Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a beautiful, easy-to-grow aromatic herb with a long history of medicinal and culinary uses. This garden favorite is not only delicious alongside beans, eggs, soups, pastas, and more but also contains powerful medicinal properties, making it a must for any home garden.
Potential healing benefits of sage
- Antioxidant properties: Sage contains healing compounds like rosmarinic acid and flavonoids, which possess antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals in the body, potentially reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Some studies suggest that sage may have anti-inflammatory properties, which could be beneficial for conditions involving inflammation, such as arthritis.
- Improved digestion: Sage has been traditionally used to aid digestion. It may help stimulate the digestive system and alleviate symptoms like bloating and gas.
- Memory and cognitive function: There is some evidence suggesting that compounds in sage may have a positive impact on memory and cognitive function. Sage has been studied for its potential role in managing cognitive decline in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
- Menopausal symptoms: Sage has been studied for its potential to alleviate menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats. Some women find relief from incorporating sage into their diet, drinking sage tea or using sage supplements.
- Antimicrobial properties: Sage contains compounds with antimicrobial properties, which may help combat certain bacteria and fungi. It has been used traditionally for its antimicrobial effects in various cultures.
- Blood sugar regulation: Some studies suggest that sage may help regulate blood sugar levels, making it potentially beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes.
- Anti-anxiety effects: The compounds in sage, such as rosmarinic acid, have been investigated for their potential anti-anxiety effects. Sage appears to have a calming effect on the nervous system, making it a great companion to other natural stress-relieving therapies.
- Skin health: Sage is often used topically for various skin conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It may be applied as a poultice or incorporated into organic skincare products.
How to grow sage
Sage is relatively easy to grow and care for, making it a fantastic choice for new gardeners. It is truly an excellent addition to any herb garden.
Pick a location
Sage prefers a sunny location with well-draining soil. Ensure that the area receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.
Prepare the soil
Sage thrives in well-drained, slightly alkaline soil. If your soil is heavy or clayey, amend it with organic matter, such as compost, to improve drainage.
Grow sage from seeds or cuttings. Here’s how to do each:
- Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost.
- Plant seeds about 1/4 inch deep in seed-starting mix.
- Transplant seedlings outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up.
- Space the plants about 18-24 inches apart.
- Take 4-6 inch cuttings from a healthy sage plant.
- Remove the lower leaves, leaving only a few leaves at the top.
- Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant it in a pot with well-draining soil.
- Water the cutting and cover the pot with a plastic bag to create a humid environment until roots develop.
- Transplant the rooted cutting to the garden or a larger pot.
- Water but not too much
Sage prefers slightly dry conditions, so be careful not to overwater. Water deeply when the soil is dry to the touch about an inch below the surface.
Mulch to keep weeds down
Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.
Prune for better growth
Regularly prune the sage to encourage bushier growth and to prevent it from becoming too leggy. Pruning also helps to harvest fresh leaves.
Harvest once established
You can start harvesting sage leaves once the plant is well-established. Harvest in the morning when the essential oils are most concentrated.
Use scissors or pruning shears to cut the leaves, and avoid removing more than one-third of the plant at a time.
Watch for common pests
Sage is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, watch out for common garden pests like aphids and spider mites. Neem oil or garlic infused water will often alleviate the problem quickly.
Bring inside in harsh climates
Sage is hardy in many climates but may benefit from a layer of mulch in colder regions to protect the roots. In extremely cold climates, you might consider growing sage in containers and bringing them indoors during winter.
Soothing Sage Skin Cream
Keep your hands healthy and moisturized with this simple soothing skin cream recipe.
What you need
- 1 cup of fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 cup dried sage)
- 1 cup of carrier oil (such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil)
- 1/4 cup of beeswax pellets or grated beeswax
- 10-20 drops of essential oil (optional, for fragrance and additional skin benefits)
How to make it
Infusing the Oil:
- If using fresh sage leaves, wash and pat them dry. If using dried sage, skip this step.
- In a heatproof jar, combine the sage leaves and carrier oil.
- Place the jar in a double boiler or a saucepan with water. Heat the water gently to simmer, and let the sage infuse into the oil for 1-2 hours.
- Keep the heat low to avoid overheating the oil.
- Strain the oil using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the sage leaves, ensuring you have a clear sage-infused oil.
Preparing the Cream:
- Melt the beeswax in a separate heatproof container using the double boiler method. Beeswax adds thickness and helps emulsify the oil into a cream.
- Once the beeswax is melted, add the sage-infused oil to the container. Stir well to combine.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly, but not to the point where it solidifies.
- Add Essential Oil (optional): If you desire a pleasant fragrance and additional skin benefits, add 10-20 drops of your preferred essential oil. Lavender, chamomile, or tea tree oil are popular choices.
- Pour the cream into clean, airtight jars or containers.
- Allow the cream to cool completely and solidify before sealing the jars.
Apply the sage-infused skin cream to clean, dry skin as needed. It can be used on the face, hands, or any area that could benefit from its properties.
Beeswax helps to give the cream a thicker consistency. Adjust the amount based on your preference for creaminess. Store the cream in a cool, dark place to preserve its properties. If it starts to smell off or changes color, it’s a sign that it may have spoiled. Perform a patch test before applying the cream to larger areas of your skin to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions.
Learn how to grow and use 51 healing plants in my book Grow Your Own Pharmacy available in the EarthenMamma store!