Sage (Dan Shen, Shenreg)

Botanical Name: Western – Salvia officinalis, S. lavandulaefolia (Common Sage / Shenreg). Eastern – Salvia miltiorrhizae (Chinese Sage / Dan Shen).

Sage is 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.

Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – Sage & Your Skin.

Below is an overview of sage, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of sage.

How to take FULL advantage of Sage's healing powers...

JOIN ME in an exploration of the healing herb, Sage (Dan Shen, Shenreg). Explore the benefits and applications of sage, from Eastern and Western perspectives, and so much more!


Western Name: Sage​

Also Known As: Common Sage, True Sage, Garden Sage, Dalmatian Sage, Spanish Sage (S. lavandulaefolia)

Organs/Systems: Digestive, Respiratory, Immune, Female Disorders

Key Actions: Diuretic, Hemostatic, Emmenagogue, Tonic, Digestive, Antispasmodic, Pesticide, Astringent, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antimicrobial, Carminative, Relaxant

Medicinal Uses: Aid stomach and menstrual cramping, colds and flu, 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, 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) – Builds Qi, Resolves Phlegm, Restores Uterus, Aids Skin Repair, Opens the Mind. 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.

Basic Habitat / Botany:

Sage belongs to the mint family and includes many diverse species and genera. Cultivars can vary considerably in size, leaf, flower color, and foliage pattern. Generally, the leaves are grayish green and with spikes of spring flowers ranging from purple, blue, white, or pink. Sage can be harvested from late Autumn to early Spring.

Sage is native to the Mediterranean region. Other parts of the world, including China have evolved their own genus of Salvia.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaf, Root, Flower​

Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Slightly Cool, Slightly Warming, Astringent

Caution: 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: The essential oil contains cineole, borneol, and thujone. The 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 an 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 the 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 indicates that sage extract used daily for 8 weeks 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 memory and 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 in 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 Traditional Chinese 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 TCM. The common name, dan shen, refers to the root’s reddish color and shen is a reference to ginseng (red shen), indicating the herb’s 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 of wisdom and immortality. In the Middle Ages, it symbolized domestic virtue and in the Victorian era, it meant a happy home and hospitality.

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Did you know?

Monastery Gardens

Charlemagne recommended the plant for cultivation in monastery gardens.



The “officinalis” in the plant’s name refers to sage’s medicinal roots. The officinal was the traditional storeroom of a monastery where these herbs and medicines were kept.

Fun fact!


As sage is similar to rosemary in its ability to improve brain function and memory, it is being studied for constituents that could be used in treating Alzheimer’s.

Take FULL advantage of Sage (Dan Shen, Shenreg)!

Connecting Eastern and Western perspectives on HOW and WHY this herb works. Find out how to safely and effectively use this healing herb for treating conditions and for your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Find True Health. Explore uses, safety information, benefits, history, recipes, gardening tips, essential oil information, if it applies, and much, much more in this online course.

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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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