Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

This Is the Season for Sage

123rf.com/Anat Chantrakool

by Ayshica Andrews

The herb most synonymous with fall has to be sage. It pairs well with all fall cuisine: roasted meats and veggies, squash and pumpkin soups or stews, Thanksgiving stuffing, and delicious sweet potatoes. Crispy sage leaves also add a final touch to a bowl of pasta. However, there's much more to this earthy-tasting herb, and it is fantastic to keep in your herbal remedy box.

Sage is a member of the mint family. Mint family plants can be identified by their square stems and opposite leaves. Mint family plants are known to aid digestion, which is why sage is so popular in heavy dishes. Botanically it is known as Salvia officinalis. Salvia means to save or to heal, and officinalis denotes that it has uses in medicine and herbalism. Its high volatile oil content is responsible for the sweet, earthy aroma.

Two simple ways to incorporate more sage in wellness are sage tea and sage honey.

Sage Tea

Sage tea is an easy way to take advantage of the healing qualities of this herb. Depending on the temperature of the tea, sage will benefit the body differently. As a warm tea, sage is useful for those who cannot digest fats well. Sage is both bitter and pungent, and it is these qualities that work on digestion. It eases gas and bloating, as well as painful intestinal cramping. Warm sage tea can also be used to calm mild fevers, as it stimulates sweating to remove the heat from the body.

As a room temperature tea, its antibacterial and astringent properties (astringent herbs have a drying or tightening effect on the tissues of the body) are more prevalent. It is used to soothe sore throats, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, and canker sores. It is often an ingredient in natural mouthwashes and tooth powders.

Sage is also a powerful ally for women’s wellness. It is used to help decrease milk flow when weaning babies. However, during pregnancy and nursing, sage should be avoided other than as flavoring in food. In addition, the compound thujone in sage stimulates blood flow in the pelvic region and is helpful with missed or irregular cycles. Sage is also beneficial for menopausal symptoms. It cools hot flashes and supports the adrenal glands.

In recent years, studies have shown that sage is beneficial for improving memory and cognition and can help people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. In Alzheimer’s patients, the chemical acetylcholine breaks down quickly and over time the production of acetylcholine is reduced. Sage has anti-acetylcholinesterase properties and slows down the breakdown of acetylcholine.

Sage-Infused Honey

Sage-infused honey is a little more special, especially in cold and flu season when extra comfort and care are appreciated. A spoonful can be swallowed or stirred into boiling water in order to soothe a sore throat. It will bring relief to inflamed tissues as well.

Sage-infused honey can be used in marinades and vinaigrettes, drizzled on toast, or enjoyed on a scone. It is delicious whipped into butter and spread on a warm piece of fresh bread.

Recipes

Sage Tea
  • Add a tablespoon of fresh-chopped sage to a mug.
  • Pour over 8 ozs to 10 ozs of boiling water, then add a teaspoon of honey and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Cover and steep for 10 minutes before straining.
  • Stir well to ensure all the honey has dissolved before straining. If a room-temperature preparation is needed, leave to cool further.

Sage Honey

  • Sterilize an 8 oz glass jar by placing in a pot of water that completely submerges the jar.
  • Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the boiling water with a pair of tongs and allow to air dry on a clean dish towel.
  • Once it has completely dried, fill the jar halfway with homegrown or organic store-bought sage leaves.
  • Pour organic, raw honey (local is best) over the sage leaves until the jar is full.
  • Cap the jar and leave the honey to rest.
  • Turn the jar over once a day
  • In 4 weeks, your honey will be ready.
  • It can be strained and should be kept in a cool, dark place where it can last for quite some time.

Fresh Sage

Fresh culinary sage can be purchased at the grocery store or grown at home. As the weather cools down, it does very well in the garden. Alternatively, a pot on a sunny window ledge is perfect for everyday kitchen use. In late spring, the beautiful lilac-colored blossoms can be added to salads. As we ease into fall and winter, we can take advantage of all the benefits that sage offers for everyday wellness.

Ayshica Andrews is a realtor, blogger, gardening consultant, and “food is medicine enthusiast.” For more information, email her at [email protected] or visit GardeningInTheDesert.com. Also follow her on social media (Facebook: Gardening in the Desert and Instagram: @SolitaryBeeGardens).