Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Best known as a culinary herb, the kitchen herb sage is a mild but very useful herb. Its action as an astringent makes it useful for treating minor wounds, as well as eruptions of the skin like acne and rashes. Sage is soothing to the stomach, and is one of the most appropriate herbs to use for heartburn and indigestion.
Sage has the ability to dry up the secretion of fluids throughout the body, making it useful for congestion and for decreasing lactation. Sage has been used for centuries in treating a variety of ailments. Popular for its anti-inflammatory properties, Sage has been found to increase circulation, relieve digestive problems, and improve the memory.
This herb is also cooling, antioxidant, astringent and anti-inflammatory making it useful for fevers and some headaches. Tradition considers sage to be a useful herb for lessening the effects of all diseases. Sage invokes a calming effect on the central nervous system, helping reduce anxiety, mild depression, and soothe muscle spasms.
Other known uses for sage have been to help reduce fevers, fight common colds, regulate menstruation, alleviate nausea and reduce perspiration making it a valuable source for the treatment of night sweats. Good for the liver and digestive system.
Sage contains vitamins A, C and B-complex, plus high amounts of calcium and potassium.
The name Sage is derived from the Latin word ‘salvare’, meaning ‘to heal’. Among the healers of ancient Rome, salvia was considered something of a cure-all, useful for ensuring longevity and bringing the sick back from the brink of death.
Sage is a native of Europe, but is now cultivated throughout the temperate parts of the world. It prefers a slightly acidic soil, and some shade.
When buying, Sage should have a strong aroma and thick, rather hairy leaves. For medicinal uses, whole or crushed sage is preferable to powdered sage, because the powdered product loses its volatile oils faster when in storage.
To make Sage tea, brew half an ounce of sage steeped in a pint of boiled water, this can be drunk, up to three or four cups a day, for as long as a week. Continuing use much longer than this, however, may result in conditions of dryness.
Precautions Sage decreases the flow of breast milk.
- Duke, James A. 1992. Handbook of phytochemical constituents of GRAS herbs and other economic plants. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press.
- Andrew Bentley, The Kentucky Herbalist
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