yourself as well. And you can even combine it with actually washing. It is Salt!

For this, you just need some salt and a bath. Just make sure that you use a good type of salt. The best one to use is Himalayan Salt as that is still pure and doesn’t have a lot of clutter in it. North-sea salt is considered quite polluted as we dump a lot of our waste into the ocean.

How to cleanse yourself with salt? Well, that’s easy, fill up your bath, put some salt in it and when it’s dissolved go and lie in it! 

If you don’t have a bath, don’t worry about it, I also used salt in the shower once and it also had a very nice effect. For this method, you need to make sure that you’ve got a washcloth. Make sure it’s one where you can put your hand in as this will be the container for your salt. 

Put in some salt, make the cloth wet and start scrubbing yourself with the cloth. 

By using a washcloth, you make sure that the salt doesn’t directly get scrubbed onto your skin, which makes it a bit healthier. And if you’ve got open wounds it might sting even more when you are using salt directly on the skin. It’s harder this way, but it works as well!

Resin Incense

I’ve talked about this genius type of incense already in this article, and I’m going to repeat it here as well. If you are looking for a type of incense that isn’t too smokey than this one will do the trick for sure! It’s gaining a lot in popularity and there are many types of scents av