Have you walked along the towpath by Todmorden Health Centre recently? You might have noticed a familiar silvery-green herb growing through the fence from the Apothecary Garden: Sage.
Sage is best known as a culinary herb, delicious when tossed with fresh pasta or used in stuffing. But did you also know that it is a powerful medicinal herb too? Salvia, the Latin name for sage, literally means ‘to heal’. The essential oil rich leaves are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Recent studies have shown that regularly taking sage as a supplement can improve memory function, increase alertness and boost your mood due to its cholinesterase-inhibiting functions.
In traditional herbal medicine, sage is used as a women’s remedy. Many women find it helps relieve problems associated with the menopause, such as hot flushes and night sweats. It also acts as an emmenagogue, helping to regulate menstruation and alleviate pain. Sunlight Apothecary stocks Viridian sage leaf capsules and A. Vogel Menosan sage drops for women seeking relief from hot flushes and night sweats. Sage is also a key ingredient in A. Vogel’s Dentaforce mouthwash, thanks to its strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties
Sage is also my favourite remedy to help cure sore throats. I find that an infusion of sage, drunk as a tea or used as a gargle, will often clear up a mild throat infection within a day or two. Next time you find yourself suffering from a sore throat, try this simple kitchen remedy and see if it works for you:
Take a handful of fresh sage, or a teaspoonful of dried sage, and place it in a cup. Fill the cup with boiling water and cover (this keeps the volatile essential oils in the infusion). After 5 minutes, remove the cover, strain the liquid, and mix with honey to taste. You can now drink your sage infusion as a tea, or leave it to cool and use it as a gargle.
If you are still feeling under the weather, the A. Vogel Echinaforce sore throat spray combines the antiseptic power of sage with the immune-boosting properties of Echinacea.
Sage should not be used by pregnant or nursing women or by people who have epileptic fits.