Salvia officinalis

Botanical family: Lamiaceae
Parts used: Leaves and flowers
Main active constituents: Flavonoids, phenols, tannins
Actions: anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, digestive, diuretic
Good for: Night sweats, hot flushes, digestive problems, oral health, memory loss
Available forms: Tea, tincture, capsule


Native to the Balkan and Mediterranean, sage is a member of the mint family and its bluish-purple flowers and greyish-green leaves are a familiar sight in many of our UK gardens.


Sage is traditionally associated with long life and legends abound about long-lived princes who regularly downed cups of sage tea, while an old country rhyme tells us that ‘ he who drinks sage in May, shall live for aye.’

The ancient Greeks and Romans first used sage as meat preservative as well as a memory enhancer. It was also used to stop wounds bleeding, to clean ulcers and sores and for sore throats. The Roman naturalist Pliny prescribed it for snakebite, intestinal worms, chest ailments and period problems. Listed by the Council of Europe as a natural source of food flavouring, it has been used for more than 2,000 years in culinary recipes.

Current uses

For sore thraots ans mouth ulcers

Its antiseptic and astringent properties make sage ideal for many conditions of the mouth and throat, including ulcers, gingivitis, laryngitis and sore throats. The best method is to use a sage infusion as a gargle or mouthwash.

For menopausal symptoms

Sipping cold sage tea is a traditional remedy for menopausal problems such as sweating, hot flushes and headaches.

For digestive problems

Sage is a carminative herb, which means it is good for the digestive system. It can be used to treat cramp, wind and intestinal spasms caused by indigestion and it also promotes bile flow. Taken in conjunction with bitter herbs such as dandelion, goldenseal and artichoke, it can be used to stimulate appetite.

For improving memory

Research shows that sage can improve memory and may be helpful in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. It works by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, a compound thought to help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.

For insect bites

Simply squeeze the juice from fresh leaves or even just rub leaves onto the area to soothe insect bites.

How to take it

  • Sage capsules contain typically 300mg of dried sage leaf. Take one capsule three times daily.
  • Drink three to four cups of sage tea daily to relieve hot flushes and night sweats. To make tea: put one or two teaspoons of freshly crushed sage leaves in a covered cup of boiling water and leave to stand for around 15 minutes.
  • Use a gargle or mouthwash up to three times a day for sore throats or ulcers. Allow 2.5g dried sage leaves to 100ml water.
  • Sage can be taken with other supplements and there is no evidence that it interacts with prescribed medications at the recommended dosage.


  • You should not take sage if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Not suitable for children.

Sage can be found in MenoSage

Feeling Blue? Useful advice for coping with depression and low mood. Click hereWhat's in your medicine cabinet? Take our survey to find out how much you know about what you are taking