Exploring Sacred Medicines: Sage, Cedar, Tobacco, and Sweetgrass

Kristen Lagos

Indigenous communities have revered and utilized various sacred medicines for centuries. These medicines hold deep cultural and spiritual significance, allowing individuals to connect with the Creator, spirits, and ancestors. We will delve into the meanings, uses, and benefits of four primary sacred medicines: sage, cedar, tobacco, and sweetgrass. These four plant medicines can be found in the blend of our medicine wheel offering mix.


The Origins of Sacred Medicines:

These sacred medicines were bestowed upon Indigenous Peoples by the Creator. Tobacco, being the first one, was followed by sage, cedar, and sweetgrass. The placement of these medicines on the Medicine Wheel may vary across different First Nations, but their importance remains consistent throughout Indigenous cultures. These medicines are believed to carry the essence loved by spirits, enabling a profound connection with the Creator and the spiritual realm.

Tobacco - The Mighty Sacred Medicine

Tobacco holds a significant place in Indigenous traditions. Occupying the Eastern door of the Medicine Wheel, it is considered the most powerful sacred medicine. Tobacco is used as an offering in ceremonies and to express gratitude and respect. It acts as a messenger, carrying our prayers and intentions to the spirit world. Through tobacco, we can align our thoughts and emotions with the Creator, seeking blessings for our loved ones and ourselves.

Sage - The Purifying Cleanser

Sage, the second sacred medicine, is associated with the Western door of the Medicine Wheel. It is commonly used for smudging, a practice in which its smoke is used to cleanse spaces, sacred items, and individuals. Sage has been recognized for its potent effects on the mind, alleviating troubles and removing negative energies from our hearts, minds, and homes. This versatile plant also possesses medicinal properties, serving as an antiseptic and a nutrient-rich component for teas.

Cedar - Guardian and Healer

Cedar occupies the Northern door of the Medicine Wheel, serving as a protector and representative of safety. It is an essential part of sweat lodge ceremonies, offering healing and safeguarding the participants and the sacred space. Cedar is believed to purify and cleanse, making it suitable for use in baths for cleansing purposes. Offering cedar as an act of reverence or combining it with other sacred medicines promotes clarity and facilitates communication with the Creator and the spiritual realm.

Sweetgrass - Connection to Mother Earth

Completing the quartet of sacred medicines, sweetgrass lies in the Southern door of the Medicine Wheel, symbolizing a connection to Mother Earth. Its calming effects make it ideal for use in healing circles, promoting peace, kindness, and purification. Like sage, sweetgrass is also used in smudging ceremonies. It serves as a way to connect with the nurturing energy of the Earth and invoke a sense of harmony and balance.

The Importance of Sacred Medicines

While each Indigenous nation holds its unique teachings about the sacred medicines, collectively, they help establish a profound spiritual connection with the Creator and the spirit world. These sacred medicines are inseparable from Indigenous culture, teaching valuable lessons and offering unique benefits. By understanding and respectfully utilizing these sacred medicines, individuals can embark on their personal wellness journeys with a profound appreciation for their cultural significance.

Robin Rose Bennett says this,

"I have listened to male and female Peruvian shamans from the Andes who do their sacred work, as Green Witches do, within a circle of the four elements and seven directions. As I listened to their beautiful teachings, coming from a different part of the earth and therefore a different perspective, I was struck by the realization that the essence, the heart of what they were doing there and we are doing here, is the same."

Sage, cedar, tobacco, and sweetgrass are much more than mere plants; they are sacred medicines deeply intertwined with Indigenous cultures. Their rich history, uses, and benefits demonstrate the reverence and spiritual significance attached to them. By incorporating these sacred medicines into our lives, we can explore a deeper connection with the Creator, honor our ancestry, and embrace the wisdom and teachings they offer.

Kristen Lagos - Blog Post Author

Kristen Lagos

Marketing and Keeper of the Crystal Forest at Shamans Market Kristen manages all things marketing at Shamans Market. She’s always been captivated with spirituality and nature in all their forms and has studied quite a bit of both. She is a registered yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance and is continuously learning and growing. She likes to climb rocks, swim in the great lakes, and dance in the forests.