Sore throat? Gargle with sage

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With its antiseptic and antibiotic properties, sage makes an excellent tonic for sore throats, infected gums and mouth ulcers. A simple sage tea, combined with a little cider vinegar – or honey and lemon if preferred – can be made by steeping a leafy sprig of sage in boiling water for 10 minutes, then using it as a gargle. The tea may also be sipped to calm the nerves and stimulate the brain – ideal for those studying for exams – and as a systemic antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. Sage’s antispasmodic action reduces tension in muscles, and can be used in a steam inhalation for asthma attacks.

In the garden, sage’s biggest threat is wet feet, so make sure your soil is free-draining, or plant in raised beds. Position in full sun and ensure excellent air circulation.  Mildew may occur where plants are overcrowded. Young plants should be watered well until established. Once chugging along, water only in dry spells. As sage is a perennial, the leaves can be harvested year-round for medicinal purposes.

Jane Wrigglesworth
Jane Wrigglesworth edits Herb News, the journal of the Herb Federation of New Zealand Inc, and writes the herb column for NZ Gardener magazine.

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