I personally tend to use widely available plants for most purposes, so using local plants for clearing is mainly what I prefer. I do, however, sometimes use exotic resins for specific applications. There is a long history of cultural use (over a thousand years) of these plants. The list below is by no means exhaustive, but it will give you some ideas.
These are all easy to get here in Massachusetts and in most of the Eastern US.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). Mugwort is amazing and is one of my favorite plants. I love the way she smells! I make wreaths with the stalks, bundles to burn and different medicines with her.
Artemisias (the genus of plants that mugwort is in) in general have been used all around the world to dispel negativity (moxa, used in acupuncture, is made with mugwort). Mugwort is an old, European ally that came over to the lower continental US with European settlers. She is listed as one of the Anglo-Saxon’s 9 sacred herbs and considered both highly clearing and protective. She is also associated with divinatory dreaming.
I like mugwort as a bundle to burn, as a loose incense, as a brushing bundle, in the bath and as a spray – I even hang her around my house. Mugwort is what I use to clear the nastiest energies out of my healing space.
Mugwort is available from mid-summer through the fall and grows in along roadsides and in disturbed ground (waste place, abandoned lots, etc.). You can also grow here in your garden. She seeds herself profusely so no worries about having enough. Mugwort is also an excellent lady bug and butterfly nursery.
I’ve recently seen mugwort bundles marketed under the name of “black sage”. Just an FYI, there! And, yep, I do make mugwort bundles. I have tons of it in my yard. My own handwrapped bundles are available in my shop.
Photo credit: Hietaparta on Pixabay
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). The Greeks would keep Hypericum over their doors to keep nasty spirits out and I often use him like this today, too. I like SJW in the bath or as part of a brushing bundle/broom to help clear sad, stuck energy. Some tea as a finishing mop would both banish negative energy as well as bring in light. Nice! Also, I find the balsam-y fragrance of fresh Hypericum really enticing. Just thinking about it makes me feel safe and happy.
Harvest St. John’s wort when it flowers, around mid-summer through August.
photo credit: Alicja from Pixabey
Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus). Especially in the winter, evergreens were used for both clearing and protection. That’s why we traditionally decorate with greenery at mid-Winter. I use our local pine species to clear negative energy. I gather white pine after storms and let it dry in my garage for a few days before trimming it into twiggy bundles that I wrap or snipping off the needles for loose incense. For both bundles and loose incense, dry thoroughly. When you burn pine bundles, make sure you have a bowl to catch the burnt material. You may have to relight the bundle often.
The resin of the white pine also makes a lovely incense. It smells like burning pine wood but a bit cleaner. If you collect your own resin, make sure you don’t scrape so much off the tree that the wound it covers is exposed. Dry thoroughly…this may take some months. Resins last years. To use see directions for burning resins.