Sweetgrass Braids are a case in point of bulk herbs that have a purpose that goes beyond the normal qualities of medicinal or culinary use. Sweetgrass Braids appeal to the senses particularly that of smell – and can uplift the spirit as well.
Sweetgrass is considered to be sacred by many North American Indians; this dried herb is rolled into tight braids which do not burn, but rather smolder like incense. In fact, the burning of Sweetgrass Braids is done at the opening of many traditional Native American and indigenous Canadian prayer ceremonies.
The Ojibwa Indians of present-day Michigan and Ontario have a name in their Algonquian language for the natural herbs used in Sweetgrass Braids: wika’bimuka’si. This is sometimes mixed with red willow and barberry and smoked in a pipe at certain ceremonies. According to Ojibwa tradition, when the Sweetgrass Braids are burned, the prayers of those present are carried to the Great Spirit.