Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a fascinating botanical remedy that has been used by ancient and modern cultures around the globe for a variety of health concerns. From loosening congestion to facilitating relaxation, sage is a versatile herbal remedy to include in your personal apothecary.
Sage is recognized by its grayish leaves and purplish-blue flowers, which contain compounds that have antibacterial, antiseptic, and astringent properties. These bacteria-fighting properties make sage a useful ingredient in products such as natural deodorant and mouthwash. A sage tea or tincture may help ease the irritation of a sore throat, loosen chest or nasal congestion, and alleviate digestive cramping.
You might be familiar with using sage in aromatherapy preparations, to support emotional wellbeing. When used in this way, sage essential oil is added to an air diffuser or in candles. In a method known as smudging, (commonly used in religious or spiritual ceremony), White sage is burned as a dried bundle with the intention to ease mental stress and enhance mood. Many people burn sage to enhance their practice of yoga or meditation.
Using sage as a botanical remedy is very different from cooking with the herb. Medicinal preparations and essential oils derived from sage contain thujones, a naturally occurring chemical in the plant. If you take a higher dose of medicinal sage than is recommended, it could cause serious health problems such as tremors, rapid heart rate, vertigo and vomiting. Consult your holistic health practitioner for guidance on the safe use of any sage remedy.
Mars, B. & C. Fiedler. Home Reference Guide to Holistic Health & Healing. (Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press. 2015.), 30, 143, 203.
Johnson, R. L., et al., National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants.(National Geographic Society. 2010, 2014.), 90-93.
Herbwisdom. “Sage Benefits & Information (Salvia Officinalis).” https://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-sage.html
NCCIH. “Sage.” https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/sage
Mindbodygreen. “A Sage Smudging Ritual To Cleanse Your Aura & Clear Your Space.” March 13, 2015. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17875/a-sage-smudging-ritual-to-cleanse-your-aura-clear-your-space.html
Kennedy, D. O., and E. L. Wightman. “Herbal Extracts and Phytochemicals: Plant Secondary Metabolites and the Enhancement of Human Brain Function1.” Advances in Nutrition 2, no. 1 (January 10, 2011): 32–50. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.110.000117