The botanical name for sage, salvia officinalis, comes from the Latin word, salvare, which means "to save" or "to cure." True to its Latin moniker, sage, particularly in the form of tea, is effective in the treatment of a multitude of ailments.
Sage is a strongly flavored, slightly bitter, perennial herb. The plant has grayish-green, furry leaves. It is native to the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Sage is a member of the labiatae, or mint, family of plants. It is best grown in well-drained, rich soil in full sunlight. Sage is now widely cultivated in California, Oregon and Washington, but can also be easily grown in an indoor herbal garden. Even though it is cultivated domestically, Purdue University indicates that millions of pounds of dried sage, mainly from the Mediterranean area, are imported into the United States annually.
Sage has been grown in central Europe since the Middle Ages. It has been recognized far longer for its medicinal properties than for its value as a culinary herb. In ancient Greek and Rome, sage was touted to have a plethora of medicinal benefits. Sage is also used by Native Americans in spiritual purification ceremonies where the plant is burned to create a smoke that draws upon the aromatic qualities of sage. A relative to salvia officinalis, salvia divinorum, grown in Mexico, has hallucinogenic effects and is being studied for its psychopharmacologic properties.
Preparation of Tea
Pour approximately 1 pt. of boiling water over 1 oz. of dried sage leaves.
Sage produces a calming, yet stimulating tea which contains powerful antioxidants. Sage has aromatic, antiseptic, antibacterial and antispasmotic properties that contribute to its effective treatment of a variety of maladies.
One of the most prevalent uses of sage tea, due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, is for inflammations of the mouth, throat and tonsils, as well as gingivitis. Further down the digestive tract, sage tea aids in digestion as it stimulates upper digestive secretions as well as intestinal mobility, bile flow and pancreatic functions. Sage tea is used to combat liver and kidney issues. Consumed as an iced tea, sage acts as an astringent, so it is useful in controlling diarrhea. Hot tea has a diuretic effect and aids in the expulsion of toxins from the body.
Sage has a generally relaxant effect and can be used to combat delirium caused by fever, as well as the nervous excitement that accompanies brain and nervous-system disorders. Sage tea has historically been used to control the heavy sweats that accompany tuberculosis.
The anti-inflammatory property of the herb soothes joint pain and inflammation.
Sage has an anti-spasmotic action that reduces the spasms in smooth muscle and can, therefore, reduce the symptoms of asthma attacks.
Sage tea can also be applied topically for relief from certain maladies. Dipping a cloth into hot sage tea creates a compress which can be applied to the forehead to soothe a tension headache. Applied to the stomach area, a sage compress can soothe a stomach ache or provide relief for digestive or intestinal discomfort and flatulence.
The Holistic Herbalist indicates that studies have shown that the consumption of sage tea boosts memory and it is being researched to potentially aid in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.