First Peoples of North America use herbs in a sacred manner called smudging to purify a persons body and spirit as well as a home or area. Smudging is ceremony in which you burn certain herbs, take the smoke in one’s hand and rub it over the body.
Three different kinds of plants are used in Northwest Coast Aboriginal Culture to smudge. Cedar bows are burnt for the purpose of cleansing, the smoke rises and the prayers make their way to the Creator. Sage is burned in smudging ceremonies to drive out ill feeling or influences, protecting the place of ceremony. Sweet Grass is one of the most sacred plants to the Plains Native People and is frequently burned after either sage or cedar to bring in positive influences and energies. Juniper is also used occasionally and added in with sage.
Any container will do to hold the smudge while burning, usually made from stone or shell. A feather can be used to wave the smoke in the direction required.