The scientific name of sage, Salvia, derives from the Latin for "to save," which underscores the herb's early reputation as a cure-all. Modern herbalists are more specific. They believe that sage contains an aromatic oil that reduces excessive perspiration and the night sweats associated with such diseases as tuberculosis. In addition, the oil, which is antiseptic, combines with another component, the astringent tannin, to relieve sore throats or gums. This savory herb, whose gray-green, oval leaves are familiar to most gardeners, has also been used to cleanse wounds, stem lactation in nursing mothers, aid digestion and preserve meat.
Taken internally for:
Used as a mouthwash or gargle for:
Applied externally for:
Over the counter:
Available as tinctures, prepared tea or dried or fresh leaves.
Infusion: 2 to 3 tsp. leaves per cup of boiling water steeped for 10 minutes, then consumed hot or cold. Used as a wash for bacterial infections in wounds.
Compress: A clean cloth soaked in the infusion and applied to insect bites.
Tincture: 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. taken three times daily with water or juice.
Mouthwash: 3 tsp. leaves added to 1 pint of water, brought to a boil, and allowed to stand covered for 15 minutes. The warm liquid used as a gargle.
Fresh: Fresh sage leaves applied to minor cuts or scrapes before washing and bandaging.