We sleep in the sleep of ages, the bleak, barbarian pines;The Pines, by Robert William Service
The gray moss drapes us like sages, and closer we lock our lines,
And deeper we clutch through the gelid gloom where never a sunbeam shines.
The smell of burning pine is a beautiful and deeply evocative aroma!
Pine is one of my favorite types of herbs to use in a smudge stick, particularly if you can source pine needles that are quite long (3 inches plus). There are at least 7 benefits, including:
- You can practice mindfulness
- Air purification (make your house smell great!)
- Respiratory benefits
- Boost your spiritual connection
- Mood enhancement
- Reduce inflammation
- Mark an occasion
In this post, I’ll take a look at all these benefits of burning pine smudge sticks, as well as let you know how to make them and throw in a few top tips as well.
First, Smudge Sticks Are A Deeply Spiritual Practice
Before I begin, I need to talk about the issue of respect. It should always be understood when dealing with smudge sticks that these originated as a deeply spiritual practice by the indigenous population of the Americas and one that should be respected. (Source)
I do not really engage in a religious ceremony of any type when using smudge sticks. Instead, I use them for the following benefits, many of which have been backed up by research.
7 Benefits Of Pine Smudge Sticks
1. Practice Mindfulness
This is my number one use of pine smudge sticks.
Simply start burning the stick, and use it as a moment of solace and calm. I like to close my eyes, and inhale deeply, focusing on my breath.
The smell of pine is used in this way like burning incense in Buddhist meditation. The aroma heightens the senses and helps to deepen the process.
If you do it regularly, the smell also helps your mind to connect the smell with the experience of mindful meditation.
2. Air Purification
This is another really obvious benefit. The pine smell just makes your house smell great!
Traditionally, pine smudge sticks are believed to have cleansing properties. They can help to purify the air in a particular space.
If you believe in things like this, pine smudge sticks are supposed to clear negative energy.
What I know for a fact is the beautiful aroma you get around your house and the sense of freshness! It’s like a new start, a new atmosphere, a new mass of air pouring around your home.
3. Respiratory Benefits
Let’s get a bit more scientific now. Burning pine is believed to have some positive influence on helping the following ailments:
- Congestion in the sinuses and around the lungs
Pine contains something called ‘terpenes’. Never heard of them?
Well, you’re not alone. But ‘terpenes’ are a highly aromatic compound that determines the smell of many well-known plants (such as pine).
It’s the terpenes that give pine its really piney smell!
Research on the National Library of Medicine website, suggests that terpenes have multiple medical benefits, including:
- Anti-cancer properties
- Prevention of inflammatory diseases
- Antiparasitic qualities
- Antifungal qualities
WARNING – If you are allergic to burning pine, or if you notice any strange symptoms while doing so, then it is best to stop immediately.
4. Mood Enhancement
This is a real biggie for many that burn pine. The smell is said to be invigorating and make you feel uplifted.
It helps to improve the following:
- Mental clarity
- Your mood
5. Reduce Inflammation
There has been some research carried out that suggests that pine helps to reduce inflammation. (Source)
Products that contain pine, such as pine oil, can be rubbed onto the skin to ease certain health conditions. These include:
- Skin conditions – such as eczema and acne
- Inflammation-based conditions that are found below the skin – such as arthritis
Although you would obviously never rub a smudge stick on your body, the burning process will be releasing many of the same chemicals that act this way when contacting your body.
6. Mark An Occasion
I’ve heard many people use smudge sticks to mark some kind of occasion, so this would definitely work well for pine smudge sticks.
It could be something like hailing the start of a new season, like summer.
Or you could use one after getting over a difficult chapter in your life, such as a breakup. Using smudge sticks can mark a new beginning and a sense of cleansing.
7. Stress Relief
This is another benefit linked to mindfulness and a sense of well-being.
Using smudge sticks alongside mindful practices, such as meditation, can help ease feelings of stress. Just the simple act of focusing your mind intentionally on something (like your breath) really does help.
Pine also potentially has properties that relieve stress.
Traditionally, it is supposed to help cleanse your aura and reset your energy field. Whether you believe that or not, the beautiful smell of pine can really help in your mindful practice, and help promote a sense of harmony and balance.
A Word Of Caution
Although there is some research to suggest the health benefits of pine, there has not yet been any truly conclusive and comprehensive study.
Just be aware that if you get any adverse symptoms while ingesting pine smoke, stop immediately.
How To Make A Pine Smudge Stick
The process of making a pine smudge stick is pretty simple.
Step 1 – Find Some Long Pines
You ideally want pine needles that are about 3 inches long at least. It just makes it easier in the burning process. You can use smaller ones, but they’ll just fall apart a bit more when you light them, and they may need relighting.
Step 2 – Tie Them Up
You get a load of pine needles in a bundle and tie them up. I use cotton string to tie them up, as this will burn well, and will not give off any toxic chemicals while burning.
Wrap the pine needles around the base securely, and twist around the bundle just enough to keep it from falling apart.
Step 3 – Store In A Dark And Dry Space
You only want to burn smudge sticks when the herbs are dry.
Store the sticks in a dark and dry space, ideally one where there is some airflow. When the pine needles are completely dry, they are ready to be burned. They don’t take very long to dry and may be totally fine in about 24 hours.