Sage

(Salvia officinalis)

Sage is a silvery-green shrub with very fragrant leaves. The most commonly cultivated species of sage originally came from the area around the Mediterranean but now grows worldwide. The leaves of this common kitchen herb are used in medicine as well as in cooking.

Sage has one of the longest histories of use of any culinary or medicinal herb. It was used by herbalists externally to treat sprains, swelling, ulcers, and bleeding. Internally, a tea made from sage leaves was used to treat sore throats and coughs. It was also used by herbalists for rheumatism, excessive menstrual bleeding, and to dry up a mother’s milk when nursing was stopped. It was particularly noted for strengthening the nervous system, improving memory, and sharpening the senses.

What it does

Sage contains volatile oils (thujone, camphor and cineole), diterpene bitters and flavanoids which give it its antiseptic, astringent, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and circulation stimulating properties. It can also reduce excessive sweating.

Potential Uses

Alzheimers disease Indigestion Menopausal sweats
Gingivitis (as a mouth wash) Sore throat (as a gargle) To stop breast milk production

Other information

For treatment of sore throats, inflammation in the mouth, or gingivitis, 3 grams of the chopped leaf can be added to 150 ml of boiling water and strained after 10 minutes. This is then used as a mouthwash or gargle a few times daily. Alternatively, one may use 5 ml of fluid extract (1:1) diluted in one glass of water, a few times daily. For internal use, the same tea preparation described above may be taken three times per day.

Cautions

Do not use in pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

Sage should not be used for longer than 2 weeks at a time due to the action of thujone. Even when consumed in small amounts for long periods of time, thujone may cause increased heart rate and mental confusion. Very high amounts (several times greater than one receives if taking sage as instructed above), may lead to convulsions.

At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with sage.

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