Sage (Dan Shen, Shenreg)
Botanical Name: Western – Salvia officinalis, S. lavandulaefolia (Common Sage/Shenreg). Eastern – Salvia miltiorrhizae (Chinese Sage/Dan Shen).
Sage has been considered one of the top medicinal and culinary herbs for centuries. This herb is easy to cultivate and has spirit cleansing properties. It is a mainstay in many herb gardens. Its powers as a healing remedy are considered best given in small and often-repeated doses.
Remember to check with your doctor before trying new medicines or herbal remedies, especially if you are taking other medication where drug interactions are possible.
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How to use Sage and take FULL advantage of it's healing powers!
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Western Name: Sage
Also Known As: Common Sage, True Sage, Garden Sage, Dalmatian Sage, Spanish Sage (S. lavandulaefolia)
Organs/Systems: Digestive System, Respiratory System, Immunity, Female Disorders
Key Actions: Diuretic, Hemostatic, Emmenagogue, Tonic, Digestive, Antispasmodic, Pesticide, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antimicrobial, Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antifungal, Carminative, Relaxant
Medicinal Uses: Aid stomach and menstrual cramping, colds and flus, stop sweating, aid menses, dry up mother’s milk post nursing, night sweats, hot flashes, mouth sores, skin rashes, cold sores, gum disease, sore throat, fevers, typhoid fever, measles, joint pain, lethargy, nervous headaches, diarrhea, heartburn, asthma, Alzheimer’s, memory loss, depression, anxiety, lung cancer, lowers cholesterol and lipid levels, diabetes, excess saliva or perspiration production, bruises, and ulcers.
Pin Yin: Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhizae), Shenreg (Salvia officinalis)
Also Known As: Cinnabar Root, Red Sage Root, Chinese Sage, Chinese Salvia
Meridians: Heart, Pericardium, Liver
Key Actions: Common Sage (Salvia Officinalis/Shenreg) – Increases Qi, Resolves Phlegm, Restores Uterus, Aids Skin Repair. Chinese Sage (Salvia miltiorrhizae/Dan Shen) – Invigorates Blood/Breaks up Blood Stasis, Clears Heat/Calms Shen.
Medicinal Uses: Dysmenorrhea, palpable masses, amenorrhea, pain due to blood stasis, palpitations, restlessness, insomnia due to heat entering nutritive level, enhance immunity, loose mucousy stools, colds, sinus, stimulate lungs, asthma, coughs, scanty delayed menses, cramps, improve circulation, tremors, rashes, bruises, ulcers, sores.
Sage is native to the Mediterranean region.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaves and Roots, Flowers
Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Slightly Cool, Astringent
Caution: Generally considered safe. Taking sage leaf in large amounts or inappropriately using sage oil, can cause vomiting, vertigo, palpitations, seizures, and kidney or liver damage. Twelve or more drops of the essential oil is considered toxic.
Key Constituents: Essential oil (cineole, borneol and thujone). Leaf contains: tannic acid, oleic acid, ursolic acid, carnosol, carnosic acid, fumaric acid, rosmarinic acid, ellagic acid, rutin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, nicotinamide, iron, vitamin A, C, B6, E, and K, calcium, manganese, zinc, copper, flavones, flavonoids, polyphenols, glycosides, and estrogenic substances.
History/Folklore: Considered in Britain to be one of the essential herbs, along with parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Recipes for sage pancakes date back to the 5th century BC. It is both a digestive aid and appetite stimulant. Sage is also used to improve memory, cleanse the environment, and ease painful menses. It is also being noted for lowering blood sugar levels.
The Middle Ages generated many sayings referring to the plant’s healing properties and value, like “why should anyone die who has sage in their garden?” Sometimes called Salvia salvatrix, meaning “sage the savior,” since it was one of the ingredients of Four Thieves Vinegar, a blend of herbs that was supposed to ward off plague.
It was used by the ancient Egyptians as a woman’s fertility drug. And the ancient Greek physician, Dioscordise used the herb to stop bleeding wounds and heal skin ulcers and sores. He also used it to treat coughs, sore throats and heal sprains.
Sage contains over 160 distinct polyphenols which are each known for their antioxidant properties. One cup of sage tea twice a day significantly increased immune function.
Research has indicated that using both S. officinalis and S. lavandulaefolia for 4 months helped to improve learning, memory and cognitive function in individuals with moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Sage can be applied externally directly on cold sores, mouth ulcers, and bleeding gums to help them heal. Research is also showing that a sage can be used as a spray to help ease sore throats and reduce swollen tonsils.
One study has shown that using sage three times a day for 2 months helped to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lipid levels in the blood. Spanish sage (S. lavandulaefolia) may increase blood pressure, while common sage (Salvia officinalis) is noted for lowering blood pressure.
Spanish sage (S. lavandulaefolia), does not contain the compound thujone that is found in common sage (Salvia officinalis). Thujone is the compound that can be toxic in high doses.
People who used sage regularly in their diets seem to have a 54% reduced chance of contracting lung cancer compared to those who did not use sage.
Early research is indicating that sage extract used daily for an 8 week period can improve symptoms commonly associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. Sage contains estrogen-like compounds that allow them to bind to particular receptors in your brain to help improve your memory, treat hot flashes, and excessive sweating. It has a long history of use for reducing menopause symptoms.
A recent study has shown sage to be effective reducing blood glucose levels in rats with type 1 diabetes. Mice with type 2 diabetes that used sage tea showed the same effects as if they had been using metformin, a drug commonly prescribed to manage blood sugar levels.
In Oriental medicine, the variety Salvia miltiorrhizae is most commonly used. It is often identified as red sage root (dan shen) or Chinese sage. It is also native to the Mediterranean region. Sage is one of the most commonly used herbs in Oriental medicine. The common name, dan shen, refers to the roots reddish color and shen is a reference to ginseng (red shen), indicating the herbs importance and recognized healing powers.
Dan shen, Chinese sage (S. miltiorrhizae), is considered bitter, slightly cold and nontoxic, unlike common sage that contains the toxic substance thujone that can in large doses be harmful. It is popularly used to vitalize blood, calm, and build Qi (Energy).
Sage can be used as a hair rinse to help treat dandruff, as well as promote hair shine and growth. A 2% extract of sage can be applied to the skin to help soothe sunburns.
Sage has been used since ancient times to ward off evil and snakebites, as well as to increase female fertility.
Sage has long been a symbol for wisdom and immortality. In the Middle Ages it symbolized domestic virtue and in the Victorian era it meant a happy home and hospitality.
How to use Sage to take FULL advantage of it's healing powers!
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