The name ‘salvia’ comes from the Latin ‘salvere’ (to save) and indicates the many curative properties of this herb, also giving rise to the well-known saying ‘why should a man die when sage grows in his garden’. The Romans used sage to increase fertility and Italian peasant custom was to eat sage to preserve health –many country people eat the leaves with bread and butter.
A cup of strong infusion should relieve a nervous headache and can be applied to the scalp to darken the hair. Fresh leaves rubbed on the teeth will cleanse and strengthen the gums and dried leaves smoked in pipes have been used as a remedy for asthma. A home remedy for sprains is to bruise a handful of leaves and boil in vinegar for 5 minutes, before applying in a folded napkin as hot as can be bourne.
Sage is good for the mouth and throat – an infusion used as a gargle is especially useful for an ulcerated throat and used as a mouthwash for bleeding gums. It is used for delirium in fevers and for nervous excitement accompanying brain and nervous diseases. It is helpful for women, taken internally for night sweats in menopause and excessive lactation, and is also used in anxiety and depression. It can be used externally for insect bites, as well as the mouth and throat problems cited above.
A pungent, bitter, cool and drying herb with many properties: stimulant, astringent, tonic, carminative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, oestrogenic.
CAUTION: Toxic in excess; Do not use if pregnant or epileptic
Leaves are picked before flowering and dried for infusions and tinctures.
Harvested May-Sept (leaves picked at midsummer considered the best).
PLEASE NOTE: These notes on the history and use of herbs have been compiled for general interest and are not intended as medical advice, for which you should consult a professional herbalist.
'A Modern Herbal' Mrs M. Grieve FRHS ed. Mrs C. F. Leyel (1973)
'The Herb Society's Complete Medicinal Herbal' Penelope Ody MNIMH (1993)
'RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses' Deni Brown (2002)