The oldest records show that the sage plant was used for its medicinal properties by so many people in the past. But that was not its only purpose. People would also use sage to flavor their food. Health-wise, the uses for Sage essential oil are quite a bunch and they include many mild affections.
Sage oil can improve liver and kidney functions, help the digestion and relieve menopause symptoms. Throughout the centuries, sage used to be considered a cure-all plant. The Greek still include the plant in their tea-drinking rituals.
In this article, I will tell you about the benefits of Sage essential oil, and about the precautionary measures you need to take when using it.
There is also a controversial side to this oil – it’s due to its high content of Thujone. The problem is that few people really know the details about Sage essential oil. To be able to use it without holding back, you need to know as much as possible about the sage.
Keep on reading to find out about the benefits and uses of Sage essential oil, and about the oil you could substitute it with.
Did You Know?
- In ancient times, sage was used as food preservative. People used the sage plant in their meat and other foods to keep them from spoiling right away.
Sage Essential Oil Benefits, Controversy and Substitution
Botanical name: Salvia officinalis
Fragrance: strong and spicy
Before we get to see the uses for Sage essential oil, we must first know a bit about its constituents.
Sage essential oil’s main components are alpha- and beta- Thujone. They are present in a proportion of around 20-60% Thujone (42.5% (1967) and 55% (1986)). 1 gram of Sage oil contains almost 6 milligrams of Thujone. It also contains:
- 1, 8 – Cineole (responsible for its fragrance, just like Rosemary),
- And Camphor (25%).
- Other components found in Sage essential oil are Borneol, Linalool, Salviol and Thujanol.
Thujone is considered to be toxic because of its effects on the nervous system. In high doses, Thujone (and camphor) may cause hallucinations, seizures, addiction and disorientation. Thujone is related to menthol, which possesses healing properties.
Because of the high concentration of Thujone, in the US, Sage oil is part of a controversy. This controversy was born from the fact that the oil is approved by the FDA as a food additive. Otherwise, the use of isolated Thujone is banned in the US.
I haven’t found other restrictions on this oil in other countries, just the usual warning on consuming Sage oil in moderate doses. It is also not recommended to epileptic people, children and pregnant women.
Sage essential oil is added in condiments and sauces, and even in sausages for flavor. The only observation the FDA provides is that the final product to be Thujone-free.
High doses of Thujone-containing essential oils can cause seizures and convulsions. There have been cases where people would OD on oils like Tansy, Thuja or Wormwood and develop renal failure or tonic seizures.
Other oils that contain high Thujone concentrations are Oak Moss, White Cedar and Mugwort.
In my research, I’ve found many sources that recommend Clary Sage oil as a substitute for Sage essential oil. They recommend it because Clary Sage is milder and doesn’t contain Thujone. Clary Sage is also known as Salvia sclarea and has similar properties to those of Sage essential oil.
But I’ve also found data on sites like the US National Library of Medicine and Erowid.org that included Clary Sage oil on the list of essential oils that contain Thujone.
Apparently, Clary Sage essential oil contains very small amounts of Thujone, but I couldn’t find the exact percentage yet.
However, the uses for Sage essential oil should not be disregarded. Sage was used since ancient times and praised by many people. The Romans and the French have sayings that refer to this plant. They considered it sacred and necessary to live a long life.
Used in low and moderate amounts, Sage essential oil can’t do any damage to most people. But people who suffer from seizures should not use it at all.
Did You Know?
- Vermouth is wine infused with plants and it contains Thujone. The Germans infused it with Wormwood and called it after the plant “wermut”.
Sage Essential Oil and Its Benefits
Now that you know a few things about the oil of Sage and its constituents, it’s time to see why it was and still is so popular:
a) Sage essential oil can be used to calm sore throats or gum infections. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
b) It can also be used to improve nervous breakdowns or dizziness.
c) It can speed up the digestion process and calm down stomach aches.
d) It can also help with the hot flashes caused by menopause, or help reduce menstrual pain.
e) Sage essential oil can be used to control excessive perspiration.
f) Sage can also act as a natural remedy against constipation.
g) It can be used to help the skin heal faster (cracks, stretch marks, wrinkles etc.)
h) Oily hair with dandruff may also benefit from Sage oil.
i) It has a nice perfume, so it can be used in homemade soaps or body lotions.
As you can see, Sage essential oil is good at many things and it would be a shame not to use it for its benefits. On one condition though: you must respect the recommended dose and don’t overuse it. Now let’s see what the most important uses for Sage essential oil are and why you should keep a bottle around.
Did You Know?
- Long ago, people used to smoke dried sage leaves to treat asthma.
General Uses for Sage Essential Oil
Sage essential oil is full of benefits, so people have used it for almost every ailment there is. They’d drink sage tea or they’d make concoctions with it. Later on, they’d massage or ingest Sage essential oil to improve or prevent various mild conditions. Let’s see now why the Romans believed a person couldn’t die if they had sage in their gardens:
1) Sage essential oil can be used in gargles. Or whenever you suffer from throat or mouth infections like ulcers, inflamed gums, etc. French Aromatherapists suggest that the best way to use it is to add 2 drops of Sage oil in a glass of water and gargle with it as long as you can. Then spit the water and don’t eat or drink anything for the next half hour.
2) This is one of the most important uses for Sage essential oil. It can be inhaled, right from the bottle or in a steam bath to improve and relieve respiratory problems. They may be caused by lung infections, asthma or allergies. Sage essential oil may also be used against anemia. You can also use the oil to chase away feelings of anxiety or depression.
3) Sage oil is also good in problems caused by menopause. You can mix 4-5 drops of Sage essential oil with 1 oz. quality carrier oil and massage the blend on the lower abdomen area and temples. Consult a doctor before taking Sage oil internally.
4) Diffuse Sage essential oil to fight off stress and mental exhaustion. You will be able to breathe easily and deeper. You will be able to relax in a short while after inhaling the oil. Make sure you don’t use more than it says in the diffuser’s manual, or the air will become hard to breathe.
5) Mix 6 drops of Sage essential oil with carrier oil (1 oz.) to get rid of the dandruff. Rub the scalp with that blend and leave on for 30 minutes before washing it off. Sage oil is also good for all skin types. It can help with acne and scars, and it can also improve the aspect of a dull complexion.
6) Another important use for Sage essential oil is that it can relieve your body from menstrual pain or muscle aches. It can also help with sprains and even insect bites. You can prepare yourself a hot bath where you dilute at least 5 drops of Sage oil in a tablespoon of bath salts. You can also use milk to dilute the oil. You need to dilute the oil because otherwise it will not break into really tiny particles to soothe your whole body.
7) Sage essential oil may also help removing toxins from your body (through skin). Or improve the blood circulation when it is massaged into the skin. Always dilute the oil in good quality carrier oils (vegetable oils). Sage oil can also help the skin seal in all the moisture and keep it hydrated.
8) You can use fresh sage leaves too, especially to care for a bug bite or a bee sting. The good part about sage is that you can grow it indoors and enjoy its benefits all year round. The sage plant, same as Sage essential oil, can disinfect wounds and help them heal faster. All that with minimal scar tissue.
9) Another proved effect and use for Sage essential oil is that it can be used to relieve fever. It can also help with the hypoglycemic effect. The hypoglycemic effect represents a sudden drop of the insulin in the blood. It’s also known as low blood sugar. The hypoglycemic effect can be caused by herbs, food, or medications. Controlling it would involve taking Sage oil internally. But you must first talk to a doctor about the right dose.
10) One of the primary uses for Sage essential oil has always been its ability to help the digestion. It can relieve some of the symptoms related to a bad or slow digestion, such as bloating, gas or diarrhea.
11) At the opposite side of poor digestion, Sage essential oil may also help with constipation. It acts as a laxative, but you shouldn’t consume Sage oil for more than 2 weeks. And definitely not without the advice of a doctor.
People would grow and use sage to improve or prevent their health conditions. The uses for Sage essential oil are truly vast and impressive. I can see why we should all have this amazing essential oil in our medicine cabinets.
Did You Know?
- Francis I of France wanted a natural remedy to treat musket wounds. This remedy contained a high amount of sage, among other herbs. That’s how the famous and traditional Arquebusade Water was born. Today it’s used to treat almost all skin conditions.
Precautionary Measures When Using Sage Essential Oil
As I said before, moderate doses are generally safe for everybody, with a few exceptions. Please read on and make sure you know all the risks and symptoms in case you use too much Sage oil. Remember that when it comes to essential oils, “less is more”.
That means the uses for Sage essential oil may be helpful as long as you pay attention and respect a few safety guidelines:
- Sage essential oil should never be used by pregnant or lactating women.
- Epileptic people should also avoid using Sage oil.
- Sage oil is not recommended to children either.
- Don’t take risks if you suffer from any type of sensitization or allergies.
- Never use Sage essential oil undiluted! Be safe and mix the essential oil with any vegetable oil you have.
- Don’t even think to take Sage oil internally. Unless, of course, you’ve consulted a doctor first.
- Don’t use Sage essential oil on the skin for more than a week.
- Sage essential oil is not recommended to people who take anticoagulants, because it contains vitamin K. Sage oil may also interact with anti-depressant medications.
- Never go above the recommended dose. Go to the doctor the moment you experience any nausea, vomiting, disorientation or convulsions.
The fact that Sage oil contains Thujone in high concentration doesn’t mean it’s toxic or harmful if you use it wisely. It only means the oil is very powerful and it should be treated with the respect it deserves.
The uses for Sage essential oil should not be overlooked. Luckily for us, sage can be grown indoors, which makes it easier to use in the kitchen, or as a natural remedy.
Maybe it’s not that easy to make your own Sage essential oil, but you can definitely make yourself a sage-minty tea. Or you can infuse the sage and still enjoy its benefits.
Have you ever used Sage essential oil? What is your opinion on it so far? I’d be pleased to answer all your questions about this oil, if you have any. Just let me know in the comments section below.