Herbal Remedies - The Qualities of Sage
The Healing Properties Of Sage
The desire of sage is to render man immortal ~ Medieval proverb
Sage takes it's name from the Latin verb "salvare" which means to heal or to save which should give us a clue as to just how useful this particular herb is. Sage has been used for over 2000 years in Greece and Italy for natural remedies and cooking, and it could easily be described as a "cure all"! Over the centuries it has been said that sage could enhance the memory, treat the plague, aid conception, protect against witchcraft and spells, and even bestow immortality!
While most of this has not been proven in the modern world, sage does have a remarkable amount of health benefits that can be utilised by us all.
It is a valuable source of vitamin A, calcium, iron and potassium, and is very good for the skin, teeth and bones. Sage has recently been proven to enhance the memory and it is a diuretic and digestive aid particularly in the digestion of rich, fatty foods such as pork!
Sage is also renowned for helping prevent some of the symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes and night sweats, and it can help regulate menstruation.
1/2 tbsp fresh sage leaves (if dried use half the amount)
200ml boiling water
Simply poor the boiling water over the sage leaves and leave to infuse for 8 - 10 minutes! Try adding 1/2 tbsp of fresh raspberry leaves (if dried then half the amount) if drinking the tea to stop hot flushes and night sweats in menopause.
A small cup of this tea can be taken every 3 to 4 hours.
N.B. Not to be used by pregnant women!
Even more it can do...
Sage is known to be a powerful antioxidant, which protects the body against cell damage by oxidation, which can cause cancer cells to develop. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties due to the rosmarinic acid it contains.
Sage is probably best known for its ability to treat colds, coughs and loosening of mucus in the upper respiratory tract. A sage infusion can be gargled for sore throats, tonsillitis, inflamed gums and mouth ulcers. This will also help prevent bad breath.
1 large bunch fresh sage leaves
Runny honey (enough to cover the leaves)
- wash and dry the sage leaves and place in a pan with enough honey to cover. Simmer gently for 1 hour. Be very careful as honey becomes very hot and can cause scalding).
- Allow to cool to a temperature that you can handle.
- Stain the honey into a sterilized jar.
Take 1 tsp up to 4 times daily for a sore throat, or use it to sweeten hot lemon drinks for colds and flu.
Growing your own
Sage is an evergreen perennial that can be grown easily in most climates, although it prefers the sun! It likes well drained soil in a sunny spot, and needs pruning back each year after growing season to prevent it becoming woody. It will also be happy in a pot on a sunny patio, balcony or porch. Water well in summer, prevent from drying out in the winter.
Harvest the leaves just before the plant flowers to dry them. There are 2 methods of drying the leaves effectively to lock in the active compounds and ensure safe storage.
- Air Drying - Tie a bunch of sprigs together with an elastic band or string. Hang upside down so that the oils go into the leaves, and hang in a well ventilated, dry environment for at least 2 weeks, or until the leaves have gone crispy. Strip the leaves off and crumble into an airtight coloured jar. They will keep for up to 1 year.
- Oven Drying - Cover a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and then put the plants on it, well spaced out. Put in a low oven with the door slightly open for several hours. This may take up to 5 hours but check them regularly as they will burn easily. When dry and crisp, crumble and store as above.
To Treat Athletes Foot
Sage and Garlic Foot Bath
100g fresh sage leaves
10 bulbs garlic finely chopped
500ml cider vinegar
- Place the chopped garlic and sage leaves in a jar, then add the cider vinegar. Seal and leave to infuse for 1 month, occasionally giving it a shake!
- Add 5 tbsp to a bowl of hot water, and soak feet for 15 - 20 minutes. Do not use on broken skin, it will hurt!
This will keep for up to 6 months and it is also a delicious salad dressing!
Using Sage in Cooking
Sage is an aromatic herb that is widely used in Greek, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is also famous as an accompniant to turkey or chicken as a sage and onion stuffing. It is especially good when added to poultry and pork dishes, as well as other meats and is effective in helping the body to digest fatty foods.
If ingested in large amounts, sage can be toxic to the liver and kidneys. If you are being treated for a medical complaint by your doctor, and on medication, then please check with your pharmacist to ensure that sage will not interfere with this treatment. Do not take if suffering from a dry mouth or dry vaginal tissues.
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