5 Alternatives to White Sage & Palo Santo

By now you've probably participated in a discussion about the ethical uses of white sage and palo santo, but just in case you haven't: 

- White sage is a sacred plant to some First Nations communities and is being over-harvested.

- Palo santo is a sacred tree to some indigenous groups in the Andes and is being illegally harvested buy some companies. You can still use Palo Santo, but you must make sure you are working with a reputable source that only harvests from the fallen branches. 

Luckily there are alternatives you can use to effectively cleanse your space.

  1. Common Sage: Head to your local grocery store or farmers market and pick up some of this kitchen staple, which you can then dry out yourself and burn when needed. 
  2. Mugwort: This plant does double duty, as it not only cleanses, but it also enhances psychic abilities. It is becoming more widely available, but can sometimes be mixed with white sage, so clarify before purchasing.
  3. Lavender: I have yet to meet a person who doesn't like the calming scent of this herb. For a quick and easy cleanse burn some dried buds in a censer.
  4. Myrrh Resin: This wood resin can be purchased anywhere that incense is sold. It is super potent, so a little bit goes a long way. It is a powerhouse purifier. 
  5. Incense Sticks: You have endless options by choosing this method. Any scent you could possibly think of probably already exists. Do your best to seek out handcrafted sticks made in small batches by local artisans.

BONUS: Go smokeless and use sound to cleanse. Bells and chimes are the easiest way to cleanse when burning plants is not an option.


  • Rafaela

    What deck is this?

  • Kayla

    For those wondering, the best way to dispose of your white sage + palo santo is to return them to the earth by burying them. Thank you for looking for alternatives!

  • Dafina

    Thankful for finding this post. I have Palo Santos incense sticks and have been searching for a respectful alternative. Thank you and I’ve shared this with friends.

  • Amberly McCarter

    What are the best ways to give away or to discard of your white sage and palo santo? I have been gifted some and bought palo santo thinking it was a good alternative.

  • Maleah

    Such a helpful article! I love palo santo but I love even better to respectful to earth mama and those indigenous cultures that are effected by illegal deforestation. Also beautiful card decks! – blessings <3

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