Sage, or Salvia officinalis, is a part of the mint family Native to the Mediterranean region, the sage herb is a perennial plant that has naturalized across the globe and can grow to two feet tall. Its leaves are fuzzy with an oval shape. Different varieties range in color, from grey-green to white-ish green, to purple.
The sage herb has a variety of medicinal purposes all over the world. Its history of medicinal use is diverse and well-documented. Ancient Egyptians used the herb as a fertility drug. It is said to support digestive health, alleviating the conditions of diarrhea, bloating, loss of appetite, and heartburn. Communities in Europe and Asia brewed sage tea and used it as a tonic.
This superhero plant doesn’t stop there, though. For thousands of years, women used sage for relief from menstruation pain, over-lactation and help with hot flashes. Apply sage directly to your skin to help heal cold sores, gingivitis, and swollen nasal passages. Sage is regarded as helpful for individuals with asthma. Sage is often used in cases of depression and memory loss to positive results. There’s even a possibility that sage can help with chemical imbalances in the brain leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
As is the case when using any plant remedies, it’s a great idea to talk to your doctor to make sure using sage is a good idea. Using sage can be toxic when used in excess or over long periods of time.
Sage is also a popular ingredient for skin, hair and face cosmetic products. No, this isn’t just a trending fad on Instagram. Sage is loaded with calcium and Vitamin A, which can have anti-aging benefits. Sage acts as a toner for oily skin, cures acne and relieves the uncomfortable flare-ups associated with eczema and psoriasis.
When it comes to hair, using sage can stimulate both growth and shine. Try boiling one tablespoon of sage with a cup of water for a refreshing hair rinse. Added perk: the presence of the herb can help ward off dandruff.
Stretching back across thousands of years, sage is used for a number of spiritual practices in addition to medicinal reasons, including warding off evil, increasing women’s fertility and even snake bites.
Smudging, in particular, is a ceremonial practice found in some indigenous cultures of the Americas. While the details of the ceremonies and the symbolism involved are specific to each culture, the practice of burning herbs such as sage and creating a scented smoke is a wide-spread practice throughout the world.
Even if spiritual-based rituals aren’t really your thing, consider lighting sage in a well-ventilated room, similar to a stick of incense. Like many human beings before you, you might find the aroma to have a cleansing, mind-clearing effect.
The sage herb’s leaves are very pungent. As a result, this herb is often found in recipes and is popular with meats like poultry and sausage. Try cooking pasta with sage, butter, and parmesan. If you’re feeling adventurous, savory pumpkin sage scones might just hit the spot The woodsy, aromatic smell is especially popular to use while cooking during the autumn months.
Humans aren’t the only creatures finding a use for the sage herb and enjoying the benefits. Pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers of the sage plant, which grow in clusters of two-lipped tubes. As habitat destruction and a warming planet continue to destroy pollinator insect and bird populations, consider choosing pollinator-friendly plants such as sage to cultivate in your yard. It’s an easy and important way to make a difference.
One of the exciting parts about familiarizing yourself with sage (as well as plenty of other herbs) is that the more you learn about the plant, the more it becomes clear that the benefits and uses of the plant are interconnected. A meal cooked with medicinal herbs can taste delicious and have health benefits. Using medicinal herbs with intention and cultural understanding of spiritual practices can have powerful effects for mental health and memory. It really is all connected, and finding uses for the sage plant is the perfect way to learn and embody those interactions.
Do you have any experience with the sage plant? Share your stories in the comments below!