Wha, huh?! Did you say sage tea? Isn’t that what you put into Italian food and cornbread dressing? Ah, yes… and while I’ll talk about the goodness of sage in food recipes at a later time, I’d like to address an uncommon use of sage: tea! The scientific name for sage, Salvia officinalis, is derived from the Latin salvus, meaning “healthy,” which refers to the curative properties. Sage is full of essential oils, which are drawn out by the sun thus allowing one to smell its strong camphor scent on a sunny day. These essential oils are known to stimulate digestive secretions & appetite and improve resistance to infection – ergo it’s considered to have antiseptic and astringent properties. You can make sage tea from either fresh or dried forms. Sage tea is an ideal remedy for stomach and intestinal ailments, as well as for menopausal symptoms (hot flashes and excessive sweating) and irregular menstrual bleeding. The tea also makes an excellent gargle for sore throats and inflamed gums, as well as relieving canker sores, and irritated larynx and vocal cords.
6 oz freshly boiled water
2 tsp fresh sage or 1 tsp dried sage
Pour freshly boiled, hot water over the sage leaves, cover and steep for about 10-15 minutes. Strain and enjoy! If necessary, you can sweeten with some nectar…
*Note: You want to wait until the freshly boiled water stops boiling before pouring over the leaves, otherwise the helpful essential oils will vaporize. So once the kettle whistles, turn off the heat, wait about a minute and then pour. Do not use a medicinal dose of sage in any form if you are pregnant – but as a culinary herb, sage is safe for pregnant women.
Adding 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds (increase water to 9 oz) to a sage tea will help with colds, sore throats, and cold sores. To stimulate the appetite, add 1 tsp peppermint leaves and 1 tsp lemon balm to the sage tea (increase water to 12 oz).
If you have itchy, weeping skin eruptions that don’t heal, a bath containing a wound-purifying, astringent sage infusion may help. Steep 5 oz of dried sage leaves in 1 quart of hot water for about 20 minutes. Strain the infusion into the bathwater, and repeat 2-3 times a week as needed.
You can also use a fresh picked sage leaf as a breath freshener by rubbing the leaf all over your teeth (like a toothbrush) and tongue – you know, for all those fresh breath emergencies when you happen to be surrounded by sage plants 😉