Burning sage — also known as smudging — is an ancient spiritual ritual. Smudging has been well established as a Native American cultural or tribal practice, although it isn’t practiced by all groups. We have the traditions of many native peoples to thank for its use. It's benefits include: It has antimicrobial properties, keeping infectious bacteria, viruses, and fungi at bay. Sage may help clear the air of more than bugs and bacteria. Though scientifically unproven, burning sage is thought to release negative ions. This is said to help neutralize positive ions. Common positive ions are allergens like: pet dander, pollution, dust, and mold. Smudging has been used through the ages to connect to the spiritual realm or enhance intuition. For healers and laypeople in traditional cultures, burning sage is used to achieve a healing state — or to solve or reflect upon spiritual dilemmas. Smudging may also be used as a ritual tool to rid yourself — or your space — of negativity. This includes past traumas, bad experiences, or negative energies from others. This may help you establish a positive environment for meditation, another spiritual practice, or prayer. Choosing to sit and let go of negative thoughts in a meditative way like this, sets your intention and dedication to self-improvement. Choosing to engage in this practice can be the beginning of your change in mindset.