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White Sage, Shifting the Demand.




I recently wrote about White Sage Salvia apiana, "Juniper Ridge and White Sage". I wont repeat what I wrote you can click the link to read about that. There has been a big effort amongst many Indigenous First People, fellow herbalist, naturalist and botanist to get a big leader in the White Sage industry (sad that there is an actual industry for that) to stop wildcrafting and go 100% cultivated and to switch to using plants that are not on the "to watch list" on the United Plant Savers list.


We have been urging wildcrafters to source plants that are in abundance and stop the exploitation of White Sage. More importantly was the issue of the exploitation of not only the plant but as well as Indigenous culture. I foresee change coming as the owner of Juniper Ridge has been reaching out to many of us who have questioned his companies sourcing and brought it to the social platform. Well, Juniper Ridge is not the only one wild sourcing White Sage. It is a plant that is in demand and the growing popularity has teams of wildcrafters gathering the plant. To be clear, White Sage is not endangered nor on the USDA list of threatened species. It is on the list of the United Plant Savers of a plant that is overly harvested and commercial wildcrafting impacts the plant.


White Sage is a plant native only in Southern California, High Desert (Mojave Desert) and in Northern Baja California, Mexico. The recent craze of White Sage smudge wands and other White Sage containing products have people from all over the world seeking this plant without knowing the impact they are creating. Add to this climate change and the recent fires in California have also impacted the stands. Though White Sage responds to fire as many plants do, in a couple of years the plants will be back. However poaching on protected lands has also been an issue. This year there were arrest made of wildcrafters who were gathering from protected land and had filled bags of White Sage weighing 400 pounds (above photo) In some areas where White Sage was once abundant people with no wildcrafting ethics or knowledge have decimated areas. So MAN+ CLIMATE CHANGE is impacting the plant.



There is just not enough White Sage to fulfill lust of the world who is seeking it. I was perusing Instagram and found folks in Australia, UK and in China were posting images of the smudge sticks with captions that made the plant seem like it is the ONLY one that can clear stagnancy, uplift, center, chase ghost etc. Indigenous tribes have used White Sage in ceremony and is a sacred plant that is part of their culture. The exploitation of the plant is also exploiting the Indigenous tradition. Many tribes have ask folks to STOP the wildcrafting of White Sage and their voices are still not heard. FINALLY I think some change has come with Juniper Ridge reaching out to listen. But it does not stop at Juniper Ridge. I came across a bunch of smudge wands that are wildcrafted by Wolf Spirit Sage. Their website listed on their packaging was not running. I found other companies selling this product and for wholesale as well but I could not find a contact for Wolf Spirit Sage.



Large companies are also part of the problem, Cost Plus World Market, Urban Outfitters sells White Sage Essential Oil and smudge sticks, Whole Foods, Juniper Ridge has an Amazon store selling White Sage & Wild Mint tea, smudge sticks, body wash, CB2, Walmart (online) other companies wild sourcing White Sage is also Captain Blankenship New Moon Smokeless Smudge Spray which its using White Sage essential oil which is also sold at Anthropologie, Free People now add to this all of the new age shops, health food stores, boutique stores that are also selling White Sage. If you are a business owner buying White Sage or just a consumer, question where is it sourced and how. Most times those sourcing the plant will lie and say it is from private land or its cultivated. DEMAND to know what farm.

You can help by not supporting White Sage that is wildcrafted and source from farms if you so need it. Oshala Farm in Southern Oregon and Sage Winds Farm in San Diego county are growing organic White Sage.


Meztli Projects shared a good instagram post for folks to read who assume burning the entire wand is needed. In fact taking just a couple of leaves will be sufficient enough. Also many people have no connection with the plant and my personal belief is you can not take a tradition and make it yours just because you read about it in some blog, watched a youtube video or someone told you about it. Keep in mind that White Sage is medicinal so it is a waste to just burn a wand. If you want to clear the air, uplift, shift energy, cleanse the room after and illness etc you can use other plants like Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender, Garden Sage, Mugwort these plants can easily be grown. I like a blend of Sagebrush Artemisia tridentata Rosemary, both having antimicrobial properties that not only smell amazing but literally clear the air of germs and will shift energy too! I like to think of it as a natural Lysol. I offer smudge wands and resins of Piñon.