Sage Advice

As the summer winds to a close and the forecast shows cooler evening temps approaching, I realize I am running out of time to get some of our herbs harvested and dried. I neglected my beloved thyme this year, but thanks to my friend, Debbie, I have some lovely potted sage that still looks healthy. In America, we tend to only think about using sage for seasoning the Thanksgiving turkey and dressing. Turns out, sage has many medicinal uses, yet it is most often overlooked as being just a culinary seasoning.

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I have heard local folk talk about allergies coinciding with the wild sage blooming, but what they refer to is not the same as the common garden sage (salvia officinalis) that I am harvesting today. With over 750 varieties worldwide, salvias are the largest genus of plants in the mint family. Like most mints, sage is easy to grow, sun loving, and, thankfully, drought tolerant. The leaves of this hardy perennial are the key parts used medicinally.

Interestingly, the word “salvia” comes from the Latin word “salvare”, which means “to heal”. The species name “officinalis” refers to its history of medicinal use: derived from the Latin word “opificina”, which translates to “herb store” or “pharmacy”.

Internally, sage does well to regulate fluids in the body; drying up excessive sweating, reducing night sweats, even substantially decreasing breast milk flow. Hmm. That one is especially interesting. We’ve got a pregnant cow who suffers from edema around calving. Suppressing her milk output  would be a tremendous help.  √ Add that to my short list of potential homeopathic treatments for her. (Peppermint is another candidate, but I have more research to do there as well).

Sage relaxes mucous membranes, and can bring relief to an inflamed throat and tonsils. When honey and fresh-squeezed lemon is added to sage tea, it makes an excellent gargle for treating mouth diseases, laryngitis, tonsillitis and sore throat.  Adding equal parts of rosemary, peppermint, and wood betony (mint family) to sage tea is suggested as a headache remedy.

Sage is also known to be an excellent aid in the digestion of fatty foods.

Externally, sage tea is a good rinse for eliminating dandruff and stimulating hair growth. Crushed sage leaves can bring relief to insect bites.

Homemade Sage Tea

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Recipe for Sage Tea

  • 8 oz water
  • 10 fresh sage leaves

Boil water. Remove from heat. Add sage leaves; steep 3-5 minutes. Strain, pour into cup. Add honey and lemon if desired.

Join me for a cup!

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