A plague epidemic had decimated the population, and the surviving women wanted to ensure their fertility. According to Andres de Laguna, the famous Spanish Physician of the 16th century, after taking a garden sage infusion for seven days, go to your husband, and you will indeed conceive. Coptic women filled the town with children in only a few years. Since then, the health benefits of sage have acquired notable fame as a fertility stimulant.
However, other virtues allegedly bestowed upon sage have not been proven. The scientific name of sage comes from the Latin word salvare, which means to save, since sage was believed to heal almost all diseases except death. Thanks to scientific research, we currently know its actual properties and can use it correctly.
Garden Sage Scientific Facts
- Scientific synonyms – Salvia hispanica Etling, Salvia hispanorum Lag.
- Other names – Sage.
- French – Sauge.
- Spanish – Salvia.
- Environment – It usually grows in calcareous, sunny, dry soils in all Mediterranean countries. It has been naturalized to America.
- Description – Shrub of woody base of the Labiatae family, growing from 50-80 centimeters high. It has greyish green oval-shaped leaves and bluish or violet flowers growing in spike clusters.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – The leaves.
Garden sage contains an essence (up to 2.5 percent) that is rich in thujone, which explains its antiseptic, antiperspirant, and emmenagogue properties; catechin tannins, which give the plant astringent and invigorating properties; flavonoids and phenolic acids, with antispasmodic and choleretic properties, and substances with similar properties to those of folliculin, an estrogenic hormone which is secreted by the ovaries. The applications of garden sage are the following:
- Gynecological afflictions – Due to its antispasmodic and emmenagogue properties, it stimulates and at the same time regulates menstruation, eases menstrual pains, and fights menstrual disorders. When taken the month before labor, it stimulates labor contractions and reduces them. In short, garden sage promotes hormonal balance in women’s bodies; thus, it may also promote fertility. Its use is recommended to treat vaginismus and frigidity. In the form of vaginal irrigations, it fights leukorrhea.
- Nervous system invigorating – Garden sage has a mild stimulant action on suprarenal glands. It is thus recommended for depression, asthenia, low blood pressure, shivers, vertigo, and other manifestations of autonomic nervous system imbalance.
- Sweating states – Garden sage is perhaps the plant with the most potent antiperspirant properties known. About two hours after taking it, sage reduces excessive perspiration, especially at night, for infectious diseases, tuberculosis, and certain degenerative afflictions. Sage also has febrifuge properties, which makes it an effective fever reducer.
- Diabetes – This plant offers a proven hypoglycemic action which allows a reduction of the dose of antidiabetic medicines.
- Digestive conditions – Garden sage has digestive and carminative properties and antispasmodic and antiseptic actions, which help ease vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal colic ache. Its choleretic properties (stimulates bile secretion) reduce the congestion of the liver and promote digestion.
- Mouth and pharyngeal conditions – Due to its astringent and antiseptic properties, sage renders outstanding results for gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), mouth sores, tonsilitis, and pharyngitis. When used as gargles, it calms throat itching and smoker’s cough.
- Skin conditions – In these cases, sage reduces infections and heals. It is helpful for wounds, ulcers, abscesses, furuncles, and insect bites. Baths with sage help keep the facial skin beautiful.
When taken in high doses, sage essence is toxic and produces convulsions. Therefore, it is recommended to take garden sage no longer than one month. Internal use of sage is advised against for the following cases:
- Breast-feeding (it stops it)
- Pregnancy, except during the last month (it contracts the uterus)
- States of irritability
- Nervous excitation
Two Sage Species
Prairie sage (Salvia pratensis L.) has a different composition in its essence than garden sage. However, both plants have the same medicinal applications. Another sage variety is the Clary sage (Salvia sclarea L.).
How to use Garden Sage
- Infusion with 15 to 30 grams of leaves and flower clusters per liter of water. Drink up to four cups daily. For menstrual disorders, sage is administered during the week previous to the expected menstruation date.
- Essence – The recommended dose is 2 to 4 drops three times a day.
- Compresses and lotions with a decoction prepared with 80 to 100 leaves per liter of water.
- Mouth rinsings and gargles with the decoction mentioned above.
- Vaginal irrigations with this decoction well strained one time.
- Baths – The same decoction is added to the bathwater to achieve a cosmetic effect on the skin and make it more beautiful.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 638, 639. Print.