Sage the Savior Herb

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Sage or Salvia officinalis is a strong aromatic, perennial plant, native to the northern shores of the Mediterranean region. Sage plant is cultivated commercially in the USA, Eastern Europe, and Asia. Sage plant is a strong stimulant, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, memory boosting, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Nowadays, sage plant is used as an ornamental garden plant and helps keep away those deer from your garden and keeps away moths from your woolens. Adds flavor while helping you digest those difficult fats and proteins like sausages, pork liver, cheese etc. Add a little Sage to make your cheeses more spicy. 



What is the classification of the Sage Plant?

The scientific classification of sage plant is expressed as:

  • Scientific name: Salvia officinalis
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Lamiales
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Genus: Salvia

Other varieties of Sage are : Bergarten Sage, Golden Sage, Tricolor Sage, Purple Sage.



What are the characteristics of Sage plant?

What kind of plant:  An Evergreen shrub. Woody and a hardy perennial plant.

How tall: It reaches a maximum height of 2-3 ft.

Branches: The stems are hairy and woody and bear opposite pairs of grey leaves. The glossy leaves have distinct network of veins on both sides. The aromatic leaves are used in cooking to add flavor to chicken and turkey dishes.

Flowers: During summer months, sage plant has attractive purple flowers, which attracts the wild bees. Sage honey has a very distinct, nice aroma but is quite expensive. 



How was the Sage Plant used historically?

Ancient Romans and Egyptians used Sage plant to increase women's fertility, darken the grey hair, treat snake bites, and wade off evil spirit. Theophrastus, Greek philosopher and horticulturist, recommended use of Salvia as a diuretic, styptic and local anesthetic for the skin. In the early Middle Ages, Charlemagne (King of the Franks, 768–814) started commercial cultivation of the sage plant in monastery gardens. In medieval period, Sage was often called "Salvia salvatrix" meaning “sage, the savior”, as it was one of the key ingredients of Four Thieves Vinegar used to ward off the plague. Dioscorides, Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist recommended sage as a tonic, emmenagogue, and hemostatic. During the middle ages, there was a popular Latin saying "Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto?" meaning “'why should a man die while sage grows in his garden."



What are the health benefits of Sage Plant?

  • Healing Skin: Concentrated concoctions are used to heal skin ulcers and lacerations. It can be safely used for dandruff removal. Sage plant extract (cold) is effective in relieving tension headache, flatulence, and intestinal cramps. Hot compress is found to be useful in insect bites and swellings. Sage oil is recommended for relieving joints pains.
  • Strengthen gums: In rural India, tender branches and fresh leaves of sage plant are used as tooth brush. It helps to strengthen the gums and clean the oral cavity and teeth. Many popular herbal toothpowders contain this herb. Sage infusion (tea) is used as gargling solution to relieve sore throat, mouth ulcers. The astringent property of sage plant controls excessive salivation from mouth.
  • Helpes your nerves: Sage tea acts as a tonic for frayed nerves. It helps to ease hyper-stimulated nerves. Sage herb stimulates the secretion of neurochemicals, responsible for preventing Alzheimer's disease.
  • Aids in Digestion: As a condiment, sage leaves revive appetite loss, encountered during dyspepsia, typhoid fever, liver disorders, and hematemesis.
  • Relief with musculoskeletal pains: Sage Herb is often used as a nervine in arthritic pains, paralytic disorders, and joint pains.
  • Breathing problems: This herb is effective in curing hemoptysis or lungs hemorrhage. It is found to useful in cough, throat infection, cold, and laryngitis. Dried leaves can be smoked to relieve asthma. Sage oil has mucolytic and expectorant properties. 1-3 drops of sage oil can be inhaled to get rid of excess mucus accumulated in the respiratory tract. Sage plant is highly beneficial in sinusitis. Strained sage tea can be used in vaporizer for inhalation. Sage herb has been proved to be effective in combating tuberculosis, measles, quinsy and cold sweats.
  • Hormonal : Sage plant is used as an emmenagogue. Ingestion of hot infusion facilitates menstrual bleeding. Due to presence of estrogenic biochemicals, cold tea helps to stop night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, headaches, and palpitations encountered during the menopausal period. 
  • Infections: Sage Herb is prescribed for eliminating renal calculi. 
  • Odor Removal: Next time you make fish burn some sage leaves to get rid of those persistent fish odors that linger on even after 2 days past you cooking the fish.



What makes Sage herb a medicine?

Phytochemicals and essential oils gives this herb its healing properties. Some of the active compounds are thujone, monoterpenes,  rosmanol, flavonoids, tannins , cornsole, ursonic acid, oleic acid, caffeic acid, monoterpenes, cornsolic acid, ursolic acid, fumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, niacin, flavones, nicotinamide, estrogens and essential oils such as borneol, cineole, and thujone.



What are the side-effects of Sage Plant?

One should avoid sage herb during pregnancy as it contains high amounts of thujone (abortifacient). Lactating women should not consume cold tea as it can interfere with milk secretion. However, it can be safely used during the postpartum period. It helps to discharge lochia (postnatal bleeding). Individuals suffering from hypertension and epilepsy must avoid this herb.

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