Medicinal Uses of Sage

Sage has been used throughout the centuries; In 1652, herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote that sage “is of excellent use to help memory, warming, and quickening the senses” (Cook, 2016). Today, the rosmaric acid in Salvia lavendulifolia oil is used to treat brain and Alzheimer’s disease by breaking down the essential neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is responsible for mood regulation, brain-muscle coordination, and the formation of new memory. This enzyme also is less apparent in Alzheimer patients. The German Ministry of Health is currently considering adding Salvia lavendulifolia to its Commission E Monographs, as it’s seen to be the most effective species against Alzheimer’s disease. It has the potential of improving immediate and delayed word recollection, mood, and awareness. Higher doses of sage can calm and strengthen nerves.

Sage (Salvia officinalis and Salvia lavendulifolia) is a cooling diaphoretic and can reduce sweating by almost 50 percent. It can be used to treat excessive sweating and can be used as a deodorant. It has weak estrogenic properties, making it helpful for treating night sweats caused by menopause and hot flashes (Johnson, 2010). Sage can also bring hormonal balance to menstruating and nursing women by decreasing excessive menstruation and lactation. Massaging or inhaling diluted sage essential oil is the most direct protocol for affecting hormones, but sage tea or a tincture are helpful too.

Salvia officinalis can be eaten to aid digestion of fatty meats; Its bitters stimulate enzymes, which lowers cholesterol. It relieves intestinal cramping, dyspepsia, and treats minor GI infections due to its antibacterial property. Its antiseptic capabilities cleanses, tones, and purifies the liver. This can bring relief to symptoms associated with a sluggish liver i.e. headaches, fatigue, and lowered immunity with its vitamin C (Zak, 1999).

Sage has high nutritional and antioxidant content. It contains vitamin K, calcium, and potassium, which are essential for bone health, circulation, and proper blood clotting; A deficiency in vitamin K can cause bone thinning and fractures. Its vitamin A contributes to eye health. Sage contains rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant that can lower blood sugar, and it also contains apigenin, an antioxidant that gives sage its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties, and can treat hypertension.

Sage’s anti-inflammatory properties bring relief to mouth/ nose inflammation. Sage also has astringent, antiseptic, and expectorant properties. It can be gargled, as a tea or as a spray, to alleviate sore throats and laryngitis, treat sore gums, and gargled to treat coughs and colds. It can kill the Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which can cause dental cavities (Shoemaker, 2019). Sage is a member of the mint family. It’s warming, aromatic (from its thujone), camphor/ menthol-like, and is slightly bitter. Externally, it can be used to treat canker sores, ear infections, and fungal conditions. Burning sage may purify the air too. Sage is a strengthening herb, making it excellent for rebuilding vitality and strength during long- term illness (Gladstar, 2001). Salvia derives from the Latin word salvus, which means “to be saved” and salvere, meaning “to be well/ healed.”

Its antioxidants, such as apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin, protect tissues and cells from being damaged by free radicals. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry say that sage has potential of protecting DNA from damage and may stimulate DNA repair in already-damaged cells (Cook, 2016), and can help treat chronic diseases like certain cancers i.e. thyroid cancer (carnosol, camphor, and rosmarinic acid) and lung cancer (flavonoids), type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

One of the sage’s key compounds, camphor, was found to promote healthy skin-cell growth, slow signs of aging, and decrease wrinkle formation (Shoemaker, 2019).

The thujone in sage is a constituent that’s also in wormwood Artemisia absinthium. It’s important to take sage in small dosages, especially in its essential oil form, because it can cause seizures as well as heart problems, vomiting, and kidney damage. It’s recommended to avoid during nursing because it can dry up breast milk.


Brown, K., et. al. (1999). Herbal Teas, 101 Nourishing Blends for Daily Health & Vitality. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing

Cook, M., S. (2016). Be Your Own Herbalist, Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking. Novato, CA: New World Library.

Gladstar, R. (2001). Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal, A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health, and Vitality. North Adams, MA: Storey Books.

Johnson, R., L., et. al. (2010). Guide to Medicinal Herbs, The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society.

Numac, K. (n.d.). The Health Benefits of Sage. Retrieved from

Raman, R. (2018, December 14). 12 Health Benefits and Uses of Sage. Retrieved from

Shoemaker, S. (2019, November 19). 9 Emerging Benefits and Uses of Sage Tea. Retrieved from

Zak, V. (1999). 20,000 Secrets of Tea, The Most Effective Ways to Benefit Nature’s Healing

Herbs. New York, NY: Dell Publishing.


Contact Me

For any questions you have, you can reach me here:

Adrienne Lea, Certified Tarot Reader, Herbalist

Salem, Massachusetts

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