As a medicinal and culinary herb, sage has been known longer than many other herbs. The ancient Egyptians used it as a natural fertility drug. In the first century AD, the Greek physician Dioscorides used a decoction of sage for bleeding wounds and to cleanse ulcers. Sage is also used externally by herbalists to treat sprains, swelling, and ulcers.
Sage was officially listed in the USP from 1840 to 1900. In small and often repeated doses, sage is a valuable remedy for fever and nervous excitement. A wonderful practical remedy that tones up an upset stomach and stimulates weak digestion in general. Sage extract, tincture and essential oil are added to medicinal preparations for the mouth and throat, as well as for gastrointestinal remedies.
Sage is effectively used for throat infections, dental abscesses, and mouth ulcers. The phenolic acids of sage have a powerful effect against Staphylococcus aureus. In laboratory studies, sage oil is active against Escherichia coli, Salmonella, filamentous fungi such as Candida Albicans. Sage has an astringent effect due to its high content of tannins.
Sage is believed to be similar to rosemary in its ability to improve brain function and memory. In a study involving 20 healthy volunteers, sage oil increased attention. The European Herbal Science Collaboration documents the use of sage for stomatitis, gingivitis, pharyngitis and sweating (1997).
In 1997, the National Institute of Herbalists in the UK sent out questionnaires to their practicing physiologists. Of the 49 respondents, 47 used sage in their practice, of which 45 prescribed sage for menopause.