How To Use Sweetgrass for Healing

Attracting Positive Energies

Braided Sweetgrass
Braided Sweetgrass. © Phylameana lila Desy

Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata) gets its name from its sweet, aromatic fragrance, and is an important substance in a variety of New Age healing practices and in herbal healing science. The plant is native to much of northern Eurasia and North America and can grow as for north as the Arctic Circle. It is sometimes distilled for a flavored vodka, and also is used in basket-weaving.

Like many New Age practices, the use of sweetgrass for spiritual purposes is actually very old. Native American indigenous people regarded Sweetgrass as a sacred medicine, and even today is a standard substance used in shamanic healing.

New Age Uses

Burned as an incense, sweetgrass is valued for its vanilla-like scent. Clippings of sweetgrass are usually braided and then dried prior to burning. When burned for healing or ritual purposes, the smoke from the braided sweetgrass is thought to attract good spirits and positive energies. It is used as a smudging tool to purify peoples auras, cleanse objects, and clear ceremonial areas or healing spaces of negative energy.  Sweetgrass can also be carried or worn as a protective amulet. It is also sought for basket weaving.

Other Names for Sweetgrass

  • Seneca Grass
  • Vanilla Grass
  • Holy Grass
  • Buffalo Grass

Ritual Uses of Sweetgrass:

  • Burned as a special offering during sacred prayers
  • Burned for personal and home blessings
  • Burned or smudged for purification purposes
  • Incorporated into sweat lodge ceremonies
  • Carried as a protective totem
  • Kept in the home to attract positive energies

Reader's Suggested Uses for Sweetgrass 

Here are some suggestions for using sweetgrass from some skilled healers:

I use it to clear out bad vibes. Or if I am worried about loved ones. Some of my relatives lay one across the dashboard of the car (safe travels) My dad says a prayer in his language (Shoshone). ~
With sage, copal, and tobacco, make a sun tea. To make, place one gallon of water into sunshine on your roof for three days.  Then put it in a five-gallon container and add three more gallons of pure water. Use those four gallons of prepared "tea" for use in a sweat lodge to pour over hot volcanic rock! Makes a good sweat! ~Range Hawk​
Smudging is a two-step process for me. It removes unwanted energy and brings wanted energy.  I use sage to remove and sweetgrass to invite. I leave at least one window partway open during winter, but in summer all windows and doors are open to allow the free flow of energy.  So I open a window or door and use the sage to clear room of those energies I do not want there. Then I use the sweetgrass to invite those energies I do want. ~Whitehorse Woman