Sage is one of the beautiful plants growing in our garden. Most people know it as a tasty culinary herb, frequently used to compliment meat dishes, and the primary flavouring in turkey stuffing. Sage is a carminative, which means it has properties which help us to digest heavy or fatty foods. But sage is so much more.
Sage is a plant which can regulate fluid loss. It was traditionally used by nursing mothers who wanted to wean their babies as it will dry up their milk. This drying property is also helpful in formulas for colds or diarrhea. It will help dry up mucus membranes, stopping runny discharges. On the other hand, sage is also given to people who have dry withered skin, or dry, brittle tendons because it can help bring fluids to these tissues restoring youthful function.
Sage is anti-inflammatory, and has a particular affinity for the mouth and throat. So, it is used to treat swollen gums, sore throat, and tonsillitis. Sage has antimicrobial properties, which is again useful in treating colds, and infections in the mouth and throat.
The drying properties of sage can be helpful with sweating, including sweating from fever, nervous sweating, night sweats or sweating with hot flashes.
In Chinese medicine, the roots of the sage plant are used instead of the leaves. In this tradition, one of the common causes of pain is “stagnant blood”. Sage root can be used to move the blood, thereby resolving some types of pain. This blood moving property can also be used, where appropriate, to gently dissolve blood clots. The blood moving property makes it useful for uterine pain. It will get a stalled period going, resolving menstrual cramps, but, for the same reason, should not be used in pregnancy, as it can over stimulate the uterus. Sage is commonly used in formulas for menopause as it both dries up night sweats, and helps regulate hormones, easing the transition to menopause.
Sage was used in the middle ages as an elixir of life. It was thought to improve the memory, keep hair from turning grey, lighten a heavy mood, and aid in longevity.
Sage is easy to grow, has beautiful leaves, tastes delicious, and has a huge range of medicinal actions. It truly is one of the unsung heroes of the herbal garden.
Written by Dr. Loreen Dawson, ND