The Difference Between White Sage and Regular Sage

white sage

Chances are, you have come across at least one or two recipes that call for sage. There is also a better than average chance that you have read or heard something about people cleansing their homes by burning sage. Whether you buy into that sort of thing or not, you have probably seen it on television, read about it in a book, or maybe even have a friend who actively does it. This might have you wondering about the differences between white sage and regular sage, as these are terms that are typically thrown around in both cooking and burning incense for the purpose of cleansing something. As it turns out, they are two entirely different things that are used almost exclusively of one another.

The Basics

There are many differences between regular sage and white sage. The biggest difference is that regular sage is routinely used for cooking. White sage, on the other hand, is used for burning incense. In some cases, people use it to cleanse their home. More will be discussed about that in a later paragraph. For now, you need to know that white sage is never used for cooking. It even looks completely different from regular sage. White sage has a tendency to grow taller, almost twice as tall as regular sage. It’s also extremely drought-resistant. As such, it’s routinely seen growing in desert climates. Its counterpart, regular sage, cannot survive in such climates. It is native to the Mediterranean, so in order to grow it in other parts of the world, it has to have a great deal of water and attention. There are other differences between the two as well. While the leaves of a blooming sage plant may look similar for both regular and white sage, the leaves on white sage are typically somewhat larger.


When comparing the two, it’s rather interesting to take the history between regular sage and white sage into account. Regular sage, also frequently referred to as kitchen sage, has been used for the purposes of seasoning food for years. Some people even believe that it has medicinal purposes as an herb, especially for people who are suffering from a sore throat or laryngitis. As such, it’s not uncommon to find individuals who put additional sage into the recipes whenever they or someone close to them has a cold. White sage is a completely different subject matter altogether. It was largely used by Native American Indians who believed that it had various types of healing properties. As a result, they would use the roots of white sage after a woman had given childbirth in order to help her heal. They also routinely burn white sage to clear away all kinds of impurities. This involves cleansing the air from impurities that can be breathed in, but it also takes things a step further. Native American Indians believed that by burning white sage, negative spirits as well as any negative thoughts could be cleared away. As a result, they routinely burned white sage. This is a practice that still continues in many Native American circles today.

Other Potential Uses

The Native American practice of burning white sage is something that has largely become mainstream within the last few decades. People use it for the aforementioned purposes, but many of them also believe that there are other uses for burning white sage as well. For starters, it has a tendency to put a rather pleasant scent into the room, something that almost everyone can agree on doing. In addition, it’s also possible that burning white sage can help people who are suffering from allergies and maybe even increase your level of energy. If you’re not sleeping well and you feel tired during the day, it might be a good idea to burn some incense with white sage in it, especially if you are suffering from a lot of allergies or head colds. Some people also believe that burning white sage can serve as an inspirational tool, clearing out any negative energy and the thoughts that go with it and opening the door for more positive energy to come in. It is often believed that this then provides an avenue for renewed inspiration.

Does It Work?

The thing about burning white sage is that some people believe wholeheartedly that it works and other people think it is a bunch of rubbish. The same thing can be said about using kitchen sage as an herbal treatment for sore throats and laryngitis. Some people absolutely swear by it. Others wouldn’t even consider using it for medicinal purposes. As is the case with most things like this, much of it comes down to your personal belief system. There is a chance that it could potentially work. Thus far, no one has been able to definitively prove that it doesn’t work, although it isn’t likely to work in every case, either. Perhaps it is reliant on how open- or close- minded you are to the situation. At the end of the day, it certainly doesn’t hurt anything to use it. At the same time, regular sage adds a pleasant flavor to your food and white sage adds a pleasant scent to your home. Therefore, you might decide to go ahead and give it a go so you can see what happens for yourself. If you’re interested in growing your own sage for the purposes of cleansing your home or seasoning your food, it’s typically easy enough to grow. If you don’t have the space to grow it outdoors or you live in a climate that doesn’t work well for such things, you might be able to grow it in a small pot in your kitchen. At the end of the day, you may be pleasantly surprised at how well you feel if you start cooking with sage and burning some white sage in your home to boot. At the very least, your home will smell welcoming and your food is likely to taste great.

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