Sage can be used for all types of sore throats. This is because of the fact that sage has antiseptic and astringents as well as certain relaxing properties, and this is one of the main reasons why sage is used rather frequently in gargles. It is also used for treating and bringing relief to sore gums and canker sores. Sage is often described as a digestive tonic, and as a stimulant, and in Chinese medicine, sage enjoys a good reputation as a versatile nerve tonic, as it is used as a yin tonic for helping to calm and stimulate the nervous system. Sage is also an excellent remedy for treating irregular and light menstruation, and this is achieved by encouraging a better flow of blood. Sage is excellent for handling the various symptoms of menopause, as the herb is effective for reducing sweating, a primary indication of menopause. Sage, because it has a combination of tonic and estrogenic effects, is deemed as an excellent remedy for reducing hot flashes while at the same time helping the body to adapt to the hormonal changes involved. Sage has also been used traditionally to treat asthma, while the dried leaves of the herb can be included in herbal smoking mixtures for treating asthma. Sage is considered to be one of the most valued herbs right through the ages. It is used by herbalists to treat a wide variety of conditions ranging from colds and fevers and other similar infections, and it is generally advised that sage must be taken at the first signs of any respiratory infections, like for example, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and catarrh. Sage also relieves tonsillitis. Since the herb possesses astringent and expectorant properties, these help expel phlegm from the chest and reduce catarrh. The airways can be disinfected by a simple process of inhaling the tea prepared with sage. Sage generally enhances the immune system and provides help in thwarting and preventing infections and auto-immune problems in an individual. Sage has volatile oils which have the capacity to induce a relaxant effect on the smooth muscle of the digestive tract, and this is the reason why sage is known as a digestive remedy too. The volatile oils of sage, in conjunction with the bitters, prove to stimulate the appetite and improve weak digestion. Sage successfully encourages the flow of bile and digestive enzymes, and settles one's stomach, sage relieves flatulence, colic, colitis, indigestion, and nausea. It also proves extremely useful in treating and relieving liver complaints, and worms. Antiseptic properties of sage are helpful in infections such as gastroenteritis. The herb is a tonic to the nervous system and has often been used to enhance strength and vitality in an individual. As mentioned earlier, sage has a stimulating effect upon the female reproductive tract, and is often recommended by herbalists for treating female disorders such as delayed or scanty menses, menstrual cramps, infertility and lack of periods. The estrogenic properties of the herb become very useful for treating menopausal problems, especially for night sweats and hot flashes. Since it is a fact that sage stimulates the uterus, it is no surprise that it can be very useful during childbirth, and for expelling the placenta after childbirth. Sage can also stop the flow of breast milk and therefore, it is excellent for weaning. Sage possesses potent antioxidant properties, and this proves to be helpful in bringing about a delay in the aging process and in reducing the harmful effects of free radicals.
Sage can be used to season foods such as gravies, poultry, pickles, stews or soups. It is a fact that garden sage will help and aid digestion; therefore it is a wise idea to use the herb when cooking fatty meats such as pork, duck or sausages. Sage can also be used for lending a zest and a tang when preparing vegetarian dishes such as lima beans, eggplant, and onions, and in omelets, tofu, cheeses or tomato recipes. One must, however, remember to use the herb rather sparingly, because the flavor and the aroma can very easily overtake and overwhelm the actual taste of the foods being cooked. Ground garden sage can be added in small quantities to savory biscuits or muffins that can be served with fish or chicken. Even the cooking oil that one uses can be flavored by a few garden sage leaves to the oil. Commercially, sage can be used to flavor and season foods like soups, and sauces, meats, sausages, pickles, fried chicken, candy, cheeses, chewing gum, baked goods, vermouth or ice cream.
It is possible to use dried garden sage branches into garlands and herbal wreaths.
Although sage is considered native to the Mediterranean regions, it can be cultivated all over the world, and it grows in the wild in a large number of places in the world. Garden sage will grows best when it is planted in well-drained, nitrogen-rich clay loam, preferably near a wall. This will provide a shelter for the plants during harsh winters. The generally tolerated pH range is 4.9 to 8.2. Sage will thrive in bright and open sunlight, but the shrub will also tolerate a certain amount of light shade. Over watering must be avoided at any cost, because this would stunt growth, and quietly kill the roots of the plant. The plant can be propagated by seeds, layering, and cuttings. If one is using seeds, then these would have to be planted in the garden, to a depth of 1 cm (1/2 inch) or less, about 14 days before the last spring frost date. Seedlings will generally arrive in two to three weeks. Seedlings must be thinned to about 0.6 m (2 feet) apart. If one has a favorite shrub, and wishes to use this as cultivar, then it would be a good idea to propagate from cuttings taken sometime during early summer; seeds may not be able to produce the desired result. This is the best method for propagation from a cultivar: cut a sprig of new growth, about 5 cm (2 inches) from the top of the herb. Then remove all the leaves from the bottom, and put the end of the twig in wet sand to root, generally in one to two months. Branches can be layered by bending them over and then anchoring a portion under the soil to promote rooting. This method will produce new roots in about a month's time. Typical garden sage will not grow too well indoors. Once the flowers emerge, then one must take care to trim back the plants. This will prevent them from becoming much too woody and unmanageable, which in turn will produce poorer quality sage. They must be replaced every three to four years without fail, and one will then be able to enjoy excellent quality sage. The plant is inevitably susceptible to root rot and fungal diseases, and to infestations of slugs and spider mites, and this means that one would have to take care to avoid these infestations at any cost. During the winter the sage can be offered protection by mulching well with leaves or straw.
Edible sage in its several different forms is considered to be an ornamental plant, and this can be used to the maximum advantage. In fact, sage can be planted in containers along with other flowering annual plants, and it can make a good companion for the other plant. On the other hand, sage can be planted on its own in an individual container, a 12-inch (30 cm) pot filled with a standard, soil-based potting mix. Purchased plants or rooted cuttings will prove to be the best bet when starting to cultivate the sage; using seeds is not a good idea. The plants must be kept evenly moist, but not excessively so. A balanced fertilizer must be used every month, and one must make the effort to pick the leaves of the sage frequently, as this will promote vigorous foliage production in the plant. If the plant seems to be quite hardy, then it can be taken indoors during winters. However, it must be kept in a brightly-light location with cool temperatures. Although it is advisable to keep the soil dry, it must not be overly so, it must be slightly moistened at all times, and never allowed to dry out fully. Certain tropical varieties of sage can be grown all the year-round indoors. These plants will be able to thrive with 6 hours of natural sunlight from a window or 12 hours under artificial plant lights.
Research has been done to find out what gives the sage it's antiseptic and carminative properties, and it has been discovered that it is thujone, contained in the volatile oil, that gives the sage its curative abilities. The herb contains certain estrogenic properties, which are considered to be partially responsible for its hormonal effect. This is why sage is capable of stopping the flow of breast milk, but one must remember that thujone taken in excess can become toxic and dangerous. Sage also contains rosmarinic acid, considered to be a phenol. This is known to be strongly anti-inflammatory, while the volatile oil relieves muscle spasms and acts as an antimicrobial.
Sage can be normally taken as an infusion, 200 ml (8 fl oz) daily. It can also be used as a mouthwash or gargle, 100 ml (4 fl oz), 2 - 3 times daily. The tincture of sage can be taken 2 ml (40 drops), two times daily.
Although there is evidence to show that sage is perfectly safe for consumption, it is generally advised that drinking sage tea to alleviate an upset stomach may not be a great idea; the reason may be the fact that sage contains thujone. Even though the water in which the tea is boiled will only extract a miniscule amount of thujone, one must be careful to avoid taking it to cure an irritable stomach. Some people do use sage essential oil as an important ingredient in aromatherapy, but some experts do advise strongly against this usage. Nursing mothers and pregnant women must take care not to use sage for medicinal purposes. The reason is that the sage has a reputation for inducing contractions, and for drying up breast milk, and unless these effects are specifically desired, sage must be avoided. There are also reports that some individuals who have handled sage have developed dermatitis.
Sage contains antiseptic properties because of its primary ingredient thujone. This makes sage an invaluable remedy for gargling and for use as a mouthwash. Sage can also act as a mild digestive and circulatory stimulant. When sage is used for problems in the reproductive system, it can bring on the onset of a much delayed period, and for those women going through menopause and who suffer from hot flashes and sweating, sage can be used to bring excellent relief for these symptoms. Asthma herbal cigarettes also contain sage as a main ingredient; the component rosmarinic acid acts as an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory element.
Young shoots of sage must be collected from near the tops of the plants. These can be used for drying, before the mature flowers are produced. These young shoots must be tied in small bunches, and hung in a warm area for them to dry out completely. Since the leaves of the sage plant are fairly thick, they can take a longer time to dry. Once they are dry, they can be crushed and then stored in airtight containers for future use. Sprigs of leaves can be frozen on a cookie sheet before they can be stored in airtight freezer bags for later use. On the other hand, the leaves can be frozen in ice cubes. Freezing is a good idea and must be done because it retains the flavor of garden sage better than the conventionally used drying method. One must remember to stop harvesting during early fall to allow the plants to maintain the essential reserves required to survive the winter.