For years I worked as an interior designer. I noticed after moving furniture around or arranging bookshelves, my arms would often ache, and I would feel unusually tired. On the suggestion of one of my herbal teachers, I began using a homemade essential oil “clearing” spray on my arms and hands once I got into my car. Weirdly (so I thought at the time) this relieved all of my symptoms. I begin bringing the spray into people’s homes and using it before I moved things around and often left a bottle for my clients. This sparked the development of my first product…now called “Lighten Up” essential oil spray (a best seller at the shop)!

One thing leads to another, and I began exploring other herbal clearing techniques in my own home. As an interior designer, I spent so much time focusing on the physical aspects of a space. I never really knew how to formally address the spiritual side of a space, especially when something felt off or heavy. In working with the plants, I learned how to shift the energy in a space, and depending upon which plant I was working with, bring in a specific feeling or vibration that I wanted. It was truly transformational.

Digging deeper, I understood historically fragrant plants have been used since the beginning of civilization to clear space, heal the sick, and promote spiritual connection. Now science verifies that burning plant material does purify the air of bacteria, germs, viruses, unpleasant scents, and more. It’s a winning combination.

Here are my tips + tricks for energetically clearing your space, plus my favorite clearing botanicals.

Simple Space Clearing Steps

  1. Begin with a simple grounding exercise. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and anchor yourself by feeling roots fall from your tailbone into the earth. Picture your roots intertwining with the roots of the trees. Watch your roots go deeper into the earth through layer after layer until they reach the center. Once connected, take several deep breaths pulling Earth energy up into your body.

  2. Notice how this makes you feel. Next, pull that earth energy up into your heart center. Notice how it softens and expands your heart space. Offer gratitude for the tools you will be using to clear your space. Also, ask for help, support, or guidance from your guides or allies.

  3. Set your intention. Why do you want to clear your space? It may be as simple as "to clear all stagnant or negative energies from my body or space."

  4. Clear your space:

Light the end of your burnable bundle over a small bowl or plate (earthenware is recommended here). Blow out the flame and use the smoke as your clearing tool. It is common to have to relight the wand several times if passing around a circle or clearing an entire home


Place a charcoal round on a heatproof plate, bowl, or even a small coffee cup will work. The bottom will likely get hot, and the charcoal can stain…keep this in mind when choosing a dish. Light the charcoal with a lighter (it will spark, and heating up it will turn white). Place burning mixture or resins of the charcoal round, adding more as needed.

Clearing Yourself

For personal cleansing, lightly breathe in the smoke. Start clearing above your head and go down and around your body to the ground your energy. Consider putting your dish on a solid surface and "pulling off" any heavy energy and transmuting it into the smoke. Do this until you feel clear. Use this same technique to clear another person.

Clearing Your Space

To clear your living space, consider opening at least one window or throw wide open many windows, if the weather allows.

Walk around each room with the smoke reciting a wish, prayer, or blessing (it can be as simple as cleanse & bless). Pay special attention to doors, windows, dark corners, and stagnant closets. Follow your intuition, and notice what you're feeling. There is no “right” way to do this. Just guidelines, so make it fun and try to perceive the energy shift.

Once space is cleared, call in the energy you want in your space. It can be the same for the entire space, or you can call in something different to each area, possibilities include: nourishment, joy, or connectedness in your eating space. In your sleeping space, call in rest, rejuvenation, and peace. Your bathroom might be about purification or letting go. Call in what you want in each space.

Once your home is complete, if you have not already (or you may feel like doing it again), clear your physical body. You may want to drink water and eat something grounding if you feel a bit jittery once you are complete.

I recommend clearing your space at least once-per-month. I prefer to do it when I have the house to myself. A clue to whether it's time to clear your space: things may feel heavy, or people are bickering or cranky. Get out your clearing tools (smudge, bowl, candle, or spray). See if you can shift the energy of your home! The results can be amazing.

Botanical options for clearing

As you begin working with the plants, you'll develop a feel for what each one does and how it leaves a space. Follow your intuition and experiment to see what suits you best.

White Sage (Salvia apiana) has been used by Native Americans for centuries in ceremony to clear and open up scared space. It is the most common smudging herb today. It is said to lift, clear, and dissolves both negative and stagnant energies. Used to bless, cleanse, and heal. It is often used as a smoke “wash” to banish unwanted energy. White sage is being over-harvested in the wild, so it should be used sparingly and with intention. Source from Native American vendors, if possible.

Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata) grows on prairies here in MN, also throughout the US and Europe. It is considered sacred in every place it grows. The Latin name means “Fragrant holy grass." The three strands of the braid represent mind, body & spirit. Bless the heart, mind, body, and then heart again while asking for clearing & healing. Sweetgrass comforts, soothes, heals, and purifies while creating a space filled with the sweet vibe this plant carries.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) is a perennial grass in tropical climates with a long history of use for its healing qualities. For smudging, the root is used for its grounding, sensual, and deeply calming attributes. Vetiver is said to smell like Tranquility! Think deep warm Earth with rootsy highlights. Use the smoke to purify and set sacred space. Great for personal work, writing, women’s circles, yoga + meditation practices, and healing work of all kinds. Burn before bed to clear the mind and soothe the body. Vetiver root is sustainable!

Cedar (Cedrus) is another sacred plant to the Native Americans. It is used in sweat lodges and ceremony to lift energy, clear negativity, and impart clarity. Trees are said to be the connection between Heaven and Earth and is honored as such. Cedar is also said to protect people from unwanted influences, call in good spirits & release unwanted energies. The wood of cedar was considered sacred by early Europeans who used it to make doors for churches & temples. Consider using the trimmings from your cedar trees to make burning wands.

Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens or Gonopterodendron sarmientoi) means “holy wood” in Spanish. It was sacred to the Incas and is still considered to be sacred by many in Central and South America. When burned, this wood is said to clear misfortune, negative thoughts, and evil spirits. You may find sacred handicrafts or relics made of this aromatic wood meant for home altars and sacred displays. Due to the popularity of this plant, it is being over-harvested and both species are considered to be endangered. Be sure to use this sparingly and consciously.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) has a subtle sweet scent often called “dream weed.” Use it to clear bad energy and protect from “hexes." It can be used as a smudge or a sprig placed under your pillow to chase away nightmares and encourage dreaming. Makes a lovely garden plant and a great addition to homegrown smudge wands.

Resins (or gum collected from tree or shrub/burn on a charcoal round)

Copal was historically used by the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs to opens the doorway to the otherworld while lifting, clearing, and dispelling negative energy. This is my favorite herb to use for a whole house clearing. I like to use a mix of the different grades of copal with dried rosemary. It leaves a clean, crisp feeling.

Frankincense was used throughout history not only in the Christian religion but in many other religions around the world. It was once valued equal to gold. It is a sacred resin that is said to clear, clarify, and calm, which aids in meditation and prayer. It is also said to bestow tranquility, insight, and awareness when it's scent surrounds you.

Myrrh I often think of as the sidekick to frankincense. Still, it is very powerful in its own right and was used for centuries for its soothing, clarifying, and grounding properties. The two burned together to make a timeless, sacred clearing formula.

Make your own clearing bundles and sprays

Garden plants for homegrown burnable plant bundles include rosemary, lavender, basil, yarrow, juniper, pine, mugwort, cedar, sweetgrass, and rose. Dry plants thoroughly and then wrap them securely with a natural string.

Making your own sacred clearing spray with essential oils is a smokeless way to clear space, plus it is simple and fun! Add 40 drops of essential oils to 4 oz. of distilled water in a glass spray bottle. See the list below and develop your own favorite formula. For an extra boost, add 4 drops stock flower essence or a little crystal.

Essential Oils

Peppermint (Stimulating, Cleansing, Refreshing)

Cedarwood (Relaxing, Grounding, Reducing stress)

Rosemary (Stimulating, Cleansing, Invigorating)

Eucalyptus (Invigorating, Cleansing, Tonifying)

White Sage (Cleansing, Purifying)

Juniper (Purifying, Stimulating)

Palo Santo (Purifying, Grounding)

Lemon (Uplifting, Refreshing, Alertness)

Frankincense (Calming, Releasing fear)

Angelica (Lifting, Clearing, Lightening)

Myrrh (Strengthening, Inspiring)

Clary Sage (Purifying, Cleansing, Uplifting)

Flower Essences

Hellebore (Pushing toxic people & influences out)

Bach Rescue Remedy (Basic all-around calming & centering)

Toad Lily (Cleansing of bad habits & people, moving on)

Mountain Pennyroyal (Clearing negative emotions)

Sagebrush (Emptying, Letting go, Moving on)

Crab Apple (Emotional & Physical release)

Chaparral (Emotional cleansing on deep levels)

Wood Betony (Grounding & Protection)

Burning botanicals is an ancient tradition that helps our modern lives clear, shift, and create sacred space. Get to know your options and let your intuition guide you.

For further study, check out our books and a large selection of burnables and essential oils in the shop.

Plants are fantastic healers. I have been amazed again and again by the power of medicine made in the kitchen with my two hands. Tinctures, teas, infused oils, salves poultices and flower essences are medicinal preparations that are powerful healers and can easily be prepared at home with no special tools or gadgets. If you can make dinner you can make medicine.

Learning to work with plants to treat everyday ailments and improve your health and wellbeing is easier than you think. It begins with the plants around you and trust in nature's innate wisdom and the healing capacity of your body. They are intertwined in every way. Let your curiosity guide you.

Here is a list of the 10 easiest plants to work with to get your growing season off to a fabulous start. Some are considered weeds and others are easy to grow in your home garden.

1. Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a lovely annual often referred to as pot marigold (not related to the marigold we all know). It grows in full-sun to light-shade and well-drained soil, where it self-sows and produces year-after-year once established. The sticky resins you feel on your hands when you harvest the blossoms are an important part of the medicine. Calendula is essential to any healing garden.

Primary uses:

  • One of the best all-around, skin-healing plants

  • Lymphatic (increases lymph circulation)

  • Boosts the immune system

  • Great for baby, body, and facial care products

Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Infused Oil, Salve, Poultice

2. Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is another powerful plant with modern research to back up its centuries of folk use. Elder is considered a safe and effective remedy for children, too. It is an easy-to-grow, hearty shrub that prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Lovely fragrant June blossoms give way to prized dark, purple berries in August. Positive ID is a must


Primary uses:

  • Immune booster specifically to support the body in fighting off the cold and flu viruses

  • Has an overall tonic effect on the body and is particularly helpful for both the respiratory and digestive tracts

Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Infused Oil, Salve, Syrup

3. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a delightful perennial plant for zones 4 -10 that is easy-to-grow and a pleasure to work with. It is generally safe for children, as well as adults. Regular harvesting

keeps the plant from taking over the garden. It prefers full-sun to light-shade with average to dry fertile soil.

Primary uses:

  • Calms nervous tension and uplifts the spirit

  • Fever reducer

  • Mild sedative effect that promotes sleep + relaxation

  • Antiviral

  • Topical for cold sores

  • The fresh leaves make the best hot or cold tea.

Preparations: Tea, tincture, infused oil, salve

4. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) also referred to as ‘wound wart’ and ‘carpenters weed’ is famous for its amazing ability to staunch bleeding. It grows in Zones 2-9 and is happy in most soils while preferring full to part sun. Yarrow is a wildflower that has made its way into garden stores with a variety of colors. The white yarrow is traditionally used medicinally and is often hard to find in local nurseries. A must for your herbal first aid kit!

Primary uses:

  • Blood Stauncher

  • Bruise Remedy

  • Fever Reducer

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Antiviral

Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Infused Oil, Salve, Poultice

5. Chamomile (Chamomilla matricaria) is a versatile easy-to-grow annual, which is well-known to many as chamomile tea. It is not fussy about soil conditions but prefers full sun but tolerates some shade. I have had luck starting the tiny seeds indoors, but they can also be placed directly in the garden. This plant will also self-sow if left to seed in the fall.

Primary uses:

  • Stomach aid both for upset and nervous stomachs

  • Nourishing and relaxing to the nervous system

  • Promotes sleep

  • Anti-inflammatory and natural antihistamine

  • Generally safe for babies and young children

Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Infused Oil, Salve, Poultice

6. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). A well-known beauty that does not get the respect it deserves. This common weed actually has centuries of use as a medicinal plant all the way from the ancient Greeks to current day. It is one of the first greens to pop up in the spring, is abundant, and makes powerful medicine. What's not to love!

Primary uses:

  • Key ingredient in many bitter recipes

  • Spring greens for their gentle tonifying and detoxifying effects

  • Root is used to treat liver problems and enhance blood

  • Diuretic

  • Nutritionally full of vitamins and minerals

Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Infused Oil, Salve, Food

7. Red Clover (Trifolium pretense) is a short-lived perennial member of the pea family that attracts pollinators and improves your soil in addition to its health benefits. It grows in most soils and can be sowed easily from seed. It can also reseed itself. Fresh flowers are super-nutritious, tasty, and make a beautiful addition to salads or can be eaten right off the plant.

Primary uses:

  • Blood purifier and tonic

  • Lymphatic; swollen glands or cysts

  • Nutritious wild food

Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Infused Oil, Food

8. Chickweed (Stellaria media) grows as a weed in many gardens and yards all over the US. It prefers moist, shady locations, is cold tolerant and will die back in the heat of the summer to return again each fall. It easily self-sows. The trick is to harvest the top 3 inches of the plant for the tenderest greens. Chickweed has volunteered itself in every garden I have had. Positive ID is a must as it has a couple of look-a-likes and two different varieties.

Primary uses:

  • Truly delicious and highly nutritious edible

  • Skin healing and cooling for eczema, rashes, burns & rheumatic joints

  • Helps speed fat metabolism

Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Infused Oil, Salve, Poultice, Food

9. Plantain (Plantago major) It is an abundant perennial and is said to be one of the most common plants on earth. You can find it growing in the most inhospitable of places and it seems to follow people wherever they go. I do not see this plant in the deep forest. Kids (and some adults) love the ‘spit’ poultice made from these leaves. Plantain is the one of the best herbal drawing agents and if you do not yet know this plant highly recommend learning it!

Primary uses:

  • Effective herbal band-aid for cuts, stings & bites

  • Skin remedy for nettles stings and poison ivy

  • Excellent drawing agent for cysts, splinters,

  • dirty wounds & infections

Preparations: Tincture, Infused Oil, Salve, Poultice

10. Nettle (Urtica urens) is a super nutritious wild edible that also has a long history of use medicinally. It is packed full of vitamins and minerals and is a primo edible. Also called stinging nettle due to the tiny hairs that inject formic acid into the skin on contact. Cooking or drying the nettle will deactivate the sting. This perennial plant spreads by runners and seeds and if allowed to grow in your yard is kept in check by regular harvesting.

If this list feels too long then choose one plant to get to know this summer. Learn how to identify it, where it likes to grow, what it tastes and smells, its medicinal uses and preparations. Watch it throughout the growing season. Sit next to it. Draw it. Meditate with it. Work with its medicine. Getting to know one plant deeply is often more useful than getting to know many plants broadly. Have fun with it. Let nature ignite your curiosity and heal your body.

Resources: Plant ID; Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs (Eastern addition if you are in Minnesota).

Medicine Making & Herbal Uses: Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use

We have many other books available at Jewelweed for further study & research.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This post is for educational purposes and not intend to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. For those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on any medications, please consult with a qualified health professional before beginning any new herbal or plant products.

by Jodi McKee

We are all finding ourselves in uncharted territory and wondering how to navigate the uncertainty. Let me encourage you to use the skills, knowledge and tools you have available. Often we know more than we think and sometimes look to others for guidance or reassurance but the place we should be looking is inside ourselves. Listening to the quiet voice of intuition. Being alert, rested and balanced we are better able to respond to situations in the outside world.

Other wellness tips include:

+ Eat as healthy as you can (for many this includes reducing dairy & gluten). Consider adding herbal teas, super foods and adaptogenic powders to your daily routine. Especially reishi, cordyceps, shiitake (and other mushrooms), astragalus, calendula, elderberry or chaga.

+ Do not underestimate the power of a good nights sleep. Herbs that encourage sleep include passion flower, skullcap, chamomile, lemon balm, ashwaganda, kava, blue vervain, and CBD.

+ Herbal medicine has many antiviral plants that we use to fight off infection including elderberry, thyme, boneset, osha, calendula, angelica, garlic and oregon grape.

+ Use your burnables, sprays and essential oils to help disinfect the air in your home. Open the doors and/or windows at least once per day to let the fresh air circulate. If you do not have a diffuser consider putting a pot the stove and simmering water with 5-10 drops an essential oil (tea tree, cinnamon, rosemary, peppermint, thyme, eucalyptus, myrrh, pine and many others). Again use what you have available.

+ Support your nervous system with time in nature, meditation and exercise. Consider herbs that soothe and nourish including milky oat, tulsi, chamomile, damiana, lemon balm, motherwort and lavender.

+ Consider the gentle medicine of flower essences to combat fears and anxiety

+ Use your next trip to the grocery store to stock up on herbal aromatics and foods. Make tea, broths, juice and cook with rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, garlic, turmeric and ginger. These are powerhouse herbs available to most of us.

+ Have a plan and items on hand for home treatment if you or a family member becomes sick.

+ Reach out when you need support and connection.

+ Take inspiration from reading, podcasts, and tv programs that fill you up, inspires you and gives hope.

Note: I am not a doctor and the above is for not meant to diagnose or treat but is only for educational purposes. Use common sense and seek medicine advice when necessary.