November 18, 2008


Sage (Salvia officinalis, Salvia grande or Garden Sage) is a perennial herb which is widely used both in cooking (in particular, to flavor various dishes with meat, omelets, soups, cheese, etc.) and in herbal medicine as an effective antiseptic and natural antibiotic. The herb received its name Salvia Officinalis from Latin Salvere – to heal, and such known ancient physicians as Hippocrates and Pedanius Dioscorides studied therapeutic properties of sage. In the Roman Empire, sage was considered to be a “sacred herb”, because it could create and save human life. A sage tea was believed to help women to conceive, as well as to be a perfect tonic for body and mind and a refreshing beverage associated with wisdom, clear thinking, being in good humor and good health.

Sage is used as an effective treatment for a great number of diseases, including various infections of liver and bladder, cholecystitis, gastritis, enteritis and enterocolitis, hemorrhoid, enuresis, hidrosis (especially in tuberculosis sufferers) and many more. Sage extracts have positive effects on our respiratory, immune and gastrointestinal systems, as well as on skin. Bitter components of sage extracts can stimulate digestive secretion, improve intestinal mobility and normalize pancreatic function. In ancient folk medicine, sage has been valued for its therapeutic properties for treating spasms, tremor and problems with spine. Also, it is supposed to be an effective disinfectant, which can be used to fumigate a sick room.

Sage extracts contain up to 2.5% volatile oil (a mixture of thujone, camphor, salvene, borenol, cineole and other constituents), as well as calcium, magnesium, phenolic acids, flavonoids, saponins, tannin, oestrogenic substances and many other useful elements and minerals. This medicinal herb is usually used as an ingredient of various natural mouthwashes and is effective when treating throat and mouth infections, abscesses, gingivitis, stomatitis and other dental problems. Besides, sage has positive effects on our immunity and can normalize our hormonal balance. Sage steams can be inhaled to relief asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis and pharyngitis, sore throat, etc. For inhalations, 1 teaspoon of sage leaves must be steeped for 10 minutes in 250 g boiling water, but if you want to use sage as an ingredient of your herbal tea, it is better to boil sage leaves for at least 3 minutes in order to get rid of volatile oils, which can be harmful for health.

Sage contains great amounts of antioxidants, therefore it has ecxellent anti-aging and rejuvenative effects. Fresh or dried sage leaves can be used for treating wounds, bee or snake bites, and other external skin problems. As an ingredient of herbal teas, sage can be effective for combating headaches, depression, nervousness and dizziness, anaemia and other similar problems. Finally, recent studies of British specialists confirmed the properties of sage to block the breakdown of acetylcholine, that helps prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. Remember that high content of thujone in sage extracts can cause toxic effects. That is why sage must not be taken in large doses, and must be avoided by pregnant women and epileptic people, as well as very carefully taken in conjunction with cretain antdepressants and central nervous system stimulants.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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