White Sage

Also known as
Salvia apiana, Bee Sage, California White Sage, and Salvarial

White sage is a flowering perennial that is native to the Southwest U.S. Its tall woody stems and tiny white flowers love dry, arid slopes with lots of sun, and flourish in the rocky heights of the southwestern canyons.

The aromatic herb has been used for centuries as incense and in smudge pots for ceremonial use * thus its common name of white ceremonial sage. In addition to being burned as incense, white sage has medicinal uses. Some Native American tribes used white sage to treat coughs and colds, or added to a sweat bath as a general tonic and fever reliever.

Burning leaves have been used to fumigate a house or dwelling after a contagion, and to purify the air during illnesses. White ceremonial sage also has been used as a hair rinse and a deodorant poultice to reduce body odor.

It’s a very strong anti-inflammatory when taken as a tea or infusion, and may help reduce ulcerative symptoms. One leaf is placed in a water bottle, and used normally. Sucking on a leaf can soothe sore throats since the leaves contain camphor and other therapeutic compounds.

Diterpines and triterpenes, including carnosic acid, oleaolic acid, and ursolic acid

Chemical Constituents and Relative Percentages α-Thujene 0.3%
α-Pinene 9.0%
Camphene 0.4%
β-Pinene 9.1%
Myrcene 0.5%
3-Carene 1.3%
Cymene 2.8%
Limonene 2.0%
1,8-Cineole 71.6%
α-Pinene oxide 0.2%
Camphor 2.1%
Terpinolenone 0.2%
β-Carophyllene oxide 0.6%

Parts Used
Dried leaves

Typical Preparations
The leaves as a tea, and the dried leaves on their stem as incense. Seldom found in cosmetic applications.

White sage grows only in the Southwestern part of the United States, and there is concern about its wildcrafting as its typical environs are taken over by human growth. In addition, a drought in 2002 seriously limited the crop of white sage, prompting many herbalists to suggest that enthusiasts consider growing their own. White sage has medicinal and ceremonial uses, including purification, healing and calming, and is often burned as smudge sticks and in smudge pots to fend off infection and pestilence. Recent research suggests that estrogen like constituents may prove beneficial in menopausal and post-menopausal women.

White sage should not be ingested by women who are pregnant.

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