Magickal and Medicinal Herbs: Sage 101

Magickal and Medicinal Herbs:  Sage 101 post thumbnail image


Salvia officinalis

Other Names: Garden Sage, Kitchen Sage, True Sage, Common Sage

Composition: Sage refers to the fresh or dried leaves of the plant.

Ah Sage… the herb of breakfast sausages and Thanksgiving. I never gave this herb much thought until I moved to Texas and started looking at native plants to grow in the garden. If you’ve never been to Texas, it’s hot. Like, really hot. Fry things in the garden level sunshine. And that’s exactly what I did my first year there. I killed every sun loving plant I knew within the first month of summer. So I started researching plants that just maybe I couldn’t kill. Plants that had evolved to flourish and thrive in such a harsh environment.

I found Sage. Texas sage, to be exact. I was ecstatic. I had always wanted a witchy garden and now was my chance! It turns out Sage, or Salvia as the flowers are known, is the largest genus of plants in the mint family with nearly a thousand shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. Oh, the culinary delights! And my apothecary would absolutely be STOCKED!

They’re drought tolerant. They are beloved by bees. They’re beautiful.

Le Sigh.

And they’re ornamental. Not all of them. But enough of them. Most of them. In fact, only a few of them are even edible, let alone medicinal. Unfortunately, I was mesmerized by all the beautiful varieties before I did my research, and I may, or may not, have filled my garden with a lot of the non-edible variety. Lesson learned. Plant your garden with intention.

For centuries, Sage, common garden sage, has been cultivated with intention. It’s very name means “salvation” or “to heal.” Any herb or plant which is given the name “officinalis” is recognized as having significant medicinal benefits. It means “used in medicine”. The Greeks, the Romans, and the Egyptians all understood the importance of this healing, culinary, and magickal member of the mint family.

Medicinal Properties

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral
  • Alterative
  • Astringent
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anticattarrhal
  • Anhidrotic
  • Diaphoretic (when served warm)
  • Expectorant
  • Emmenagogue
  • Febrifuge
  • Nervine
  • Diuretic
  • Carminative
  • Stimulant
  • Secretion promoting
  • Perspiration inhibiting
  • High in vitamin K and Iron

Herbal Honey

Specifically, Sage Infused Honey

*Sage is an extremely potent herb, both in flavor and property. I would personally, at most, only fill my jar half way with this fresh herb or a quarter of the way with dried herb.

A tablespoon of this delicious infused honey works like magic on scratchy raw throats. In warm tea it helps to stimulate sweating and salivation, and thins mucous allowing it to exit the body. When added to a cold infusion it can dry most body secretions including sweat, saliva, and mucous production in the mouth, throat, and lungs and lactation. If taken mixed in a luke warm tea its antibiotic and astringent natures help with sore scratchy throats (Wood, 2008).

Good herbs to add to sage when infusing honey are:

  • Marshmallow root powder, calendula, violet leaves and other demulcent herbs can help balance and, depending on the quantity in the formula, counteract the drying effect of sage and help the body retain much needed moisture.
  • Ginger and Cinnamon are both analgesic, antimicrobial herbs that are common remedies for viruses.
  • Rosemary is a wonderful aromatic that combines well with sage. The two together in a hot cup of water smell divine and invigorate both the mind and the body.

Holistic Uses:

  • Inflammation of mouth and throat
  • Strepthroat
  • Cough
  • Cold and Flu
  • Chest infection
  • Fever
  • Gastric complaints
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Menopausal Symptoms such as hot flashes
  • Irregular and painful periods
  • Positively impacts cognitive function and may be a treatment for Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.
  • It can help with inflammation
  • Helps to promote healthy skin
  • Cuts, Burns, and Sores
  • Staph infection
  • May help to control anxiety
  • May help to ease pain and swelling associated with tonsilitis
  • May help with the digestion of fatty meats
  • May lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • Helps dry up breastmilk
  • Dandruff, oily hair, scalp infections

Because sage is drying it should be avoided if you are nursing, unless you specifically need to reduce breast milk production. It generally isn’t a good ally for people who are dry. Because of the thujone content (one of the volatile oils sage contains) it should not be used medicinally for people who are prone to seizures. I don’t suggest taking it in a medicinal dose while pregnant for any length of time.

Method(s) of Application: gargles, mouthwash, extract, salve, tincture, honey, infusion

Dosage: 2-3 g herb in 1 cup water for tea or 4-6 g herb for a gargle, an adult dose of tincture should not exceed two dropperfuls

Herbal Tincture:

Sage Tincture

Before we go any further, let’s clear up a matter that is some times a bit confusing. The difference between the sages. There are A LOT of sages out there. Medicinally, they are not the same. In the kitchen, they are not the same. Please do not try to use them interchangeable. Stick to tradition and research for medicinal applications. Stick to recipes and culinary guides in the kitchen. Magickally though… Magickally it gets a little sticker. Sage is typically used for smudging, and there are two main sages that get questioned in this application the most.

The Difference Between Common Sage and White Sage

White SageCommon Sage
Scientific NameSalvia ApianaSalvia Officinalis
Plant FamilyLamiaceaeLamiaceae
OriginMexico and the Southwestern United StatesMediterranean Region
UsesUsed in traditional foods and medicines by Native Americans. The seeds are used to remove foreign objects in the eye.Common culinary herb. Distilled to make essential oils. Used in various herbal health remedies.
AppearanceA shrub which reaches 1.3-1.5m in height. Whitish evergreen leaves covered in thick hairs. Flowers are white to pale lavender. Flower stems are much longer than the other two and the leaves sit in small clumps close to the ground.Various different types are available. Commonly around 0.5-0.6m high with lavender flowers. Grey-green leaves with short soft hairs.

When I first started exploring herbs from a learning standpoint, the different sages confused me. There was so much conflicting information about whether they were interchangeable or if they even held the same properties. Then of course is the issue of cultural appropriation and ethical sourcing.

Here is my very simple take on it. Smudging, or purifying things and spaces with smoke has been around for a really long time. I know that there are die hard believers that White Sage is the only possible choice for that. And that’s definitely what the New Age commercial crew pushed when I first started exploring witchcraft. But I don’t think it’s the correct answer.

White Sage grows in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. It definitely is a part of Native American heritage and practices. Does that exclude anyone else from using it? Yes and no. No, because I believe that the plants of this world are our allies and when approached respectfully should be able to be utilized by anyone. Yes, because those plants are now being over harvested. Taking away something sacred is not approaching it respectfully.

And honestly, my ancestors are not from Mexico and the Southwestern United States. They are definitely closer to the Mediterranean Region, which means my ancestral purification practices more likely contained Common Garden Sage. So…are they perfectly interchangeable? I don’t have a definitive answer. What I do have is a belief that following my ancestral magick is probably stronger than trying to figure out someone else’s. And I’ve found Common Sage to actually be more beneficial to my own practice than White Sage ever was.

Magickal Associations

Deities: Jupiter and Zeus and the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess

Magickal Correspondences of Sage

Gender: Masculine
Planets: Jupiter and the Moon
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Elements: Air and Earth

Magickal Properties of Sage

  • Fertility
  • Wards off evil
  • Dispels negative energy
  • Wisdom
  • Healing
  • Protection
  • Cleansing and Purification
  • Clarity
  • Abundance (particularly money)
  • Dreams
  • Psychic protection
  • Intuition
  • Longevity
  • Wishes
  • Immortality

Simple Spells

  • To make a wish, write your wish on a sage leaf and sleep with it under your pillow for three days and then bury it.
  • Add sage to mojo bags to promote wisdom and to overcome grief.
  • Burn sage at funeral and remembrance ceremonies to help relieve the grief of the mourners.
  • Burn sage to purify your space, clean tools, and clear out any spiritual impurities and negative energies.
  • Add sage to magical workings for immortality, longevity, wisdom, protection and the granting of wishes.
  • Carry sage on you to improve mental ability and bring wisdom.
  • Place sage near a personal object of a person who is ailing when performing healing spells or rituals.

Household Use

  • Make some sage tea and use it as a rinse for dark hair.
  • Dried sage leaves hold their shape well, making them an attractive addition to dried arrangements and potpourri.
  • Store dried sage in the same place as you store your potatoes to help them keep longer.

Culinary Use

Only Salvia officianalis is suitable for culinary use. Popular culinary sages include garden sage, dwarf garden sage, pineapple sage, Greek sage, golden garden sage, tricolor garden sage, window box sage, grape sage, and Spanish sage.

Garlic Sage Cure-All Soup

From Pardon Your French

Click on the title for the complete article and cooking instructions.


  • 16 garlic cloves
  • 2 qt water (8 cups)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch of ground pepper
  • 12 Sage leaves
  • 6 Bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 slices of fresh or toasted white bread

Sage aids in the digestion of fatty foods and is therefore good for seasoning meats, especially pork. It’s also famously useful for stuffing poultry. It is also awesome in various bean and pork dishes, like split pea soup and vegetarian bean dishes. Sage blossoms are good in salads or floated on top of soups. Pineapple sage is good in fruit drinks, salads, and ham.

From Half Baked Harvest

Click on the title for the complete article and cooking instructions.


  • 2 bone-in pork chops, about 1 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons apple butter
  • 1-2 honeycrisp apples, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Common sage blends well with the flavors of balsamic vinegar, basil, bay laurel, black pepper, cream cheese, garlic, lavender, lemon, mushrooms, onions, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and red wine.

From Eating Well

Click on the title for the complete article and cooking instructions.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 small fresh sage leaves
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 slices crusty whole-wheat bread, toasted
  • 4 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted

To purchase dried Sage, visit the Apothecary.

Learn more about Sage Essential Oil.

Increase your herbal education by Digging Deeper into other herbs and essential oils.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am a not medical professional and everything written here is a product of my own research. Don’t take any advice given here over that of a trained doctor. If you ingest any herbs, always make sure that you’re 100% sure that they’re safe. If you’re pregnant or giving to a child, always consult a doctor before ingesting herbs and plant you aren’t familiar with. Magickal instruction and spells are for personal entertainment purposes only. The desired result/outcome cannot be guaranteed as a result of using any magickal item, and should not be used as a replacement for medical/professional assistance.

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