11 Incredible Health Benefits of White Sage

Sage bundles are popular these days, but are these dried herb bundles little more than a convincing gimmick, or do they offer real advantages for your health? I’ll talk about the details behind sage’s purported health benefits in this article so you can make up your own mind whether you want to it.

White sage is known botanically as Salvia apiana or S. apiana and can be purchased in a bundle, as a liquid extract dietary supplement, or a tea. This plant has impressive medicinal properties and is used in many wellness rituals.

White Sage is just like every other herbal remedy you’ve heard of. You can consume herbs as a dietary supplement (think ginger, echinacea or dandelion)… you can drink tea from the plant (think chamomile or coffee), or you can apply an herb as a compress (think of calendula). You can distill plants and inhale their essential oils, think of lavender or peppermint. It’s all medicine! I’m just giving you a new way to extract the medicine from a plant, by burning it, and this practice is referred to as smudging.

I think some people mistakenly assume you can get high off sage, but you can’t.

I also want to emphasize that white sage is a medicinal herb that could help everyone, and it’s not just for new agers, and its benefits were put on Earth for all to utilize. Sage comes in many varieties. You may have heard of Clary Sage or it’s respective essential oil. White sage is often compared to clary sage (Salvia sclarea). While both of these sage plants come from the same evergreen family of shrubs, they have different medicinal actions on the body. If you were to extract both of their oils (and these are commercially available), both sage varieties happen to have a pale yellow-green color, but white sage has a strong earthy scent, while clary sage has a sweeter more pleasant aroma (this is my opinion).

While there are numerous types of sage in the world today, the most popular by far is white sage (S. apiana). This evergreen shrub is found throughout the world, but especially in California and the western United States. White sage has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb due to it’s cleansing, purifying, and protective plant compounds. For this reason, sage has long been essential for ceremonies to seek blessings and prosperity, or to ward off negativity and is widely used in modern homes for people of all religions and ancestries. It’s just a dried plant, that when burned, it gives off an aroma that many people find pleasing, but some do not. It’s on the stronger side, not soft or flowery.

Let’s look at the health benefits1 so we know why millions of people are purchasing sage and burning it in their homes and as part of their wellness rituals. Here are 11 benefits just off the top of my head:

11 Benefits of White Sage
This medicinal plant has impressive properties for your health, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.

1. Treats Sinus Infections
You can inhale the aroma given off a burning white sage bundle for a few minutes, or you can drink it as a tea. However you do it, it’s the compound called “eucalyptol” also known as 1,8-cineole that when inhaled, reduces painful sinus inflammation. It may kill the associated pathogens too! That’s pretty amazing considering the side effects of prescribed antibiotics and antihistamines.

Inflammation of your sinuses happens when you suffer with bacterial, fungal, or viral contamination that leads to infections most of the time. Again, it’s the 1,8-Cineole (which you get from white sage or eucalyptus herb), that controls the swelling to some degree. It even kills the bacteria that triggers the infection in the first place according to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

According to a 2009 STUDY published in Laryngoscope, this “cineole” compound is an effective and relatively safe option for treatment of sinusitis that doesn’t include antibiotics. Part of the beauty of this compound is that it can clear mucus and act as a very mild cough suppressant. So in summary, burning white sage, or drinking white sage tea contains cineole (the same compound found in eucalyptus) and this can help dry you up, and help you breathe. That’s pretty amazing considering the side effects of prescribed antibiotics and antihistamines.

2. Soothes Digestive Distress
A cold cup of white sage tea can relieve indigestion. Since it has mild diuretic effects, it could be used for mild hypertension. Ask your doctor if it’s right for you before doing this, and watch out if you’re combining it with medications for this purpose. Two to three cups a day would have an impact, but much more beyond that and you might start to dehydrate yourself. It’s a very individual matter.

3. Calms a Sore Throat
Sage leaf tea is a proven strategy for alleviating a sore throat, at least according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Guide. Sage tea as you know will reduce mucous secretions of the sinuses, throat, and lungs. According to the plant guide mentioned above, “The lukewarm tea is sufficiently bacteriostatic and astringent to make it useful for treating nearly all sore throats, first gargled and then drunk.”

4. Relieves Menstrual Pain
White sage tea might provide relief from menstrual period cramps. There’s also evidence that it can alleviate the symptoms of menopause like sweating, hot flashes, and estrogen imbalances. This is because the tea contains phytoestrogens, which are biochemicals that mimic estrogen’s effects in the human body, but safely. The fact that it has this drying effect on mucous membranes, means it could help women to reduce lactation during the weaning process, and also heavy menses.

5. Provides Cleansing Energy
Sage is kind of like an eraser, it will help remove the day’s burdens and ease emotional suffering. It may help with mild anxiety or depression. Smudging is the quickest way because when you inhale, the compounds go straight to your bloodstream and brain. Just FYI, the practice of burning herbs (aka smudging) is a non-religious one. You’re just burning plant leaves rather than swallowing the supplement. If you’d like, you can certainly pray while you burn the medicine.

If you are naturally sensitive to the energy put out by those around you, sage might lessen the impact of overwhelming or depleting people.
Likewise, you don’t have to burn the sage, like any herb, you can take them as a supplement, you can drink tea from the same plant, or you can apply them as a compress. You can distill them and inhale the essential oil. It’s all medicine. I’m just giving you a new way to extract the medicine from a plant – burning it, or as it’s sometimes called “smudging.” It is still giving you the medicine from that plant. The spiritual and purification rituals performed by Native Americans often included the burning of sage, as well as many other plants.

Again, you can burn a plant and that is still medicine, it’s just not overly priced and handed to you by a doctor. It’s a different type of medicine, one that was relied on for eons and centuries, as opposed to decades of synthesized medicines. So I want you to open your mind and think about this. People today still burn tobacco, or cedar, and/or sage plants (when the herb is dried). This has been done for ceremonial purposes or to reduce your risk of infections, which leads me to my next benefit.

6. Cleans the Air
Sage is kind of like an eraser, it will help remove the day’s burdens and ease emotional suffering. It may help with mild anxiety or depression. Smudging is the quickest way because when you inhale, the compounds go straight to your bloodstream and brain. Just FYI, the practice of burning herbs (aka smudging) is a non-religious one. You’re just burning plant leaves rather than swallowing the supplement. If you’d like, you can certainly pray while you burn the medicine.

A 2007 STUDY 
found that burning sage for an hour reduced the levels of bacteria in the air by 94 percent, and this benefit lasted for 24 hours. That’s kind of amazing, but keep in mind (especially if you’re new to burning sage) that there is an aroma that comes off the plant, and after a few hours or a day it will be gone.
If you work in nursing homes, clinics or hospitals, you might want to go home and smudge yourself to help deter infection from pathogens that hitched a ride on your clothes. If you don’t want to burn it, drinking sage tea is an option. If you would like to learn more about smudging, CLICK HERE to read my other article, How to Smudge with White Sage.

7. Improves Sleep Quality
RESEARCH shows
 that burning sage in your bedroom for a few minutes before sleep might help you sleep better at night. The plant contains compounds that ease insomnia, improve sleep quality, and soothe anxiety.

8. Increases Cognitive Abilities
Beyond relieving negative energy and improving your mood, some RESEARCH shows that inhaling the scent of white sage can improve your alertness and even enhance cognition.  

White sage, also known botanically as S. apiana contains a lot of incredible medicinal compounds. These healing compounds can be classified into two bigger umbrella categories called flavonoids (cirsimaritin and salvigenin) and triterpenes (oleanolic acid, uyaol and ursolic acid). Taken together these can impact the way you think for various reasons.

9. Helps Boost Energy Levels
Ridding your body and surrounding spaces of bad energy can help you welcome in newer, fresher, and more positive energy instead. In a way, the plant can have an energizing effect and perhaps even fight off feelings of fatigue. It might be worth a try if nothing else has helped. If you opt for this, make sure that your sage bundle doesn’t have any lavender which is sedating. (Some bundles sold commercially combine the two herbs and it’s very nice, but it will make a tired person even more sleepy).

10. Ceremonial purposes
Burning sage has long been a used as a way to connect with the spiritual realm. Cultures across the planet have relied on it to achieve a state of mental healing or to solve spiritual dilemmas, and there’s some scientific evidence to back this up. Certain types of plants have psychoactive compounds, as you know marijuana is one of the main ones. Another one you may recognize is opium, ephedra and yet another psilocybin. But white sage actually contains “thujone” which is an interesting mild psychoactive compound (found in many plants) and it’s connected to spiritual rituals. You can read more about this practice HERE.

White sage has impressive benefits for treating anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Here’s some EVIDENCE in case you are interested in reading how this plant can activate receptors in the brain, the GABA ones that are responsible for improving mood and reducing stress. If you’d like to smudge yourself, or your home, CLICK HERE to read my other article about tea and smudging.

11. Treats Wounds and Hyperhidrosis
White sage tea has antibiotic and antihistamine-like effects that make it ideal for healing wounds and rashes (when cooled down, of course). So you’d make the tea like normal, chill it so it’s cool and apply with a compress. Compounds like eucalyptol and tannic acid can also treat fungal conditions like athlete’s foot and prevent it from occurring. Likewise, the tea seems to be beneficial for alleviating problems like excessive sweating, termed hyperhidrosis.

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2018-11-06T06:47:21+00:00