Thursday, August 05, 2010

Sage Tea

By Alexandra Hoover

While you might not want to drink sage tea, or Salvia officinalis, as an everyday beverage, this particular infusion has a wealth of medicinal uses. Whether you have a cold, sore throat, or paints in your joints, sage tea has been known to make people feel better.

Sage tea is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal—it is also used as an anti-inflammatory agent. In fact, sage tea is used for any number of problems, including: dental abscesses, gingivitis, indigestion, night sweats, nervous headaches, asthma, bites, dysmenorrhoea, lethargy, lack of appetite, oral inflammation, and kidney problems.

As far back as the first century C.E. the Greek doctor Dioscorides recommended that a decoction of sage should be used externally to clean ulcers and sores. In another part of the world, Native Americans used sage tea both topically and internally. It was desired so much by many different groups of people that the Dutch used to trade it to the Chinese, despite the fact that the latter are known for their own native tea. The Chinese offered the Dutch three times the amount of their own most expensive teas.

To make this versatile infusion, put one ounce of dried sage in a pint of boiling water. If you want, you can also combine sage with lemon, for a more refreshing—and less medicinal--experience. Not everyone likes sage tea, but adding a little lemon can help, especially if you really want to give it a try.

Use a half-ounce of fresh sage leaves, one ounce of fine sugar, and quarter of an ounce of grated lemon rinds. Also include juice from one lemon and a quart of boiling water. To prepare, stir all of the ingredients in the simmering water and steep for half an hour. You can choose to prepare it hot or cold--just make sure to strain out the herbs.