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Their heft depends totally on the environment. If the sun and rain have been good they will be thicker, but if drought and stress have been the norm for the growing season, they will be smaller.

Burned to promote happiness, open heartedness and harmony, sweetgrass is a sacred plant like sage that has long been used in Native American smudging ceremonies.

Yet unlike sage, which is a shrub, sweetgrass is actually a type of grass. Traditionally, sage has been used to ward off evil spirits and cleanse a space, person or object. But sweetgrass—also called holy grass, vanilla grass, bison grass or buffalo grass—essentially does the opposite; because the grass normally bends, not breaks, when walked upon in the wild, it’s believed to symbolize kindness. One Native American healer, Whitehorse Woman, puts it this way: “Smudging is a two-step process for me. I use sage to remove unwanted energy, and sweetgrass to invite wanted energy.” In other words, sage clears negativity and sweetgrass brings positivity.

To many noses, sweetgrass has a distinct, vanilla-like scent, although to others, the aroma is more like that of a freshly mown lawn or a bale of freshly cut hay.

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