sage large Sage

Sage | salvia officinalis

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include sage, common sage, salvia, garden sage, red sage. The name 'salvia' comes from a similar Latin word meaning to be well or to save.
Common sage is a woody shrub like perennial plant that is native to the warmer areas of Europe but is perfectly at home here in the UK. It grows up to around 70cm high, has thick grey/white leaves, often with a steely blue tinge and produces purple or blue flowers on tall spikes in the summer.
It prefers a sunny well drained spot but will tolerate most conditions except wet poor draining ground and full shade.


Organic sage dried herb and tincture is available to buy in our herbal shop.


harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

Sage is very easy to grow in the UK, either in a good sunny position in the ground or in a pot. The leaves are most commonly used but the whole above ground portion of the plant can also be harvested. Harvest the leafy tops, soft green stalks and all, before flowers appear and bunch together loosely before hanging somewhere warm to dry.
Harvesting the leafy tops has the benefit of encouraging thicker new growth later into the growing season.
Organic sage dried herb and tincture is available to buy in our herbal shop.


therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Sage has been used as a medicine for centuries, so popular in many healing traditions that it has several sayings and poems about it such as 'why should a man die while sage grows in his garden?'. This strongly antioxidant and tonifying herb is one that we can all benefit from having in the garden, window sill or kitchen cupboard.

Its warming, aromatic and slightly pungent nature gives it the characteristics of astringency where it tightens and tones tissues, it is also a digestive bitter and calminative, stimulant blood mover and fluid secretion regulator. It contains substances that are antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal.

I first got to know sage as the go-to herb for anything relating to the throat and upper respiratory passages. It is a classic herb for any sore throat, laryngitis, pharyngitis, swollen glands, tonsillitis and quinsy. Use it as a tea and gargle. It is also considered a good all round lung strengthener, improving respiration and for coughs and whooping cough.

Colds, flu and similar infections can be helped as well as. It can also ease sinus infection and act as a decongestant when taken as a tea and/or by steam inhalation. Inhale the aroma of your tea deeply whilst drinking or put 2 teaspoons of dried leaves in a bowl with boiling water, cover the head with a towel and breathe in the aromatic fumes.

Its astringent and antimicrobial qualities make sage a great mouthwash against dental bacteria, toothache, gums (bleeding or spongy and receding), gingivitis and delicate, inflammed or damaged mouth membranes and mouth ulcers. You can use strong tea as a gargle or powder the dried leaves and use as a tooth powder to brush over the gum line.

It has been noted as having a relaxing effect and improves the mood, helping ease stress and tension, depression and even easing neuropathic or nerve pain.

In a way similar to Rosemary, sage can help improve cognitive abilities and enhance memory. It has been shown to  both prevent and reduce symptoms in mild to moderate Alzheimers (link here) and has strong protective actions against a host of neuro-degenerative diseases and disorders including Parkinsons disease (link to PDF).

Sage has the ability to balance fluid and mucous secretions throughout the body. When the tea is taken hot it will encourage perspiration and help to lower fevers.

When the tea is allowed to cool a little or is taken as a cold infusion it can have the opposite effect and act as an anti-perspirant preventing excessive sweating where it also acts as a deoderant. 

It will also be useful to reduce vaginal discharge in yeast infections for example, stem bleeding from wounds and dry up mucous secretions in runny catarrhal conditions, reduce saliva secretions (useful in Parkinsons disease) and slow the fluid loss from diarrhoea.

The tea is a well known remedy to safely dry up milk supplies when weaning or when milk production needs to be stopped for other reasons. Sage lowers prolactin levels (why it stops milk supply) and is a rare ally in hyperprolactinaemia in both male and female which can result from tumours of the pituitary gland. Male infertility can be improved if high prolactin levels are noted.

This ability to stop sweating and cool the body makes it a popular herb in menopausal hot flushes and night sweats. It can also aid in night sweats associated with tuberculosis.

It has other uses in menopause and menstruation too due to its phytoestrogenic content. It can be used to correct menstrual irregularities, ease PMS symptoms and prevent excessive menstrual bleeding.

Christopher Hedley states that sage is "very helpful at cleaning up and getting hormones back to normal following abortion or miscarriage".

Encourages free flowing blood circulation so can be used for cold extremities, raynauds disease, anyone with a tendecy towards blood clots or thrombosis. Salvias in general will greatly enhance microcirculation of the blood - that is blood flow through capillaries that are so tiny that only single blood cells can pass through their diameter. Encouraging good blood microcirculation is an important step in enabling vital health in all organs and tissues and is one reason that sage is a useful tea for anyone with angina or at risk of heart attack. Sage tea can be taken to tighten and tone varicose veins and to help heal varicose ulcers.

Sage leaves contain aromatic bitter compounds so will help with all aspects of digestion especially of fatty foods and meats or feelings of stagnation in the tummy. It promotes secretion of digestive juices such as bile and pancreatic juices, improves intestinal motility (peristaltic movements) and is helpful for flatulence, bloating and cramping pains or spasms. It also has a gastro-protective action, helping protect the stomach against ulcer formation and is also protective to the liver.

Sage washes can be effective in healing skin ulcers, wounds, inflammations and erythema.

Sage improves sensitivity to insulin so can be used in the treatment of hyperglycaemia, diabetes and insulin resistance. It may also be useful in preventing and treating obesity.

Helps to prevent and slow colon cancer (chemopreventative) and is cytotoxic to cancer cells (link to one research paper here).

Strong sage tea (2 teaspoons dried herb per cup) can be used as a wash and massaged into the scalp to help clear dandruff and promote healthy hair growth.

Cold sage tea also acts on the kidneys and promotes the flow of urine, can also ease cystitis and other urinary system infections.

Link to a scientific article on some of the important medicinal applications of sage.

Two webpages with great all round info on the many medical applications of sage can be found here and here.


dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

* Generally considered a safe herb but not to be taken at medicinal dose for longer than a week or so. For longer term use at a much lower dose as part of a formula in tea or tincture form, or as an occasional culinary herb. Do not take continuously on a daily basis at full medicinal dose for more than 2 weeks in any month.

* Avoid in pregnancy and breastfeeding (unless you want to wean or dry up your milk supply).

* Avoid with epilepsy.

* Avoid with high blood pressure.

* Avoid with blood thinning medications.

* Use with caution in males and females going through puberty due to its hormonal effects.

* Use with caution in diabetes or hypoglycaemia due to its blood sugar lowering effects.



Dried herb: 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of dried herb and add boiling water. Infuse for 20 minutes and drink in 2-3 doses throughout the day, top up each cupful with hot water if required. Use cold infusions to dry up secretions such as milk, sweat, mucous etc. and hot infusions to promote them. Cold infusions are prepared by adding cold water to the dried herb and standing overnight. Strain off and drink throughout the following day. Sage tea can be quite drying so if you are of a dry constitution, add some moistening herbs such as marshmallow leaf/root or violet leaf for example. Add dried sage leaves to a warm bath to soothe nervous and muscular tension.

Tincture: 0.25ml -3 ml up to 3 times daily.



Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.

Child watering plants




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