Salvia officinalis

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is known for its tangy taste and smell and its use in cleansing ceremonies for Native Americans and the new-age sect. This herb has also been associated with long life and through out the ages it has been said, “Why man would die when sage grows in the garden”. Over 500 varieties of sage grow in the United States in the wild and in cultivation. Although often Sage’s wonderful properties are overlooked because of its common seasoning ability. Hopefully we can learn together about the other amazing uses of this spectacular plant in everyday life products.

SageUse in Soap-

In Soap you can add the herb to the soap by making an infusion and adding it as part of the liquid amount. You can also add powdered herb to your soap, do this when the soap is beginning to trace. Two tablespoons is a good amount of powdered herb to use in a 30-40, 3-4 oz. bar batch size.

Most herbs and flowers lose their color when added to first run soaps. It is always best to and mill or rebatch your soap for more colorful outcomes.

The following is a great smelling bar for the beginning of summer.

Summer’s Day

Make soap mixture and add the following blend of essential oil to the soap. The amounts are done in parts because soap can be done is a variety of batch sizes. So the amounts are general amounts.

3 parts Lime (6-8 drops) depending on batch size

2 parts Clary Sage (3-4 drops)

1 part Bay (1-2 drops)

1 part Basil (1-2 drops)

You can adjust each oil amount until you find the perfect blend for you. You can also try interchanging some of the oils with 1-2 drops nutmeg oil, 1-2 drops lemon oil to make a completely new bar for spring.




Use in Toiletries-

Sage is a great astringent and a wonderful ally in the war against acne. Sage can be used in facial toners and facial washes. In a toner and facial wash you can use infused herbs in soap you can use the herbs dried or as an infusion.


To make an infusion of add one tbsp. Dried plant matter or 2 tbsp. fresh herb to one cup water, boil the water and pour it over the herb in a cup or pot. Allow the herb to steep for 15- 20 minutes. This will produce a rich earthy green color.


You can use a strong Sage infusion (add an extra tablespoon herb to cup ratio) for a hair rinse for Brunettes and to assist in stimulating hair growth. Sage is well know for combating thinning hair, baldness and sprucing up mousy brown hair, giving it more texture and highlights. Apply rinse and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes and thoroughly rinse.

As a toner you can use Sage on damaged, acne prone skin. A simple lovely toner recipe follows:


Sage Toner

1 cup Witch Hazel

½ cup Distilled Water (you can also use a floral water)

½ cup Sage infusion

1 tsp Aloe Vera

1 tsp Vegetable Glycerin (optional)

8-10 drops *Essential oil either Rosemary, Tea Tree or Clary Sage

You can also add fresh rosemary, lavender or rose to the Sage infusion.

Apply nightly with a cotton ball on the whole face and neck, behind the ears and other places of oily skin. Keep out of your eyes.


Sage Face Wash

1 cup liquid castile soap or liquid soap base

¼ cup strong Sage infusion

3 drops Clary Sage Essential oil

½ tsp. Powdered pectin

Blend together and put in a pump bottle and you have a blemish fighting face wash. You can also a drop of Tea Tree essential oil, Rosemary or Lavender essential oil.


Sage Essential oil is extremely potent and to err on the side of caution I would suggest Clary Sage as a safe toiletries alternative. The essential oil is made from the flowering tops of the plant. The Sage essential oils have antiseptic properties so they are great for cleansing and clearing. Clary Sage can be added to Bath, Bath Salts, Shampoo and massage oil. For a bath use 8-10 drops of essential oil per bath. You can do the same for a bath salt mixture, per 4 cups of bath salt. Essential oil amounts are a personal choice and if you haven’t used the oils before in a bath try starting off with less than 8 drops. Listen to yourself; you don’t want to have an overly intense bath.

*An essential oil is a liquid that is usually distilled (primarily by steam or water) from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other constituents of a plant. Essential oils are not perfume oils, fragrance oils or absolute oils. Essential oils should not contain, carrier oils such as olive oil, jojoba or any other oil except the essential oil.

You can also add a few drops of Clary Sage to a facial wash base for an effective blemish wash, or a few drops to shampoo to fight hair loss.

Sage also has a rich historical and magical history that spans the ages. Sage has been thought to be the herb of long life and wisdom. Magically it has been used for protection, maintaining a long life and attaining wisdom. Folkloric knowledge states that is bad luck to plant sage in your own garden, this is great way to have a friends help in the garden. Sage likes company so plant it among a variety of plants. I hope that now Sage has a few new friends and hopefully I will see it used more for the therapeutic uses and less on turkey/tofurkey.

Demetria Clark is an Herbalist and Herbal Educator located in the Green Mountains region of Southern Vermont. Demetria teaches an herbal correspondence course and at local events, schools and apprenticeship programs. Take the time to learn about herbalism and check out the Heart of Herbs, with students from all walks of life and from all over the world.

For more information you can visit The Heart of Herbs Holistic Herbal Education website at

From an excerpt from an article published in 2000 – Saponifier Magazine