The healing power of sage

Sage is a delicious herb that has a very full flavor and fits well in a herb mix. Anyone who tastes carefully can detect a kind of meat-like flavor in sage and perhaps not coincidentally, it has been used since ancient times to keep meat supple. When you eat it, your mind and body will remain flexible because it combats gastrointestinal cramps, increases resistance, reduces depression, combats inflammation and promotes digestion. Sage is an excellent perennial plant and certainly belongs in the herb garden. In the past, having sage in the garden was a sign of prosperity; Now it could be a sign of wisdom as sage has a high number of medicinal uses and it also tastes nice and fresh. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing sage / Source: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Naming sage
  • Sage among the antiques
  • Sage in the Middle Ages
  • Sage in Europe and North America
  • Active ingredients sage
  • Sage against excessive sweating
  • Sage against inflammation and infections
  • Sage to promote digestion
  • Sage for menstrual problems
  • Sage as a natural bioidentical hormone
  • External application of sage
  • Eating tips sage
  • Consult a herbal therapist


Naming sage

The botanical name of sage is Salvia Officinalis . Salvia comes from ‘salvare’ which means to heal. Officinalis means ‘from the apothecary’s workshop’. This addition was given to all herbs that regularly served as a basis for medicine. In Dutch, sage has various folk names such as: Real sage, Blue sage, Kitchen sage, Garden sage, French tea, Sacred tea, Selft, Selve, Salgie, Saaldje, Savia, Savie, Eelkruid, Zelve, Selvee, Heilig herb, Sacred tea, Donkey’s ears .

Sage among the antiques

In ancient Egypt, sage was used to increase the fertility of women. In addition, menstrual problems were combated with it. The ancient Greeks and ancient Romans used sage as a universal panacea or miracle cure. It has a large number of medicinal properties. Women who had difficulty getting pregnant were prescribed sage. Sage was also used for snakebites, forgetfulness and as a life-extending medicine. Dioscorides, pioneer of medicine and herbalism, recognized that sage had antiseptic, menstrual-stimulating and wound-healing properties. He prescribed it for a sore throat, canker sores, mouth ulcers, cough, fever, consumption, ulcers and to turn gray hair black again. Pliny recommended that people who had to go on a long walk put sage and mugwort in their shoes. Sage is known as an herb that keeps meat tender; apparently one’s own feet can also be softened with it. Galen and Pliny used sage for sore throats, bronchitis, worms, liver disorders, and forgetfulness. Recent scientific studies show that sage can curb the symptoms of early Alzheimer’s; There is indeed an effect of this tasty medicinal herb against forgetfulness. All the effects mentioned in the ancients are still in force today.

Sage in the Middle Ages

The Salerno school was famous in the Middle Ages for its advanced medical knowledge that was a mixture of Arabic, Jewish, Greek and Roman medical science. This medical school in Italy occupies an important place in the history of modern medicine. Salerno was called the city of Hippocrates in the 10th century, after the important Greek physician. In Salerno a special healing power was assigned to sage. “Why would a man die if he has sage in his garden?” is an important saying from Salerno about sage. Another saying from the Middle Ages is: “Whoever eats sage in May will gain years of life in abundance.” In the Middle Ages, sage was used as a medicine for coughs, colds, asthma, insect bites, nervous weakness, forgetfulness, dental problems, gum bleeding, lack of menstruation, infertility, digestive problems and flatulence. In addition, according to Rembert Dodoens, the pioneering herbal scientist from the 16th century, it sharpens the senses.

Sage in Europe and North America

Sage has not only been used for a long time in Europe; The Indians of North America also knew this herb. They mainly used the root to make an ointment for skin problems. In addition, sage was burned because it chases away evil entities from another dimension. In Europe, sage was used to repel insects and bad odors. That actually amounts to the same thing as what the Indians meant. Furthermore, sage is of course a tasty culinary herb that also stimulates digestion.

Active ingredients sage

Of sage, mainly the leaves and sometimes the flowers are used as a medicine in phytotherapy. It contains 15 types of essential oils. Furthermore, it contains many diterpene bitter substances. It also contains triterpenes, the phenolic acid rosmarinic acid and flavonoids. It contains weakly acting phytoestrogens, a type of bioidentical hormones. It also contains tannins, resin, saponins and choline.

Sage against excessive sweating

Sage is an antiperspirant. Rosmarinic acid, ketones and thuyon have a calming effect on the heat-regulating center of the body, so that people need less sweat production to cool down. Due to this medicinal property, it is used by herbalists for the following indications:

  • Excessive perspiration, clammy hands, sweaty feet,
  • Excessive (night) sweating as a menopausal complaint,
  • Excessive sweating due to overactive thyroid gland,
  • Nervous sweating, excessive sweating due to psychosomatic causes,
  • Excessive night sweats, sweating in chronic viral infections, TB,
  • Febrile illnesses.


You can drink two cups of sage tea per day to combat excessive sweating.


Sage against inflammation and infections

Sage has an astringent and anti-inflammatory effect. Ketones and tannins in sage have a restorative effect on inflammation of mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, throat and intestines. Sage also has an antiseptic effect; it inhibits infections by bacteria, viruses and to a slightly lesser extent fungi. Oxides in sage provide expectorant properties. Due to these medicinal effects, a herbal therapist may decide to use sage for the following indications:

  • Prevention of flu, colds, bronchitis,
  • Oral mucosal inflammation, canker sores,
  • Loose teeth, gingivitis, bleeding gums,
  • Sore throat, tonsillitis, laryngeal inflammation,
  • Gastrointestinal mucosal inflammation,
  • Stomach inflammation, diarrhea, esophagitis.


Sage to promote digestion

Sage is a stomach strengthening herb. It promotes digestion, has a bile-forming effect due to the bitter substances it contains, is a carminative and prevents cramps in the stomach and intestines. The sphincter of Oddi is a sphincter that regulates the supply of pancreatic, hepatic and bile juices. These fluids ensure good digestion. Sage can relieve cramps in the sphincter of Oddi so that digestion can take place properly. Camphor, bornyl acetate and thuyon are responsible for the antispasmodic effect. These medicinal properties are the main reasons why herbalists prescribe sage for:

The green-purple sage leaf / Source: Kurt Stüber, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Anorexia, Indigestion, Dyspepsia,
  • hepatic insufficiency,
  • Flatulence, belching, abdominal distension,
  • Intestinal fermentations, cramps and colic of the stomach and intestines,
  • Diarrhea in babies.


Sage for menstrual problems

The antispasmodic effect of sage can be used for menstrual problems in addition to the stomach and intestines. This is why sage is said to be a menstrual promoting herb. In addition, the uterus is stimulated in its labor during pregnancy. As a result, the herbal therapist may decide to use sage for:

  • The absence of menstruation,
  • Failure to give birth
  • Hormonal imbalance, irregular bleeding, irregular menstrual cycle,
  • Difficult delivery.


Sage as a natural bioidentical hormone

Phytoestrogens regulate the hormonal balance of women. Sage can neutralize an excess of phytoestrogens and supplement a deficiency of these hormones. It is also an aphrodisiac that is especially suitable for women. These medicinal effects are the reason for a herbal therapist to prescribe it for:

  • Menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, excessive sweating and vaginal dryness,
  • Lack of libido in the woman,
  • Infertility in women,
  • Recovery after abortion, miscarriage.


You can chew sage or use a mouthwash to combat bad breath.


External application of sage

The antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal effects of sage, which are mainly due to essential oils with ketones, can be used to treat all kinds of external conditions. Sebum secretion is inhibited, which reduces the risk of acne and other skin rashes. Because sage smells nice and kills bacteria, it is good for fresh breath. Below are some external applications, arranged by processing method:

Mouthwash, mouthwash, gargle, lozenges:

  • Oral mucosal inflammation, canker sores, mouth ulcers,
  • Gingivitis, bleeding gums, loose teeth,
  • Sore throat, tonsillitis, laryngeal inflammation, hoarseness.

Rinses, sitz bath:

  • white tide,
  • Vaginal inflammation.


  • Small wounds, poorly healing wounds, ulcers,
  • insect bites,
  • Oily skin, eczema, acne.


Eating tips sage

You can add sage to the cooking water of potatoes or vegetables. Sage has a strong taste, so don’t use too much. It is a good herb to mix with other herbs. Sage in a tomato sauce or over tomato slices in a salad neutralizes the sour taste of tomatoes. You can shred sage and add it to cookie batter to give them an extra dimension of flavor. You can make a dressing by steeping sage in vinegar or oil; that gives a spicy taste effect.

Consult a herbal therapist

Anyone who wants to use sage as a medicinal remedy is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Sage extracts and medicines in the form of mother tinctures, powders, nebulisate, liquid extract, ointment, cream and capsules should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about any side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.