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-Andrea Candee, MS, MSC

The wise gardener who planted salvia officinalis has an abundance of sage
for valuable medicinal use.  Prepared as an infusion (1 teaspoon of the herb
steeped 15-30 minutes in a covered cup of boiled water), sage has a
multitude of applications.

Dipping a cloth into the hot tea creates a sage compress which can be
applied to the forehead to help relieve tension headaches...breathe deeply
to inhale as well as absorb sage's aromatic benefits.  A compress applied to
the diaphragm or abdominal areas can help soothe stomach cramps, flatulence
and general intestinal/digestive discomfort.  Whenever a compress is
applied, also consider sipping a cup of the sage tea (honey may be added for

Hot or herb of many talents
Known as a diaphoretic herb, hot sage tea will increase the flow of bodily
fluids (e.g. perspiration and delayed periods) and decrease the flow when
taken cold. Colds, flu, and bronchial afflictions benefit from hot sage's
ability to expectorate and increase sweating and elimination of toxins.
Cold sage tea arrests diarrhea. Drink 2-4 cups a day, hot or cold, depending
upon the desired benefit.

From the child-bearing years to menopause, sage provides valuable benefit.
Cold sage tea is used to help stop night sweats during the menopausal years
and can be used to assist in the weaning process when it is time to stem the
flow of milk in a nursing mother.  In both stages, women want those bodily
fluids to stop flowing!  Sage is to be avoided during pregnancy as it can
stimulate uterine contractions. Do not use cold sage tea while nursing so as
not to affect the flow of milk.

Rinse, Gargle, Inhale, Shampoo and Bathe!
Those sporting braces can benefit from sage's ability to astringe and heal
irritated tissue.  For inflamed gums, tongue or mouth ulcers, rinse with
cool sage tea three times a day.  As a gargle, sage's antiseptic properties
help heal a sore throat.

Aromatically, sage helps to clear the sinuses and lungs.  Place the hot sage
infusion in a glass bowl, use a towel to create a tented effect and inhale
deeply.  Strained sage tea can be used in the vaporizer and added to the
bath water.

A cool sage compress speeds the healing of cuts, wounds, herpes sores, and
varicose veins.  Poured over the hair after shampooing, sage tea is most
helpful in reducing dandruff.

Why should a man die if he has sage flourishing in his garden?
Sage was commonly used by Native Americans to clear the energy field.  The
dried leaves were rolled into cylinders and tied with string.  The smoke
from the ignited "smudge sticks" was credited with clearing negative
vibrations. Sage and cedar bundles may be found in health food stores and
wellness/gift shops.  Place the bundle in a ceramic dish and ignite.  The
branches will smolder, releasing the cleansing smoke.  This is a good way to
clear out lingering "sick germs" after cold and flu, or "bad vibes" after an
argument or unwelcome visitor!

Considering the varied medicinal uses of common garden sage, it is easy to
understand the ancient proverb: Why should a man die if he has sage
flourishing in his garden?

Next time you cook a turkey, you may want to save some of the sage you use
on the turkey for the digestive upset that's sure to follow - especially if
you wind up as stuffed as the turkey!

Copyright 2004 Andrea Candee

Andrea Candee, MH, MSC, is a master herbalist with a consultation practice
in South Salem, NY. She lectures for corporate wellness centers, spas, and
the NY Botanical Garden about taking charge of your health naturally. Her
book, Gentle Healing for Baby and Child (Simon & Schuster), was awarded The
National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval.  She may be contacted through
her website,

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