There are literally hundreds of different species of Sage. The one most often found in your back yard, Salvia officinalis & common sage, better known as a culinary herb, has impressive therapeutic properties – especially for female hormones and menopause.
The common sage can have white, greenish-grey or purplish-red leaves. Often, sage products and preparations refer to, or contain ‘red sage’. This is not a different species, it is still common sage, but the plants with purplish-red leaves have been used. According to medical herbalists, the red leaf sage is the preferred medicinal variety.
The genus name ‘Salvia’ is derived from the Latin ‘Salvare’, to be saved, an ancient reference to sage’s curative abilities. The following saying from the Middle Ages also suggests the importance of sage’s healing properties:
“Why should a man die while sage grows in his garden?”!
From at least as far back as the Middle Ages, sage has been documented as a ‘cure-all’ with references to longevity in folk medicine.
Commercially, sage has always been very popular for culinary use, with its very strong, distinctive taste and aroma. In more recent years sage has become increasingly popular for its therapeutic use, especially with symptoms associated with the menopause.
Uses of red sage
Research has suggested that the presence of volatile oil in sage is largely responsible for most of its therapeutic properties, especially its antiseptic, astringent and relaxing actions. This also gives sage an oestrogenic action which is partly responsible for hormonal effects, such as reducing breast-milk production.
In Chinese medicine, sage is a ‘Yin’ (female) tonic with a reputation for supporting the nervous system.
Like all aromatic/culinary herbs, sage can soothe the digestive tract.
Hormones – red sage can;
- Improve irregular and scanty periods
- Promote stronger menstrual flow
- Reduce sweating, especially during the menopause
- Reduce hot flushes and generally help the body to adjust to hormonal changes
Generally – red sage;
- Relieves sore throats, taken internally and used as a very effective gargle
- Encourages the healing process, especially for mouth ulcers, sore gums and external wounds in general
- Aids digestion. Sage acts as a digestive tonic helping to stimulate or soothe the digestive tract
- As a nerve tonic, helps to both calm and stimulate the nervous system
- Is useful for stings and bites, especially if the fresh leaves are rubbed onto the affected area
- Was traditionally used to help asthma; the dried leaves are often used in herbal smoking mixtures
- Can alleviate mild diarrhoea, because of its astringent (drying) properties
Dosage of red sage
Infusion: Half – 1 teaspoon dried red sage herb to each cup boiling water, infuse 15 mins. Half – 1 cup three times daily or used as a gargle and mouthwash as often as required.
Tincture: 30-60 drops, in water or juice three times daily.
Fluid Extract: 15-30 drops, in water or juice three times daily.
Capsules: Powdered herb min 325mg, 1-4 capsules three times daily.
Or follow the instructions on any proprietary pack of a red sage
product being used.
Like all herbal products, red sage can be found with other herbs in combination products. For example, echinacea and myrrh may be combined with red sage in a gargle mixture to enhance its healing properties. Or, it may be combined with other ‘female’ herbs known to assist with symptoms of the menopause, such as, agnus castus or wild yam.
Find a product which works for you – either the single herb or a combination of herbs – and continue for a full course of treatment.
Do not take red sage during pregnancy, or while breast-feeding as it reduces milk production. It would be wise to avoid it when taking any other product or drug which affects the female Hormone System – such as HRT or the contraceptive pill.
Red sage can stimulate menstrual flow, therefore it is best to avoid it if suffering from heavy periods or menstrual flooding.
Some reports advise a consultation with your doctor before taking this herb if you have epilepsy, this is because long term use of this herb may cause a tendency to cramps associated with epilepsy. As a guide, more than three months usage can be classed as long term use, though this figure may vary for individuals.
Red sage is growing increasingly popular for women with menstrual difficulties and certain symptoms associated with the menopause, such as night sweats and hot flushes.
However, this should not be thought of as a herb for women only.
The antiseptic healing qualities of this herb can be an asset to the whole family, especially as a gargle or mouthwash and as an effective wash for cuts and sores. If you’re compiling a natural first aid kit for the home, red sage deserves a place.