What To Do With (Way Too Much) Sage

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A couple of years ago, I planted a very small, inexpensive sage plant in the corner of one of our raised beds.  And it grew.  And grew. And grew.  And now, I have SAGE. Lots and lots (and lots!) of sage!  I keep cutting it back, and it keeps trying to take over our whole raised bed.

IMG_9582A couple of evenings ago, I cut a whole bunch off, and made little bundles of sage to sell, as I’ve seen lots of people do here.  After two days of trying, at 25 pence per bunch, we had one taker.  Time to figure out what to do with sage, sage, and more sage.

It turns out that sage is a fantastic herb to have too much of.  It is one of the earliest known medicinal plants, and has so many uses.  The name salvia which is derived from salvare, the latin word for healing is a great indicator of its history of medicinal use.  In fact, there was a Roman saying, “Cur moriatur homo, cui salva crescit in horis?” – “Why dies the human when salvia grows in his garden?”  It can be used internally and externally, for all sorts of maladies. Here are some of the issues sage has been used medicinally to treat (the short list!)
Conditions Treated with Sage

  • asthma
  • bacterial & fungal infections
  • calming and stimulating the nervous system
  • candida
  • colds
  • coughs
  • encouraging healing
  • gastrointestinal upset
  • gingivitis
  • headache (nervous)
  • hot flashes (menopausal sweats)
  • improving memory
  • indigestion
  • intestinal infection
  • insect bites
  • joint paint
  • liver complaints
  • oral inflammation
  • rheumatism
  • skin, throat, mouth and gum infections
  • soothing the digestive tract
  • stimulating upper digestive secretionss
  • strengthening the nervous system
  • throat infections
  • Taken internally or as a gargle or mouthwash
    *note that sage should not be used by pregnant or nursing women or by people who have epilepsy

That’s quite a long list!  So, I wanted to find some ways to keep sage available to easily use as a medicine, and then other ways to just preserve it for use in the kitchen.  It should be noted here that extended over-consumption (more than 15g per day) of sage can be problematic, as it contains a compound called thujole which is toxic.  So be reasonable!

So far, I have preserved it in four different ways.  I’ll share those with you, then a good roundup of a bunch of other (ahem…) sage ideas for using this herb.

First, I made a Sage and Honey Cough Syrup.  This is so simple to do, and makes a great medicine and a nice herbal honey for desserts or cocktails.

IMG_9599Next, I made a medicinal sage tincture.  This is also extremely simple.

How to Make Sage Tincture

  1. Wash and thoroughly dry your sage leaves.
  2. Roughly chop them and put them in a glass jar that can be tightly sealed.
  3. Pour vodka or another pure spirit over to cover.
  4. Cover tightly and put it in a dark place (like your cupboard) for three weeks or so.  Shake daily.
  5. Strain out the leaves and put in a dark glass containers like these.IMG_9604 IMG_9609

Uses of Sage Tincture: There are a lot of ways you can use sage tincture, and it’s a great thing to have on hand in your first-aid kit and for making personal care items.  To read more about how to use your tincture, look here and here.  I am not an herbalist, so I can’t give too much instruction, but it’s definitely worth looking into!

  • As an antibacterial mouthwash, and to help heal sore throats and tonsilitis
  • In a spray bottle as a deodorant (it is a treatment for hypohyrosis)
  • As a toner for oily skin
  • Applied topically to treat eczema and skin rashes, and to relieve bugbites
  • Applied externally to treat bruises, sprains, and swelling
  • Used in hair care products for healthier hair and to decrease hair loss (It can also darken hair color for some.)

I used a couple of bunches for making sage salt.  This was easy to do.
I finely minced about 1/4 cup of sage, then tossed it with about a cup of maldon sea salt.  To keep the fresh leaves from making the the salt too moist, I put the jar on top of one of our radiator for a couple of days.  You could also put it in the oven with the pilot light on, or some other warm, dry spot.

IMG_9606IMG_9616Lastly, I dried lots of sage for tea.  Clean your sage leaves, make neat little bunches, and wrap the ends with twine or a rubber band.  Hang someplace dry and airy.  When the leaves are completely dry, you can crumble them between your fingers into a bowl, or use a mini-chopper to cut it into the right texture for brewing tea.  Store it in a tightly sealed glass jar.  I have a cupboard full of dried herbs and berries for making herbal tea blends with– it’s fun!IMG_9648Here is a round up of other ideas for what to do with sage.

What am I missing here?  What do you like to do with sage?
What To Do With Sage And Here We Are...
Sources: https://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-sage.html, https://www.aromantic.co.uk/buy-sage-tincture-organic-uk.htm

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38 Responses to What To Do With (Way Too Much) Sage

  1. GrassFood June 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Thank you Ariana for mentioning my sage vinegar in your great post! Sage ACV is my “go to” herb when I crave Sage Aoli which goes with everything! https://grassfood.me/2012/08/25/garlic-breath/

    • GrassFood June 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      I forgot to mention my favorite way of preparing sage. Coat whole sage leaves in a bowl with olive oil and lay out flat on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake until crispy. So addicting! I always have a bowl of this on our Thanksgiving table. Yum!

      • ariana June 18, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

        Ooh, love that idea! I will have to try it this Thanksgiving. Thanks!

      • Quinny February 13, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

        I love the idea of baking the sage leaves. Would you mind letting me know how long do they need, and what temperature of the oven? Thanks.

  2. Grace June 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Great – I have sooo much. How do I use it to treat candida?

    • ariana June 18, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

      I am thinking that tea or a tincture will work well. I think Google could help you out here!

  3. Marianne June 13, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    Great article with lots of info! Thank you for being so sweet about the terminology 🙂

    • ariana June 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

      Of course, Marianne! Thanks for taking the time to email me about it!

  4. Laurel June 14, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    I have the same problem! Who knew that this plant would get to be 4 feet across? And crowding out everything else. Oh boy. Also, never plant lemon balm where you don’t want ten million other lemon balm plants!

    • ariana June 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

      Yes about the lemon balm!! I have pulled lots of plants out by the roots and dried them for tea. Same goes for mint!

  5. Kristen June 14, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    You can toss it into fire pits or your campfire to keep Mosquitos away too!

    • ariana June 18, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

      Love that idea, Kristen!

  6. Heidi June 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    A Tuscan friend taught me to make this seasoning salt but she added equal equal parts of sage and rosemary and several fresh crushed garlic. It is superb on roasted meats and vegetables…or just about anything!

  7. Little Mountain Haven June 20, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    THANK YOU! I have far too much of it right now and we don’t cook with a lot of it, I’ll definitely try some of these great ideas 🙂

  8. mjskit June 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Great post! Other than drying it and adding a couple of leaves to my morning tea, I haven’t done much with my TONS of sage. I’ll be making the honey and the salt this week. Thanks!

  9. krista June 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Tie it in bundles to be tossed into coals around fire to keep mosquitoes away

  10. Patti June 27, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    I love sage for making wreaths. It dried well.

  11. Natalia September 16, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Great post! May i also add sweet potato sage soup and maple sage picked carrots?

  12. Deborah Gullett September 23, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    I love sage and you’ve posted some great uses! Just do not give too much to a small child. My mother got very sick from an overdose when she was little.

    • ariana September 23, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      Thank you for that tip, Deborah!

  13. Cristy November 2, 2014 at 1:42 am #

    I drink sage in some form of tea everyday for Hot flashes and night sweats. Been using it for three years now. I just add a couple tbls to whatever ice tea I’m drinking or 1 tsp added to hot tea. I make sure and drink several cups a day it has been a godsend.

  14. Laurie November 9, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    I have a great recipe for using sage leaves with sweet potatoes. Quarter sweet potatoes and blanch in boiling water. Drain and pat dry. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil. Place one or two sage leaves on each potato quarter and wrap with prosciutto. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Perfect blend of savory and sweet.

  15. Catherine Martel January 18, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

    I like to use it alone or with other herbs to make sage smuge bundles. A nice way to purify the home during and after sickness.

  16. Alicia April 19, 2015 at 12:18 am #

    Love all these ideas for my sage! Can’t wait to try some! I noticed one typo in the article though. Sage is a treatment for hypERhydrosis not hypOhydrosis. I doubt too many people would complain about sweating too little!

    • Cherisse June 18, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

      I will. I have a skin condition called ichthiosis vulgaris. Because my skin sluffs off slower than it should, I don’t sweat well. Summers here are brutal for me. I do appreciate not having to spend a fortune on deodorant though.

    • Molly Spradley August 19, 2017 at 11:50 pm #

      Lol…..I noticed that typo! My daughter has suffered from that so I picked it up right away. I will let her know about this possible treatment.

  17. Linda June 3, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    I tied bundles of dried sage for the campfire to keep the bugs away.

  18. Healthy Living June 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    Thanks for sharing these tips for excess sage.

  19. Julia August 30, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    Bit late to the party, but you can also make a delicious sage, lemon & chili butter. You just soften the butter and add fresh finely-chopped sage, chopped spicy chilis and grated lemon rind (all to taste) and then chill or freeze the butter for later use. It’s great with boiled new potatoes, melted over bbq portobello mushrooms, or sliced and placed on baked sweet potatoes. You can add a little salt & pepper if you like, or replace the fresh chilis with cayenne powder if necessary.

    • KimK June 24, 2016 at 3:48 am #

      I grow alot of lemon basil and lemon thyme. I bet the thyme at least would taste delicious with that!

  20. Paula Barrette October 12, 2015 at 1:39 am #

    Correction for you – it helps hyperhidrosis not hypohyrosis 🙂

  21. KimK June 24, 2016 at 3:46 am #

    Late to the party as well, but I am a sage addict. I haven’t tried the salt yet, but my favorite thing to do is seep it in balsamic. I found a great pork marinade that cooks with balsamic, sage, garlic and brown sugar. Loved it so much that now I use that sage/balsamic on as much as possible! Good ideas for the other stuff!

    • Leslie July 4, 2016 at 1:39 am #

      Sage oil is wonderful to cook with and apply to skin for joints etc.

  22. tessa Hudson October 9, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    OMG I dont know about everyone else but my Sage smells like cat urine! And there are no cats anywhere! It stinks! Is this normal?

  23. Molly Spradley August 19, 2017 at 11:56 pm #

    Sure….now I find this very helpful blog post via Pinterest three months after I dug up my sage plant. Lol! Mine was probably 6 or 7 years old and very woody. The crazy thing is that I planted a Roma tomato in it’s place because it was a leftover from where I’d run out of room in the garden. It has grown huge and is producing really large tomatoes, better than any in my actual garden. Sage must do something wonderful to the soil! Next year I’ll begin again with a baby sage and keep this article and the good uses in mind. Thank you!

  24. Edna Mocanu September 14, 2017 at 8:58 am #

    Doesnt anyone have pineapple sage? It makes Wonderful tea, hot or cold. I also use it for fires Inside or out. Also the fragrance is delicious. Potpourri anyone!

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