Skip to Content

9 Sensational Cedar Smudge Stick Benefits

Cedar smudge sticks are one of my favorites if I’m looking for a really relaxing smudge experience. Cedar is a natural relaxant and is fabulous for relieving stress and physical and mental anxiety.

There are at least 9 positive benefits of using cedar smudge sticks, including:

  1. Air purification
  2. Relaxation and stress relief
  3. Aromatherapy
  4. Respiratory health
  5. It’s anti-inflammatory
  6. Insect repellant qualities
  7. Skin health
  8. Cedar is abundant
  9. It makes your house smell great!

The beauty and natural qualities of cedar have been recognized in literature and poetry. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, there lies the value of wilderness.

John Muir

Cedar is the top three of the most common herbs I use in smudge sticks. In this post, I’ll take a look at the nine biggest reasons to use cedar smudge sticks.

Cedar green leaves

9 Benefits Of Using Cedar Smudge Sticks

Here are some of the benefits of using a cedar smudge stick:

1. Air Purification

Cedar has been used as a medium for purification at several independent geographic locations around the world.

When I’ve burned cedar, I really notice the cleansing power it has over the air quality. It’s said to cleanse negative energy, and infuse more positivity around you – and I really do think that holds true.

According to the Woodland Trust, cedar trees have been said to represent purification throughout history. They write that ‘Cedar was thought to represent purification and protection, and represents incorruptibility and eternal life. It was apparently a Jewish custom to burn cedar wood to celebrate New Year.’

Cedar was thought to represent purification and protection, and represents incorruptibility and eternal life. It was apparently a Jewish custom to burn cedar wood to celebrate New Year.

Woodland Trust

2. Relaxation And Stress Relief

Cedar contains natural oils that have a positive influence on:

  • Reducing stress
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Promoting relaxation
  • Improving sleep quality

WebMD state that cedar is a natural sedative. They say that ‘Studies on animals found that inhaling cedrol helped lengthen sleeping time.’ Cedrol is the essential oil found in cedar.

Inhaling this can have a relaxing impact on the body’s nervous system.

3. Aromatherapy

Cedar is one of the most common scents used in aromatherapy. (Source)

This is because of the calming effect that cedar has on both body and mind. It can help improve your mood.

4. Respiratory Health

Respiratory health: Inhaling the smoke from burning cedar can help clear the airways and promote easier breathing, making it a helpful practice for individuals with respiratory issues.

Respiratory health: Cedarwood oil has been used for centuries to treat respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, coughs, and congestion. Inhaling the scent of cedar can help clear the airways and promote easier breathing.

Warning – if you have ever shown an allergy of any kind in relation to cedar before, then please don’t burn it! Also, if you notice any adverse symptoms while burning cedar, make sure to stop immediately.

5. Anti-Inflammatory

There is quite a lot of research that suggests that cedar is beneficial in curing internal ailments that have to do with inflammation.

There is evidence that it can have positive effects, especially against the ill effects of arthritis. (Source)

Cedar has been used in both aromatherapy and massage to ease the pain and stiffness of arthritis. (Source)

6. Insect Repellent!

Bit of a random one for you here, peeps.

Cedar can help to keep any pesky critters at bay. This quality is apparently really well known (for those who are really into keeping insects at bay).

Many people use cedar to:

  • Build closets with
  • Place cedar in drawers to keep annoying moths at bay!
  • Even make hangers for clothes out of cedar

According to, there has been a study that suggests that it is the smell of the cedar oil that repels insects.

Whatever the reason, cedar smudge sticks can be a useful tool in keeping bugs away from you in your home!

7. Skin Health

For example, a study found that cedar oil was beneficial for treating acne.

Cedarwood oil is actually a natural astringent. This means that it helps to tone the skin, and also tighten it.

Cedarwood is often found in many skincare products. It can help with:

  • Eczema
  • Acne
  • Other skin conditions

Although the burning effects will not be as powerful as applying it directly onto the skin, there are still positive benefits to be found in its aromatherapy qualities.

8. Cedar Is Abundant!

There are some herbs that are popular for smudging, but that is a little rare to find. This causes a dilemma because they are either expensive or not readily available.

This is certainly not the case with cedar! Cedar trees cover vast spaces of woodland across North America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and other parts of the world.

Many of you reading this will be able to source cedar leaves from your own garden, or from a walk close to your house.

That is the best way to smudge in my opinion! Use what is readily available on your doorstep, and for many, cedar is perfect for this.

9. It Makes Your House Smell Great!

Let’s get a little unscientific here for just one frickin moment if you please.

Burning cedar smudge sticks will make your house smell great. Period.

It is a beautiful forest aroma, that really does evoke a kind of summer among the pine trees vibe. It freshens and cleanses. Happy times!

Cedar leaves with snow glistening on them

How To Make A Cedar Smudge Stick – Step-By-Step Guide

It’s pretty straightforward to make a cedar smudge stick, and they’re one of the quickest types of leaves to dry for this task.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on exactly how to make one:

Step 1 – Gather Cedar Sprays

The leaves on the branchlets of cedar trees are called sprays. I like this name! It seems to really evoke what they are.

Anyway, you want to gather one or two sprays together. This is enough for one stick.

Roll the spray or sprays into a bundle. It will look like a sausage shape (approximately 6 to 9 inches long).

Step 2 – Tie The Bundle

To tie the smudge sticks, I like to use cotton string. This is because it burns well, and also does not contain any toxic chemicals.

Wool is harder to burn, and manmade materials like nylon string may be more toxic when burned.

Wind the string around the end of the smudge stick to secure it, and then wind around the bundle all the way to the further end. Wind the string around that far end, tie it, and the smudge stick is prepared.

Step 3 – Dry It Out

Cedar leaves are definitely quicker than many other types of leaves to dry. You want to find a cupboard or storage space that is:

  • Dry
  • Dark
  • Airy
  • Reasonably cool (or at least not hot)

The cedar leaves can take anywhere from 2 days to about 3 weeks to fully dry. It kind of depends on their moisture content to start with, and that will depend on your location, how long they have disconnected from their original tree, and other factors like that.

When the cedar bundle is dried, then your smudge stick is ready.

A Note About Respect

Here’s a quick note about the element of respect. Smudge sticks were originally a deeply spiritual and religious practice used by the indigenous population of the North Americas.

I must say that I don’t use the sticks for any religious or spiritual purpose. I think that would be quite wrong in that I don’t follow any of the same beliefs as those that used them originally.

I only use the stick more for the multiple benefits you can see above.


  • Kaylee Vaughn

    Kaylee is the Founder of She has set up and run two homesteads, a one-acre in Idaho, and her current two-acre dream homestead in the Pacific North West. Her qualifications include a Permaculture Design Certification from Oregon State University, and she is a Gardenary Certified Garden Coach. Kaylee currently produces at least 80% of her own food. She contributes to our site through articles, training and coaching to our clients. You can read more about her at