Specimen #71 Native American Sage (the silvery white plants)
Location: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Photo by me.
This sage is not like the herb we cook a turkey and stuffing with. It does smell nice, and you can make a healing tea with it, but it is not the same as your garden variety sage. This sage grows everywhere in the reservation, in the Black Hills, and the "Badlands." It can be short, up to 2.5' tall, single stemmed and spindly, or branched and bushy, but the color is always silvery. It is very easy to spot from a distance.
It is used by the Lakota for healing, purification, and prayer. They will make a smudge, or bundle of dried sage stems that has been lit for its smoke, to wash away the negative from a person, room, etc.
Sage smudges are also used to cleanse rooms or areas of negative influence, as well as to purify sacred items such as pipes, drums, and eagle feathers.