Sage is flowering now in Seattle. This particular sage is a culinary sage, grows well in Seattle, and can also be used as medicine. Leaves of sage make a dilute tea that can be used to help your sore throat, flu and sinus conditions. Native peoples of Central America have been using sage to treat respiratory disease for hundreds of years. Sage has drying energetics and can reduce respiratory secretions, making it an excellent choice for colds and flu. It is also has antibacterial effects against strep and staph infections further enhancing its effectiveness. Tea should be diluted: one teaspoon of tea per cup of water. Always prepare covered and never boil sage tea. Sage should not be taken during pregnancy.
The unique nature of sage plant medicine makes the first sip of tea taste nice, especially when there is sore throat. Subsequent sips however become progressively less palatable. Because of this, sage tea should be taken slowly – about one sip every 20-30 minutes. In this way, both the medicinal benefit and its taste are maximized. Sage tea can be gargled in the case of sore throat.
Sage should not be taken during pregnancy. Sage tea should only be taken short term and should not be used by lactating mothers, as its drying energetics can reduce milk flow. This drying effect however makes it particularly useful during colds and sinus conditions as it helps to dry up all mucous membranes and help reduce symptoms of your cold.
Sage tea can be used in in a netti-pot as a nasal rinse for acute sinus infections. It’s antibacterial and drying properties make it an excellent choice for this type of application.
Sage incense has a wonderful smell and is used in rituals of many native peoples.
Sage flowers make wonderful food for honey bees too, so plant some in your garden and spread the wealth our friends in the insect kingdom. Read more about sage as medicine in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
©2011 J. F. Felice, ND