Salvia officinalis belongs to the Labiatae family and is a small, evergreen shrubby perennial with woody stems near the base and herbaceous ones above. It grows to a height of around 0.8 meters. It is native to the Mediterranean region and cultivated worldwide, Albania, Turkey, Greece, Italy and the United States among others. Its medicinal properties have been valued since ancient times and the Latin name is derived from the same root as ‘salvation’ since sage was considered to be able to save people from illness and death. It was called‘herba sacra’ (sacred herb) by the Romans. A pale yellow essential oil is steam distilled from the dried leaves. The yield is around 1 – 2.8%. Its major chemical components are ketones 35% (alpha-thujone, beta-thujone, camphor, fenchone and monoterpenes 20% (alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, phellandrene, camphene, myrcene, limonene, para-cymene). It has a fresh, herby, camphor-like aroma and blends well with bergamot, cajeput, clary sage, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, lavender, myrtle, niaouli, orange, peppermint, pine, rose, rosemary and tea tree.
Sage has been used in European phytomedicine for dyspeptic symptoms and diaphoretic effects. It has also been used in gargles and rinses for inflamed mucous membranes of the oral mucosa and throat. Sage is used as a fragrance component in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes. It is also widely used as a flavor ingredient in baked goods, meat and meat products, condiments and relishes, processed vegetables, soups, gravies, fats and oils and others. The dried leaves are used as a tea ingredient. In Traditional Medicine, sage has been used as a tonic, digestive, antiseptic, astringent and antispasmodic. It is used to reduce perspiration (e.g. night sweats), to stop the flow of milk, to treat nervous conditions (e.g. trembling, depression and vertigo, dysmenorrheal, diarrhea, gastritis, sore throat, insect bites, usually in the form of a tea or infusion.
Psychologically, Sage has analgesic, antispasmodic and tonic properties and can be helpful for depression, mental strain & exhaustion.
On the physiological level sage has antifungal, antiseptic properties and has been used for skin ulcers, cold sores, radiation burns, herpes and shingles. It can aid in the formation of scar tissue and in the regulation of excessive perspiration. Sage helps one to surrender to Spirit. Native Americans traditionally use sage during purification rituals. Sage is also thought to connect one to Ancestral memories. Sage cleanses and purifies.
Contraindications:. Avoid during pregnancy. Avoid its use for people with epilepsy or high blood pressure. Use with care and only for short periods of time.
Albert Y. Leung & Steven Foster , Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, John Wiley & Sons, 1996
Beverley Hawkins, Aromatherapy 101 Course 1999 revised 2000, 2001,2002, 2003, 2004,2006