The Herbal Wise-Woman Series
by Orenda Caldera
Intro: (you can skip this section if you're read it before) Self-care has never been more important than today. A little knowledge goes a long way. The goal of this series is to help everyone feel more confident and empowered to take care of themselves to the extent possible.
I have thousands of herbal and magickal references at my disposal as well as decades of personal experiences to share with you over the coming weeks. Some will be brief, some in depth, but the information will be stored on my website, on this FB site, and in the FB private group pages for continued reference. (Yep, there’s fine print: none of my posts are intended to serve as or replace medical advice. Do your own research, check for any contraindications, and make your own wise decisions from a place or knowledge and understanding).
As a master herbalist and healer, herbal and homeopathic solutions are my natural “go to”. Herbal choices can be based on many factors including:
- Modern-day scientific studies
- Centuries of tried and true anecdotal evidence
- Direct plant spirit communication
- Ancestral & Spiritual Inspiration
These certainly overlap, and should be cross-verified, especially when it comes to checking contraindications unique to each person’s situation (and, of course, there are times when traditional allopathic approaches should be evaluated as well).
Today’s Magickal & Medicinal Herb: Sage
Sativa officinalis (common name: sage) has soft silvery leaves and is actually a member of the mint family. Except perhaps in new age communities, sage is most often used in cooking, but there are over 900 species grown all over the world used for a variety of purposes. Some are not even edible. Not poisonous, but not something you’d want to eat either. They share many properties, but some are quite different, so best to your homework so you can make the best choice for your intended usage.
Let me start by saying that ANY plant bearing the title “officinalis” tells us something very important about that plant - it has centuries long historical use as a powerful medicine. Sage has an equally long history of being treasured for its metaphysical properties.
If you think sage is only good for burning and adding intense flavor to dinner, then you’ve missed out on her powerful medicinal properties! Sage has been chewed whole, dried, ground, in extract, tincture, essential oil, creams, pressed into fresh juice, infused into honey, and in any other way you can imagine to get her where she can help the body. She has been revered by all cultures including the ancient Greeks, Romans & Egyptians as well as throughout India to heal the body and mind in ways that include:
- Increase fertility
- Promote menstrual regularity
- Reduce menopausal sweating
- Decrease breast milk when weaning
- Stop bleeding
- Heal minor wounds
- Treat hoarseness & cough
- Improve memory function
- Intestinal gas & upset stomach
- Infections of mouth, nose & throat
- Notice the pattern of “drying” here
Sage contains a substance called salvin (a phenolic acid) known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties, so her list of medicinal uses could be endless. It’s no wonder we also use her to remove surface and airborne nasties from our space.
Common sage (s. officinalis) is not generally chosen for metaphysical purposes like smudging which calls upon sage’s antimicrobial properties to cleanse the air not only of harmful microbes but energetically clears the space as well.
Whatever you’re growing in your garden will be perfect as they all share many similar properties but many prefer officinalis’ cousins such as:
- White Sage (Salvia apiana) is the most commonly used and is associated with many Native American tribes since it is the most available species in this area.
Other few other common choices, each with their own nuanced aroma & properties, can include:
- Blue Sage (salvia azurea), aka grandmother sage, Rocky Mountain sage.
- Pineapple Sage (salvia Elegans) aka tangerine sage
- Black Sage (salvia mellifera) aka mugwort sage or dream sage
- Clary Sage (salvia sclarea)
- White sagebrush (artemisia ludoviciana) aka prairie sage
- Desert Sage (artemisia Tridentata) aka desert magic, sagebrush
Any sage used with intention and honor brings into play her magickal properties as well as her physical ones. Understanding her various properties, you can be creative in her use, always asking for permission and insight into her magickal uses in any given situation and always giving her thanks and gratitude.
If you are concerned about worldwide overuse and safe management of this powerfully beneficial herb, you should be! We should always be concerned about protecting our plant sisters & brothers. In the case of sage, it has become commonly cultivated for use so exclusively wildcrafting is no longer necessary.
You may also be concerned about infringing on the sacred traditions of our honored Native Americans by using her for smudging if you are a non-native. Follow your heart on this. Remember though that sage has been used throughout the centuries, all over the world for her cherished physical, metaphysical, sacred & magickal properties and in our many lifetimes on this planet, we have all been part of these cultures, tribes and indigenous peoples who honored her use and wisdom.I believe the important part is to honor & respect her and her wisdom as a gift to the planet and to all peoples of the planet. We are partners who share the Earth as we each give and receive of her bounty.
Obviously with 900 species, there is so much more that could be shared, but this is a good stopping point.
Enjoy Life’s Magickal Journey!
Here is my favorite herb source. Yes, I am part of Doc's affiliate program because I trust the source for quality herbs. This also means I get a small percentage on any purchace you make, but this does not increase your cost in any way.