Energetics: Spicy, astringent
Meridians: Lungs, stomach
Sage is well named, coming from the Latin “salvare”, to save, in reference to its curative properties. As a member of the mint family, it has many of the healing properties of its sisters. Of special note are the high levels of calcium and other bone-building minerals in all mints, including sage, and the exceptionally generous amounts of antioxidant vitamins they offer us.
A reliable expectorant and very useful remedy for gases in stomach and bowels. Especially valuable in the removal of slime from stomach, bronchial tubes and lungs. For the prevention of those exhausting night sweats, there is no better remedy than a cup of the infusion of sage before retiring. The decoction used as a gargle and mouth wash gives quick relief from inflammation, soreness and ulceration of throat and mouth. Dose 15 to 60 grains.(1)
Maria Treben’s Experiences with Sage
According to Maria Treben many physicians have realized the beneficial qualities of Sage; they use it with great success for cramps, disorders of the spinal cord, glandular disorders and for trembling of the limbs. For these disorders 2 cups are sipped throughout the day. This tea is valuable in liver complaints, dispels flatulence and all complaints caused by an ill liver. It is blood cleansing, dispels phlegm from the respiratory organs and the stomach, increases the appetite, rectifies intestinal trouble and diarrhoea.
She further states that Sage tea may be used for ulcerated throat and mouth, inflammation of the tooth pulp, tonsillitis and throat disorders. Many children and grown-ups could have saved themselves a tonsillectomy had they taken Sage tea in time. When the tonsils, which are the policemen of the body for toxic substances, are missing, the toxic substances go directly to the kidneys. A decoction of Sage is a useful gargle for loose and bleeding teeth and ulcerated or receding gums. A small piece of cotton saturated with Sage tea can be applied. A sitz bath taken once in a while would be of great help to women with abdominal troubles and to people with weak nerves. (2)
Sage decreases milk flow
Sage is also known to help decreasing milk production when weaning. (3)
Cosmetic uses: Salvia Officinalis is know to stimulate hair growth
“The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants” recommends drinking a daily cup of sage tea or applying it directly to your scalp to help to stimulate hair growth. As an added benefit, sage is an ayurvedic remedy to clear your mind and calm overactive emotions.
Sage Recipes from Susun Weed
The easiest way to use sage as medicine is to make a tea of it. The addition of honey is traditional and wise, as honey is a powerful antibacterial in its own right and magnifies sage’s ability to ward off colds, flus, and breathing problems. If you have dried sage, a teaspoonful brewed in a cup of boiling water for no more than 2-3 minutes, with an added teaspoonful of honey, ought to produce a pleasant, aromatic tea. If it is bitter, the tea was brewed too long, or the sage was old or too-finely powdered, or you have the wrong sage. If you have fresh sage, use a handful of the leaves and stalks, brew for about five minutes, and add a spoonful of honey. Fresh sage tea is rarely bitter. Or, you can make a ready-sweetened sage tea by using your own home-made sage honey.
As the cold comes on and frosts threaten, I make my major mint-family harvests of the year, including pruning back the sage. Where I live, the frost won’t kill the sage, but it will blacken the leaves and cause them to fall off. Before that happens, I take my scissors and cut the plants back by at least half. I coarsely chop the stems and leaves and put them in a jar. (For best results, I choose a jar that will just contain the amount of herb at hand. If there is unused space in the jar, oxidation will occur, and components of the herb can be damaged or altered.) Then, I slowly pour honey over the chopped herb, poking with a chopstick to eliminate air bubbles, until the jar is nearly full. A SAGE HONEY label completes the preparation. All that is left to do is to store it in a cool, dark place and wait for six weeks. From then on, or sooner if you really need it, the sage honey is ready to use. Just dig in! Put a heaping tablespoonful in a big mug of boiling hot water, stir and drink. Or let it brew for a few minutes, strain and drink.
Be sure to use Salvia sages, the ones with pebbly-fleshed ovate leave, not Artemisia sages which have white hairs on the backs of the ferny leaves. White sage, frequently sold as a “smudge” herb (that is, an herb whose smoke is used to create a protective field around a space) is a Salvia sage but it is too strong for use as a food or medicine.
I make honeys of other fresh mint family plants, too. (No, dried plants don’t make good honeys.) Besides fresh sage honey I often make peppermint honey, lemon balm honey, rosemary honey, thyme honey, oregano honey, marjoram honey, shiso honey, and bergamot honey. They all help me stay healthy throughout the winter, and they all taste ever so good.
Sage Essential Oils
Although the tincture and essential oil of sage are available, I find them too concentrated and too dangerous for general use. Households with children do best when there are no essential oils on hand; fatal accidents have occurred.
I do make Sage vinegar: by pouring room temperature apple cider vinegar over a jar filled with chopped fresh sage. Sage vinegar is not as medicinal as the tea but, with olive oil and tamari, it makes a delicious and healthy salad dressing. Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily can reduce your risk of adult onset diabetes by half; two tablespoons of sage vinegar daily might just keep you alive forever, as the saying goes: “Why die when the Savior grows in your garden?”.
According to the latest research…
Sage is a great remedy for hot flushes during menopause. Research shows that a fresh sage preparation demonstrated clinical value in the treatment of hot flushes and associated menopausal symptoms.
(First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21630133)
Antioxidants in Sage – Rosmarinic Acid
Rosmarinic acid isolated from Sage Officinalis has been known to initiate antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagen, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
(Effect of plant extracts on Alzheimer’s disease: An insight into therapeutic avenues. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3122981/?tool=pubmed)
Contraindications – Sage
1) Do not use this herb during pregnancy due to the volatile oil thujone, which has emmenogogue and arbortifacient effects.
2) Do not use this herb during lactation as it reduces milk production.
3) Do not use this herb long term, as it may induce epileptiform cramps.
4) Do not combine this herb with Warfarin and other anticoagulant medication, due to its coumarin-like content which may cause bleeding, although no specific studies have been carried out on this herb.
5) Caution should be shown while using this herb due to its thujone content. (ESCOP)
(1) Herbs for Health, by Otto Mausert, N.D. (1932)
(2) Maria Treben Herbs Online, http://www.mariatrebenherbs.com/67/83-sage/itemid-0
(3) Herbs to Dry Milk Production After Weaning on LiveStrong, http://www.livestrong.com/article/110983-herbs-dry-milk-production-after/(4) Patti Barrett, Using and Growing Sage
(4) Susun Weed, Sage the Savior, http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Sage-the-Savior.htm
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