Sacred Herbs For Cleansing & Purifying

Have you ever walked into a room and noticed that it felt a little “off”? There might not have been anything specific about it — just what some might call “bad vibes.”

This feeling isn’t just confined to rooms, either. You can wake up having an off day, or just feel exhausted, anxious, or frustrated by the energetic residue of stress and other people’s energy.

All of these situations call for cleansing, which is one of the most (if not the most) important parts of a magical practice. While there are many methods for achieving a good, deep energetic cleanse, herbs are favored by cultures around the world.

Here are some cleansing plant allies to consider:

1. Agrimony

(Agrimonia species)

An agrimony branch with yellow leaves.

Agrimony is frequently used as a protective herb. It’s included here because of the mechanism of its protection — it acts by reducing the impact of other people’s negative energy, banishing evil, and generally cleansing away and reversing malevolent magic sent your way.

If you’re considering an energetic cleansing to remove the effects of negativity from other people or entities, agrimony may be a useful choice.

2. Bay

(Laurus nobilis)

Fresh green bay leaves.

In addition to being a useful wishing and all-around positive herb, bay leaves are used for cleansing.

To do this, they are generally lit on fire and burned, though they may also be crumbled and sprinkled on charcoal, or added to other cleansing herbs. Bay leaves blended with frankincense resin is particularly delightful.

See article: Bay Leaf: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.

3. Cedar

(Cedrus species)

Cedar leaves and a cedar cone on a white background.

Cedar oil, wood, and leaves are all used for cleansing. It’s also used to make wands for this purpose.

4. Cypress

(Cupressaceae species)

A branch of the cypress tree.

Like other trees, cypress needles or resin purify ritual spaces when burned.

5. Eucalyptus

(Eucalyptus species)

Green and purple eucalyptus leaves.

The leaves and oils of this Australian tree are used for cleansing negative energy. Its leaves are also used to keep evil away.

Unlike some other herbs, its action is said to be extremely powerful, but short. The scent of eucalyptus is very strong, so a little goes a long way.

6. Juniper

(Juniperus species)

Juniper leaves and berries.

When burned, juniper leaves or berries cleanse areas. In some traditions, it’s used when there’s a threat of disease. In others, it’s used to clear away negative energy and keep witches at bay.

7. Lavender

(Lavandula species)

Fresh lavender leaves and purple lavender flowers.

The name lavender literally comes from a Latin word meaning “to wash.” While it’s often used for physical cleaning, its action translates just as well to energetic cleansing.

Lavender buds can be added to incense, baths, wash waters, or asperging liquid, and the remaining stems may be bundled together and burned.

See article: Lavender: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.

8. Lemon

(Citrus limon)

Whole lemons and freshly sliced lemons on a white background.

Few herbs are as energetically cleansing as lemon. You can add its juice to washing liquid, its zest to dry herb mixtures, and its oil to oil blends.

You don’t even have to do anything specific to lemons to get them to energetically cleanse a space — just leaving them around will do.

If they go soft and get moldy, it’s a sign that more work is needed. If they dry out, all is well. Keep fresh lemons around to keep tabs on your space.

See article: Lemon: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.

9. Frankincense

(Boswellia species)

Frankincense resin in a bowl.

Frankincense has very spiritually uplifting properties. It’s often used to clear and prepare sacred spaces in particular. Since it’s a resin, it doesn’t dissolve readily in wash waters or asperging liquid — it’s best used burned on charcoal.

See article: Frankincense: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.

10. Mint

(Mentha species)

Fresh cleansing mint leaves isolated on white.

Mint is particularly useful for cleansing away the negative energy created by arguments. Place it in a bowl of water with rosemary and wormwood, and use this to sprinkle or wash a room.

It’s said that you can also clear and restore harmony by rubbing mint leaves on furniture, windows, and doors. (Just be careful of leaving green stains!)

See article: Mint: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.

11. Mugwort

(Artemisia vulgaris)

Two green mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) twigs.

Mugwort is especially helpful for cleansing divination tools. Bathe crystals, mirrors, scrying bowls, and other water-safe objects in an infusion of the herb in clean water.

See article: Mugwort: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.

12. Myrrh

(Commiphora species)

Orange and brown Myrrh resin.

Myrrh in any form is used for purifying ritual spaces. Its oil is an excellent addition to anointing ointments and oils, and the resin can be burned on charcoal to cleanse and ready a space.

13. Palo Santo

(Bursera graveolens)

A bunch of Palo Santo Wood tied together.

Palo santo is a South American sacred tree. Traditionally, it’s used to clear “mala energía” (bad energy). In Peruvian shamanism, the wood is burned to cleanse away bad luck, evil spirits, and negative thought patterns from people during ritual.

Unfortunately, this tree is endangered in some areas — high demand has led to logging of live trees. If you choose to use it, stick to wood that has been sustainably harvested from deadfall.

14. Pine

(Multiple species)

A branch of the pine tree and pine cones.

Pine oil in wash water will cleanse a space. Because of their needlelike leaves, pine branches can also be used like besoms, to metaphorically “sweep” negative energy out of a room.

15. Rosemary

(Salvia rosmarinus)

A bunch of fresh rosemary leaves.

Rosemary is helpful in ritual baths, wash waters, and while asperging. When burned with juniper, it cleanses the energy in places where there has been illness or injury.

See article: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.

16. Thyme

(Thymus species)

A bunch of cleansing thyme leaves.

Thyme is used in washes or as incense to cleanse away the negativity associated with prolonged periods of sadness, long illness, or family tragedies. It’s sometimes used during spring cleaning and festivals to clear away old energy and make room for the new.

See article: Thyme: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.

17. Vervain

(Verbena species)

A hand drawn vervain plant.

Vervain infusions are used to cleanse people and places. This is one of the four plants that the ancient Druids used according to classical writers.

Interestingly, the name “vervain” comes from the words “fer faen,” meaning “to drive away stones.” Medicinally, it was considered useful for cleansing the urinary system of bladder crystals.

18. White Sage

(Salvia apiana)

A bunch of cleansing White Sage leaves.

White sage is primarily used as a sacred herb by the indigenous American people who historically lived in its native range. For a long time, the use of white sage was outlawed by the government, forcing these people to abandon or hide their cultural practices.

For this reason, its use is somewhat controversial — some practitioners of American folk magic burn it or add it to washes to energetically cleanse an area, but many witches prefer to use herbs that are traditional within their own cultures.

See article: Sage: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.

19. Wormwood

(Artemisia absinthium)

Three green wormwood twigs.

Wormwood is sometimes burned or used in infusions to cleanse away negative energy. Some use it for clearing away the tension remaining after arguments and preventing violence. It’s also a very old herbal remedy to clear the digestive tract of worms.

See article: Wormwood: Magical Properties, Benefits & Uses.


Before performing any kind of ritual or casting a spell, it’s important to make sure that your sacred space is as free of disturbances as possible. Part of this is giving it a thorough energetic cleanse.

How you choose to do this is up to you, but these herbs can be very helpful allies when it comes to clearing away unwanted energies.

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