By Granny Earth, ND
The word ‘Salvia’ comes from the Latin- salvare, meaning ‘to cure’. There was an old medieval saying that went like this: “Why should a man die, while Sage grows in his garden?’
Sage is a perennial plant (a shrub actually) that grows about 2 foot high. It’s considered to be a woody evergreen, with soft gray-green or purple leaves.
The delicate flowers are bluish-purple. Native to Mediterranean areas, Sage has been praised throughout history for its powers of longevity.
This one is no trouble to grow, it’s not invasive and will come back year after year. I have given many Sage plants away over the years- they thrive in sunny spots, making it through our cold winters just fine. Every year the plant gets bigger and more beautiful. Probably just one plant would do a family quite well for a whole year, medicinally.
Sage is good for many things: as a remedy for sore throats, poor digestion and irregular menstruation. It’s also used as a gently stimulating tonic, having a slightly warm, but bitter and astringent taste. It contains a volatile oil, Thujone, which is strongly antiseptic. It also has estrogenic actions, making it a good menopause remedy for hot flashes and helping the body adapt to hormonal changes. Thujone also helps to reduce breastmilk in nursing mothers.
Another Sage phytochemical, Rosmarinic acid, is a strong anti-inflammatory used for muscle spasms. It’s also an effective antimicrobial agent and is both a digestive tonic and stimulant, as well as a nerve tonic. It helps calm and stimulate the nervous system, depending on what the body needs. The combination of antiseptic, relaxing and astringent actions of Sage, makes it ideal for sore throats. For this, you’d gargle with it, in the form of a tea.
Being astringent, it will also help with mild diarrhea too. Astringent weeds tend to stop bleeding, so the sage leaf would be used topically for healing wounds, in the form of a poultice.
To make an infusion for use as a gargle: Take 1 teaspoon of dried leaves and infuse them in a cup of boiling water. Pour the boiling water over the leaves, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Alternately, half the water may be replaced by cider vinegar. Use some to gargle with and drink the rest with a little honey, added for taste.
A note from Dr. Culpepper- ‘A decoction of the leaves provokes the urine, brings down women’s courses and expels the dead child.’
According to that old, wise man-I would recommend that Sage NOT be used by expectant mothers.
‘No matter where life leads me- I always have some Sage as a grounding friend, a constant companion. As a live plant, she gives me patience. As a tea, she cleanses my body. As a smudge, she clears my energy and as a friend-she says- ‘I love you!’. Your loyalty is beyond compare, thank you- dear, sweet, Miss Sage.’ –
Page 137 – 138 in ‘Do It Yourself Weed Medicine’.