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Why I Stopped Using White Sage and Palo Santo for Spiritual Cleansing

  • 3 min read
Why i stopped using white sage and palo santo for spiritual cleansing and what i use instead

As a tarot reader, I’ve always been interested in incorporating spiritual cleansing into my practice. However, as I learned more about the negative impact that using white sage and palo santo can have, I realized that I needed to find more ethical and sustainable alternatives. In this article, I’ll share with you why I stopped using white sage and palo santo for spiritual cleansing and what I use instead.

The Harmful Impact of White Sage and Palo Santo

White sage and palo santo are both sacred plants that are commonly used in spiritual practices. However, both plants are harvested in ways that are harmful to the environment and local communities. In particular, the overharvesting of white sage in California, where most of it is grown, has led to the destruction of entire ecosystems and the depletion of water sources. Furthermore, the use of these plants by non-indigenous people is considered a form of cultural appropriation and can be harmful to the communities that these plants come from.

Ethical and Sustainable Alternatives to White Sage and Palo Santo

Fortunately, there are many ethical and sustainable alternatives to white sage and palo santo that you can use for spiritual cleansing. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Local plants: Instead of relying on white sage and palo santo, why not look for plants that are native to your local area? For example, in the UK, you could use rosemary, lavender, or thyme for cleansing and purifying.
  • Incense: Incense is another great option for spiritual cleansing. Look for natural incense that is made from herbs and resins and avoid those that contain synthetic fragrances.
  • Sound: Sound is a powerful tool for clearing negative energy. You could use a singing bowl, bells, or even your own voice to create vibrations that will purify your space.
  • Selenite: Selenite is a crystal that is known for its cleansing properties. You can use a selenite wand or a piece of selenite to clear your energy and space.


Can I still use white sage and palo santo if I source them ethically?

While sourcing from ethical suppliers is certainly better than buying from unscrupulous sources, the demand for these plants is still high, which can lead to overharvesting and endangerment. It’s better to avoid using these plants altogether and look for alternatives.

Can I use plants that I’ve grown myself for cleansing?

Absolutely! Growing your own plants is a great way to ensure that they are ethically and sustainably sourced. Just make sure to research which plants are native to your area and how to care for them properly.


In conclusion, I stopped using white sage and palo santo for spiritual cleansing because of their harmful impact on the environment and local communities, as well as their association with cultural appropriation. By seeking out ethical and sustainable alternatives, such as local plants, incense, sound, and selenite, we can expand our spiritual practice in a way that is respectful and kind to the earth and its inhabitants.