sage - Salvia officinalis
garden sage

Botanical: Salvia officinalis

Family: Lamiaceae

energetics: warming, drying, astringent

parts used: leaf

actions: antioxidant, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, anti-catarrhal, anhidrotic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, dries up mucus, emmenagogue, estrogenic, hemostatic, reduces sweating, rich in essential oils, respiratory relaxant

used for: mouth and gum issues, acne or oily skin, respiratory issues, coughs, edema, some types of fevers (hot, moist), regulating menstrual cycle and menopause health, sinusitis & stuffy or runny nose, sore throats, helping with memory and focus, drying and reducing the sweatiness of hot flashes and night sweats.

Salvia and “sage” are derived from the Latin salvere (to save), referring to the healing properties long attributed to the various Salvia species. Garden sage is a member of the healing Salvias genus, which includes white sage (Salvia apiana) and Red Root Sage/Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza).

Sage contains anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties along with an array of minerals and nutrients including amino acids, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, folate, calcium, and many more. The herb also contains a variety of vitamins including vitamins A, Thiamin (B1), pyridoxine (B6), C, E, and K. [1]

Cosmetic Uses for Sage

Toner for Oily Skin:

This herb enefits as a great toner by regulating sebum production in oily complexion. You can prepare a home-made toner by boiling a spoonful of sage in a cup of water. Steep for 30 minutes and strain it. Dab it on your face after cooling.

Treatment of Skin Problems:

The antibacterial properties of this amazing herb prevent the occurrence of skin infections. It also possesses antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which help cure acne as well as relieve the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.

Treatment of Hair Loss:

Sage has been used since ancient times to combat hair loss and baldness. It contains beta-sitosterol, a 5-alpha reductase compound which has been found to be effective in treating male pattern baldness. It is advisable to mix 3 to 4 drops of sage essential oil with equal amounts of rosemary and peppermint essential oils and dilute in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Massage your scalp with it twice a day.

Hair Rinse for Shiny Hair:

A strong tea can be used as a hair rinse to impart shine and luster to your hair. You can prepare it by boiling 1 tablespoon of dried sage leaves in a cup of water. This tea also assists in warding off dandruff.

Stimulates Hair Growth:

A combination of sage and rosemary is excellent for making your hair thicker, shinier and stronger. Sage is particularly effective in encouraging new hair growth as it improves circulation to the scalp, providing more nutrition to the hair follicles. A sage – rosemary hair rinse can be prepared by boiling the two herbs in water. This herbal rinse can improve the quality of your hair and can revitalize dry and thinning hair. This can be used daily for one week or once or twice a week to maintain hair shine and thickness. Being an astringent, it reduces dandruff and prevents clogged hair follicles too.

Darkens Hair:

It can be used to darken and intensify hair color. All you need to do is use it as a final rinse after shampooing. An infusion of fresh sage leaves can darken grey hair as well as deepen the color of brown or black hair and impart shine to it.

Culinary Uses

Sage was very popular among the ancient Greek and Romans, who as well as using it as a meat preservative. It has a strong, woody flavor and is particularly popular served with poultry, pork and other meat dishes.

It is not only ideal for flavoring meat or poultry dishes, it also goes well with cheese, apples and tomatoes.

  • Use to make your own homemade stuffing mixed with onion.
  • Use to flavor homemade vegetable soups.
  • Add to your homemade sausage mix or sausage stew.
  • Add some chopped leaves to macaroni cheese or other cheese dishes.
  • Sprinkle chopped leaves or dried herb onto toasted rustic or French bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.
  • Add to a fresh tomato and cheese salad.
  • Use to season and flavor any type of tomato sauce for pasta.
  • Add a small amount of fresh sage to a cheese omelette or frittata.
  • Sprinkle freshly cut leaves onto your pizza.
  • Use to flavor roast chicken or fish.
  • Fry leaves in butter to make a delicious sauce for pasta.
  • Use in your own homemade pâté recipe.
  • Add some chopped sage to your bread recipe.
  • Rub sage and garlic into pork chops before grilling.

Roast Sage Leaves

Sage leaves are extremely flavorful when they are roasted, and roasting them to use in recipes, mixes and spice combinations is a great way to add flavor to so many snacks and dishes. If you like roasting peanuts, roasting sage leaves right along with the nuts is an easy way to give the nuts an earthy flavor that will leave you looking for more roasting combinations to try.

Using Sage for Wellness

Herbalists use this herb’s drying and warming properties to bring comfort to irritated and sore mouths and throats, especially in conditions where fluid and mucus are excessive. In general, sage is valuable for drying and normalizing the fluids in the body, such as mucous in the digestive tract, drying up mother’s milk, reducing conditions involving sweating (night sweats).

Mouth Care

This herb is a very long-time remedy for issues having to do with the mouth, including inflammation, ulcers, and swelling of the tonsils and sore throat. It is also good for laryngitis.

It is a great tightener and toner of the tissues in the mouth, including the gums. Try adding a little powdered to your homemade tooth powders!

Sage Sore Throat Spray
This is a great spray to have ready to go, or at least have the ingredients for handy in case of a sore throat. I have used this many times. One of the things I like about Sage the most? It WORKS. To use this spray, keep it in the refrigerator after you have made it, because when it is cold it will go along way toward soothing a hurting, hot throat.

**Inspired by Rosemary Gladstar

  • 3-4 tbsp of dried sage leaves
  • 80 proof alcohol – rum or vodka work well
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • Water

To Prepare:
Make a strong tea by steeping this herb in a cup of just boiled water for 30 to 45 minutes. You want a strong tea. Strain the herb out and combine 1/2 to 3/4 cup or so with the 1/4 cup liquor and the honey. Stir until the honey is completely dissolved.

Pour into a bottle with a sprayer. An 8 ounce bottle should hold it.

Spray as often as you like on your sore throat! Remember to keep in the fridge for extra anti-inflammation.

Sage for First Aid

Sage tea is super for using in a compress for surface wounds or cleaning out wounds, due to its antiseptic and antimicrobial actions. It is one of the herbs I use when I make an antibacterial ointment.

Cold and Flu Care/Respiratory System

Because of sage’s anti-microbial properties, it’s a nice addition to herbal preparations for cold and flu…especially with catarrh. It may also be helpful for asthma conditions brought on by allergies.

Sage as a Digestive Aid

As a helper for gas, bloating, and other digestive concerns, sage can be quite helpful. It is exceptional for helping the body digest heavy, fatty meals. This is probably one of the reasons it has been used for millennia to spice heavy meats!

It helps lower and regulate cholesterol levels and is a nice tonic for the liver because of its bitter qualities. [2, 3]

Because it is so drying, it is helpful for all the mucous that can end up in the stomach with post-nasal drip caused by a cold or flu as well.

Use Sage to Combat Stress

Sage is helpful used in combination with other mints including lemon balm for calming and soothing.

For Women’s Issues:

This herb happens to be a mild stimulant for certain hormones in both women and men. However, primarily for women, sage is extremely helpful for peri-menopause and menopausal complaints. It may also be helpful for a certain vaginal infection called leukorrhea. [2]

Health of the Brain/Cognition

Sage supports the brain! Acetylcholine is a necessary chemical found in our brains that support our memory as well as our ability to think clearly. Sage can possibly affect and improve the breaking down of acetylcholine (which may cause gradual memory loss).

In one randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind study, researchers showed that an extract of sage improves memory and attention in healthy older volunteers.” It may also help improve the cognitive function in younger people as well. [1]

Inflammatory Skin Conditions and Acne

This herb’s extract applied topically, has a similar effect to that of hydrocortisone and could be useful for treating inflammatory skin conditions. [2]

Seriously, after having used sage in salves as well as skin toners, I have personally experienced how toning it is for the skin. It may even be useful for helping with varicose veins by spraying with a topical solution of sage infused in witch hazel (both of which are very astringent). (de la Foret)

Why should a man die if sage grows in his garden?”
~ Medieval Medical Manuscript

Interestingly, Salvia officinalis extract was shown in one double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled clinical trial to produce significantly better outcomes in cognitive function when compared with placebo in studies on Alzheimer’s patients. Another study showed that one of it’s active ingredients, rosmarinic acid, provided neuro-protective effects.


  • Only use for culinary purposes in pregnancy, lactating women should not use sage, due to its effects on the hormone system and the fact that it is one of the most powerful and useful herbs for drying up mother’s milk.

“He that would live for aye, must eat Sage in May.”
~ English Proverb

Video! Learn about the medicinal uses of sage – it’s not just for cooking! Taught by herbalists David Hoffmann, Matthew Wood and Mary Bove.

garden sage -


The Ready Store
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson