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Sage

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  • Botanical: Salvia officinalis
  • Family: Lamiaceae
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Sage

Botanical

Salvia officinalis

Family

Lamiaceae

Known as

Sage, Altweiberschmecken, Edelsalbei, Echter Salbei, Garten-Salbei, Gschmackblatteln, Königssalbei, Kreuzsalbei, Muskatellerkraut, Sälvel, Salf, Salfat, Salser, Scharleikraut, Selve, Zaffe, Zuffen, Zupfblatteln

Old Use

culinary; medicinal

Collection Times

June to August

Parts Used

herb, leaves

Aroma

herbaceius, sharp, spicy

Medicinal

anorexia, bad breath, bleeding, colds, constipation, coughs, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, eczema, flatulence, gingivitis, gum bleeding, gout, hair loss, hot flashes, indigestion, insect bites, menstrual problems, menopausal symptom, stomach pain, sore throat, skin rashes, sweaty feet, wounds, hoarseness, shingles

Heart & Circulation

bleeding

Hormone & Sexual Organs

hot flashes, night sweats, menstrual problems, menopausal symptom

Infection & Inflammation

gingivitis, gum bleeding

Muscle & Joints

gout

Mind & Nerves

depression, loss of appetite, memory, neurasthenia, obesity

Respiratory System

bronchitis, catarrh, colds, cough, hoarseness, pharyngitis, pertussis, sore throat, tonsillitis

Stomach & Intestinal

bad breath, bile weakness, constipation, diabetes, diarrhea, flatulence, indigestion, stomach pain, stomatitis

Skin & Hair

eczema, erysipelas, hair loss, insect bites, perspiration (sweating), shingles, skin rashes, sweaty feet, wounds

Properties

antibacterial, antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, astringent, diuretic

Note

top

Extraction

steam distillation

Description

Cultivars are quite variable in size, leaf and flower color, and foliage pattern, with many variegated leaf types. The Old World type grows to approximately 2 ft (0.61 m) tall and wide, with lavender flowers most common, though they can also be white, pink, or purple. The plant flowers in late spring or summer. The leaves are oblong, ranging in size up to 2.5 in (6.4 cm) long by 1 in (2.5 cm) wide.

Leaves are grey-green, rugose on the upper side, and nearly white underneath due to the many short soft hairs. Modern cultivars include leaves with purple, rose, cream, and yellow in many variegated combinations

Properties & Uses

Sage has a very long history of effective medicinal use and is an important domestic herbal remedy for disorders of the digestive system. Its antiseptic qualities make it an effective gargle for the mouth where it can heal sore throats, ulcers etc The leaves applied to an aching tooth will often relieve the pain.

The whole herb is antihydrotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, galactofuge, stimulant, tonic and vasodilator. Sage is also used internally in the treatment of excessive lactation, night sweats, excessive salivation (as in Parkinson's disease), profuse perspiration (as in TB), anxiety, depression, female sterility and menopausal problems. Many herbalists believe that the purple-leafed forms of this species are more potent medicinally.

This remedy should not be prescribed to pregnant women or to people who have epileptic fits. The plant is toxic in excess or when taken for extended periods - though the toxic dose is very large. Externally, it is used to treat insect bites, skin, throat, mouth and gum infections and vaginal discharge. The leaves are best harvested before the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use.

The essential oil from the plant is used in small doses to remove heavy collections of mucous from the respiratory organs and mixed in embrocations for treating rheumatism. In larger doses, however, it can cause epileptic fits, giddiness etc. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Tonic'. 

Other Uses

The leaves make excellent tooth cleaners, simply rub the top side of the leaf over the teeth and gums. The purple-leafed form of sage has tougher leaves and is better for cleaning the teeth. The leaves have antiseptic properties and can heal diseased gums.

An essential oil from the leaves is used in perfumery, hair shampoos (it is good for dark hair) and as a food flavouring. It is a very effective 'fixer' in perfumes, and is also used to flavour toothpastes and is added to bio-activating cosmetics. The plant (the flowers?) is an alternative ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator.

This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. The growing or dried plant is said to repel insects, it is especially useful when grown amongst cabbages and carrots. It was formerly used as a strewing herb and has been burnt in rooms to fumigate them.

A good dense ground cover plant for sunny positions, though it needs weeding for the first year or two. They are best spaced about 60cm apart each way.

Cautions

he plant can be toxic when used in excess or when taken for extended periods symptoms include: restlessness, vomiting, vertigo, tremors, seizures. Contraindicated during pregnancy. Avoid if predisposed to convulsions 

Distribution

The genus is distributed throughout the Old World and the Americas, with three distinct regions of diversity: Central and South America (approx. 500 species); Central Asia and Mediterranean (250 species); Eastern Asia (90 species).

Constituents

essential oil, d-camphor, Salviol, volleys, betulinic acid, asparagine, bitter, borneol, carnosic acid, Zineol, flavonoids, fumaric acid, tannin, tannic acid, resin, Ledol, limonene, menthol, estrogen-like substances, oleanolic acid, pinene, sabinol, salicylic acid, saponins, terpineol, thujone, thymol, zinc, vitamins,