Palo Santo Smudge Sticks versus Sage

Palo Santo Smudge Sticks versus Sage

Sage is the most popular alternative to Palo Santo smudge sticks. It is not surprising that some people have difficulty making a choice between these two for their smudging rituals because both provide similar benefits when it comes to energy clearing and healing benefits.

Here is a comparison of Palo Santo and sage smudge sticks based on their differences and similarities.

Source and Origin of Smudging Practice

Palo Santo comes from South American countries, notably from Peru’s coastline and Ecuador. White Sage (Salvia Apiana) comes mostly from Southwest US and areas part of Northern Mexico where the shrub is in a desert, hot dry climate environment.  Common Sage (Salvia Officinalis) comes from the Middle East and Mediterranean areas.

The earliest recorded account of the use of Palo Santo Smudge Sticks dates back to the Inca period. White Sage (Salvia Apiana) use is more commonly credited to the Native Americans. Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) has been used since the ancient times. In fact, the Romans called this sage the “holy herb”. They used it in religious rituals.      

Supply Situation and Sustainability

Palo Santo: Only fallen trees and branches are allowed to be harvested . However, the growing popularity of Palo Santo makes enforcement of the said law difficult.

White sage (Salvia Apiana): Companies do claim to harvest white sage legally and sustainably either through privately farming white sage or worker with local suppliers. Companies will also work with Native Americans as well.

Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) grows abundantly in the Middle East and Mediterranean countries.


Palo Santo has a pleasant subtle scent that is citrus like and has notes of mint and pine. The scent from sage may not be to everybody’s liking because it is strong, herby, and earthy.

Burning Characteristics

Palo Santo Smudge Sticks does not burn as long as the sage sticks. It may have to be lit a few times to clear larger areas. Sage produces more smoke and will make cleansing large space easier. 

Clearing and Cleansing

Their clearing and cleansing benefits of negativity are the primary reasons why Palo Santo and sage are extensively used. However, be careful with Sage!

Sage is observed to clear all energy, whether good or bad!

Caution: Unless you have an intention to replace the cleared energy with some positive energy, you run the risk of your cleansed space being filled with the same energy you just removed!! You should plan to bring in the energy you desire when you use sage… You may do this either by using a crystal or by visualizing your space being filled with white light.   

With Palo Santo smudge, you can expect to cleanse negative energy then bring in the good! Moreover, it will bring fresh feeling of creativity to fill your space. 



Physical Benefits of Saging

The smoke from Palo Santo smudge is effective as repellant for mosquitoes and bugs. It is also traditionally used to cure colds, flu, headaches, flu, inflammation and asthma. 

Sage smoke on the other hand, is said to remove bacteria in the air up to 94% based on a study on the benefits of medicinal smoke!

There are many reasons to want to use Palo Santos or sage. Their benefits are both compelling and have a few in common. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether to go with Palo Santo Smudge Sticks or Sage. Or why not use both for your energy clearing and smudging rituals?!