Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage is a common herb found in most kitchen gardens. With its pebbled gray-green leaves, it is easily identified. The fragrant leaves add flavor to meat and vegetable dishes in many different cuisines. Besides its current popularity as a seasoning, it has had a long history as a medicinal herb. Used by the ancient Greeks and Romans, it became well-known for treating many ailments including mental illness and epilepsy.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Sage has been used to improve memory, to stimulate hormone production, as a natural antibiotic, to reduce muscle spasms and to prevent excessive perspiration and salivation. When weaning a baby, drinking the herbal tea will help reduce milk production and so prevent mastitis. Some women use it to reduce hot flushes and to boost natural estrogen production during menopause. Others use it to relieve female sterility. It can also help with digestive upset, gas and diarrhea. The herb is known to be antifungal and antiviral as well. It is also being used to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
Externally Sage makes a good mouth wash to freshen breath and it is good for sore throat, laryngitis, gingivitis, tonsillitis and bleeding gums. It is used externally to treat sprains, swelling, bleeding and ulcers, help muscle cramps and spasms as well as treat stiff joints and backaches.
Other Uses Sage is traditionally used when roasting poultry. It is also a common herb used in Italian cuisine.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Leaves The leaves are used both for making herbal remedies and for seasoning food.
If sage is consumed for long periods of time, it may increase the heart rate or cause mental confusion due to the presence of thujone. Excessive amounts may lead to convulsions. If you are taking medicinally, limit your doses to no more than two weeks at a time and then give your body a break.
The herb should not be used medicinally in pregnancy. Do not use if you have a fever. Do not use the essential oil without diluting it. Use with caution if you have diabetes, epilepsy or hypoglycemia.
There are no known drug interactions at this time.
Preparation and Dosage
If you are treating sore throats, gingivitis or any inflammation of the mouth, 3 grams of chopped leaf can be put into two cups of boiling water. Steep the tea for ten minutes and then strain before use. This preparation can be used as a mouthwash or gargle several times per day. You could also choose to use 5 ml of fluid extract diluted in a glass of water for the same purpose. If you are taking sage internally, the herbal tea preparation described here can be taken three times a day.